From every side . . . all day long.

So I continue to deal with a wide variety of emotions daily. Of course these emotions are mostly precipitated by other people. In one day it is almost unimaginable how many different things you can feel and the range of these feelings. One day this week,  I felt loved by some folks that I don’t even know, yet they reached out to me unexpectedly and unconditionally. I also felt the hatred and wrath of others that shared their hatred, not with me of course, but with other people. As always words have the power to heal or hurt.

In your brokenness you will have to endure this range of emotions because people are all different and react to things in different ways. What is fascinating is learning who cares and who is hateful. It is eye-opening and gut wrenching to find out the reactions of others especially when they have never talked to you or sought to know the truth but have listened to others or listened to rumors and speculation.

Everyday I deal with the fact that I have failed in some areas. I am the same person I have been since I was born. I have a family. I have brothers and sisters and children. I have a history that includes good things. I have birthdays and emotions and desires. I cry and hurt and i laugh and enjoy the blessings in my life. I go to the store. I reach out to help others. I have friends from around the country and even in other parts of the world. I lived 99 percent of my life faithful to God and never wavered. Even in my brokenness I tried to be faithful to God’s word and tried to find the strength within me to follow the words that God put within me to speak to others week after week. Yes I failed. Yes I faltered. Yes I broke. Does that make me a monster? Does that make me unforgivable? Does that make me a person to be hated or shunned? For some I guess the answer is yes.

For many people, in fact for most people in my life there has been grace. There has been forgiveness and understanding. That doesn’t mean they condone things that have been done but they are mature enough to know that sometimes good  people fail. The enemy of our souls goes after everyone but especially loves to destroy those in ministry.

There are times when the words and actions (or inaction) of others feels devastating. I sat by a pastor friend this week in a meeting who had a moral failure in his life a long time ago. He told me he felt like killing himself in the midst of that time in his life. I can relate to those words because when the hatred and anger of others is flowing I too have felt the emotion that this world would be a better place without me in it. And then I stop and realize that i made a mistake. In God’s eyes I sinned and yet in God’s eyes I am forgiven and His grace and love have never faltered. That same pastor told me that God challenged him with these, “How dare you not forgive yourself for the sins that My Son died for?”  I am a dad. I am a son and a brother. I am still a friend to others. There are people who would grieve my absence. I matter to God. I matter to others. I am not worthy of God’s grace but He loves me and there is nothing I can do about it. So I persevere. I will love with all my heart. I will seek to be a good person and to make a positive difference in this very different world that I now exist in. I will do my best to refrain from hating others. I will love by God’s grace. Am I still broken? Yes in some areas, but I pray daily and seek to let God heal my broken parts. I am trying to start over. I miss some people whom I genuinely loved. Everyday I am reminded of my failures but also I am reminded of God’s unending love and His grace extended to me that allows me to go on and move forward. Thank you to those who have found the capacity to love unconditionally even through the pain. I am sorry for the pain and hurt but I will always be thankful for your amazing love.I have been loved beyond anything I have ever known. For this I am grateful and because of this I realize I am never alone.

All day long I will remind myself of this verse:

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:25-26 NLT

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