Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love Hurts

            There are three children I pick up for Sunday school and church every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. I've been doing this for about six years. I love them as if they were my own, but they are not mine and I cannot treat them as such.
            The way they talk to each other breaks my heart. Their older sister treats the middle one as if his very existence annoys her. She laughs at him when he tries to answer a question. She constantly tells him to shut up. She treats him as if he is the worst possible thing in her life.
            The youngest child so wants to be like his big brother that everything his brother experiences is his experience also.
            I see other families who constantly bicker, belittle, and put each other down. They may laugh on the outside but that doesn't mean those words don't hurt. Proverbs 18:8 and 26:22 say the same thing: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." A talebearer is not just a gossip monger (someone who spreads rumors); it is also someone who constantly tattles on someone else or blames someone else for their own misdeeds. A child whose parent allows this behavior is teaching that child that he or she bears no responsibility for his or her own actions, that nothing is ever their fault. This leads to anger, guilt, and self-centeredness. It must be dealt with or that child will be a bully, if not physically then emotionally.
            There are no wounds worse than those meted out by those who are supposed to love you. I would rather take a beating than have a member of my family belittle me. I know those wounds all too well. They don't heal without God's healing touch, but even after that the scars remain on the soul. The person who delivered those wounds may apologize, may even ask forgiveness, but the feelings of inadequacy and inferiority remain for a lifetime. Satan torments me with them on almost a daily basis, often in subtle ways I don't see until the end of the day. It keeps me from persevering. It keeps me bound to giving up instead of pressing on. It keeps me ineffective. I have prayed about it for years. I am progressing toward perseverance but at the age of 61, I wonder if I will accomplish God's will for me before this life is over.
            Do you have the right to demolish someone else's soul, especially a family member? Do you have the right to hold a grudge? Do you have the right to be bitter and angry? Well—what if Jesus had stayed bitter and angry at his tormentors? (We are all tormentors of Christ: He was wounded for OUR transgressions; He was bruised for OUR iniquities. The chastisement of OUR peace was upon Him. All WE, like sheep, have gone astray, and have turned every one to his own way. We could not have a relationship with Jesus if He had been angry and bitter. He forgave us (including you) our sins. He forgave us for putting Him to an open shame. He forgave us every curse word said, every vile thing we have ever done, every lie we ever told, every mean or hateful thing we ever did, He forgave every evil thought. Every one of the things we have ever thought, said or done, was LOADED, PILED, HEAPED, upon His back. The weight of the sins of this world caused Him to sweat great drops of blood as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane just before He was arrested. He who was perfect, who had NEVER done, thought, or said one evil, vile thing, who only did good to everyone He met, took our punishment and forgave us.
         Do you think you've suffered more than He? Look at Him, hanging on that cruel cross meant for the dirge of the earth. Do you really think you deserve less anguish, less pain than He? Jesus endured the shame of the cross for us. Why do we think we deserve better treatment than what He received? Who do we think we are? Thank God we are not getting what we deserve, because all we deserve is hell. Anything more than that is a blessing and mercy.

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