You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance.
…Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord… Psalm 32:10
Is it possible to let go of past hurts and still guard your heart?
I believe it is.
In “Uninvited” Lysa Terkeurst talks about “living loved.” She’s on to something. When we are secure in the love of God—really secure, not just secure in the knowledge that we are saved from our sins but that we are actually dearly loved by him—the need to be accepted and understood and liked by others lessens.
How do we learn to truly love those who have hurt us, without expecting them to change or to love us in return? We keep ourselves in the love of God. We live loved. Although we still may feel hurt or even anger we don’t have to allow our feelings to dictate our actions.
Here are some things the scriptures, gospels, and epistles teach us:
- God did not promise us lives of ease, free of conflict. In fact, we have been instructed to expect conflict. Light and darkness don’t mix. Iron sharpens iron. Conflict is not only inevitable, it is necessary and God can use it to challenge and show us areas in our lives that need refinement.
- We are called to be witnesses of the goodness and mercy of God. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We must be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of others. This doesn’t mean we should throw ourselves back into abusive situations. But when we learn to trust Christ to be our guard/shield/security (instead of trusting in our own defense mechanisms) he will give us the wisdom and the power to love as he loves. When we hide in him, we are safe to love freely.
- The goal of Christ’s ministry was reconciliation. Our goal should be the same. Reconciliation with God is key to finding reconciliation with one another. If we earnestly desire any relationship to be healed our prayer should be for all parties to be reconciled to God. First God, then each other.
- Christ loved us and we should love one another. If we have been reconciled to God, we should desire for everyone else to be as well. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by self-preservation. It will make us ineffective.
- Not a whole lot can compare to the kind of betrayal and pain Christ endured . . . the writer of Hebrews said that Christ’s sufferings made it possible for him to understand and sympathize with our weaknesses. Wow. He still cares about our every need . . . he doesn’t belittle our feelings.
This morning I was reminded of Joshua 5, when Joshua asked the angel of the Lord, “Are you for us or for our enemy?” and the angel answered, “No.”
God’s not on our side of conflict . . . we are supposed to be on his.
Live loved. Live free. Show love and mercy.