“But you just seem so perfect.” Had she actually just said that to me through her tears of inadequate feelings and conviction? If it wasn’t so serious, I would have laughed out loud! Me…perfect? The thought was ludicrous, an illusion that many have of Pastors and their wives. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The myth is that we “have it all together”, that we are immune to the pull of this world, the trials and strife. We. Are. Human. My heart felt broken in that office as I listened to the dark assumptions and gossip that had been lurking in quiet corners and living rooms. Apparently, in my presumed perfection, there was a need to find flaws, which turned out to be easy. (Jesus had the same experience with people, only He WAS perfect.) This person assumed that, and that person assumed this, and by the time I was alerted of rumors, it was a distorted mess. As I listened beyond the words, I heard something deeper, pain. Pain in my friends heart from her own past. In those moments I listened beyond my own wounded heart and heard her brokenness, and I offered comfort and understanding, grace. This grace was not of my own doing. The more I encounter God’s grace, the more I can give it…and in those moments while being accused, I did what I could not do on my own strength, I exchanged grace for accusation. Grace was followed with truth, since the Truth sets us free. She needed to be set free from the assumptions that had bound her.
To be honest, in the days and weeks that followed, I would wrestle with the seeming injustice of those moments. How could I be accused of such things? Who does she/they think I am? There was SO much I could have said! Why didn’t I say…..(Insert lots of inner dialogue). But, i refused to act upon my inner bear(pride). In those moments of wanting my “pound of flesh”, I turned to Jesus and found comfort, validation, and strength to carry on by His grace…because, He is for me, and if He is for me, who can be against me? It would be dishonest to say this process was easy. It seemed I cried an ocean of tears in the aftermath. This was one of the hardest experiences I’ve dealt with in my 23 years of ministry, but we can either get stronger through our struggles, or we can cave to our human urges, repeating patterns and getting no where. I can certainly bench press more now…well, at least spiritually speaking.😉
Are you feeling wounded and misunderstood by someone? We all go through it. Ask God to help you listen beyond your own feelings. Can you exchange grace for their accusations? Are you taking your hurt to Jesus or are you releasing the bear(pride)? Don’t be held captive by other people’s actions or words. Be set free as you set others free by God’s empowering grace. He will heal your broken heart and He will bring justice in His timing and in His way. We can do ALL things through Him. Are you listening?
John 8:36-If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 8:31-What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
James 1:19-My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…