Nothing could have prepared me for those hurtful things she said to me last week. They felt like a thousand tiny daggers piercing my soul, each as sharp as a needle.
Surely she couldn’t have meant them? But there they were, staring at me from my phone. It’s one thing to know that once something is said it can never be unsaid or unheard, but seeing it written to you feels so much more deliberate and real because it’s tangible and just when you think you can brush it off as maybe something you imagined or you tell yourself you need to forgive and forget, there they are – those words – on your phone, maybe even saved on a server somewhere, forever.
How does anyone recover from that?
Consider These Implicit Ethics
Since every good relationship should be built on all things good, and since the Bible is where I get my best advice, a quick search brought this passage up:
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.—The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13
Wait, what?! Love doesn’t take offense? Because that’s exactly what I was feeling – offended. In my mind it felt right and justified that I could feel hurt and upset. My feelings were valid and nobody could say otherwise. Could this be true even if many of the other parameters had been violated? I mean, this is a relationship based on love that I was feeling hurt and offended about!
I had to read and re-read this passage to wrap my mind around it.
When something painful happens, it’s normal for the mind to go into survival mode and convince us of the least painful option. It’s how we are made, and this helps us get through the worst. So reading a radical passage like 1 Corinthians 13 is like a mind-bender.
You have to first be willing and open to hear the truth and once you have, be willing to make changes. It’s something that I hate – change!
Deconstructing My Motivations
In todays world where our attention spans have reduced and we are easily distracted and where everything around us teaches us to be impatient, it takes serious will to think and ponder on things this deep.
I had to get my pen out and break it down:
The Logic Of Love
I don’t think it could be clearer than this. If I am to live and love wholeheartedly, surviving every situation in my life would depend on me and not the other person. They might say, think or do things that aren’t based on love, but it is up to me and how I react to what they do.
Yes, I had been hurt quite deeply by what she said to me, there is no denying those feelings, because they are valid, but it’s unhelpful to dwell on them and it’s not my job to police her or anyone else.
If I was to take these Biblical suggestions seriously, I’d have to decide that I wouldn’t be offended and instead think about my contribution to how things turned out. I’d have to celebrate and respect her honesty in saying what she felt, and never take this failure of our relationship as a reason to give up!
I know that if I have any hope of being a better person, this is something I need to figure out.
I guess I have my work cut out for me!