How could you do that to me?


 

“He started to shake his head and then stopped. Slowly his face filled with blood; his neck bulged with fury. A tremble took to his lips and he stood enraged. He spoke in a low, bitter voice. “How dare she? I have given her everything! How can she even think of wallowing back to that pig!?”  …
        from “When Heaven Weeps: Newly Repackaged Novel from The Martyr’s Song Series (The Heaven Trilogy Book 2)” by Ted Dekker

I’ve felt something like this before.
So have you.
We all have.

Someone did something to us.  Most likely, someone we really care about. And thought we could trust.
But they hurt us and we’re mad.
And we feel totally justified.

You know the old saying –

You only hurt the ones you love

I think they – whoever “they” is – got that one wrong.
It’s more like

you can only be hurt by the ones you love

And when the ones we love hurt us – we get hurt. Maybe angry.  Maybe even mad.
And we feel like we totally deserve to feel that way.

Just look at the example from the book.  The guy – Jan (pronounced like “yan”, an eastern European name) – had given this woman (Helen) everything.  She came from an environment of drugs – where the guy she had been with could literally do whatever he wanted with / to her – and she was OK with it, as long as the drugs kept coming.  And Jan rescued her from that.  Married her.  They had a huge house – great food – new cars – and he truly loved her very much.

But Helen kept going back to the old places – back to the man with the drugs.  She couldn’t help it.

Finally – Jan had enough.  He lost it.  He was furious.

Can you feel it?
Can you empathize with him?
Can you see where he’s coming from?
Do you agree with him?

After all – it’s not like any of us have ever done anything remotely like what the woman had done.
Have we?
Certainly not that bad.  Not for most of us, anyway.
And if we had done it before – certainly we got past it.
Why couldn’t she just deal with it?
Right?

being hurt by the ones you love

Let’s back up a bit here.

Go back to what “they” say about hurting the ones we love.

Tell me there’s not one time you ever hurt someone you love.

I certainly couldn’t say that.

OK – maybe we only hurt someone we love a couple times.
And then we stopped.

Nope.  Not me.

what about the ones we don’t love?

Have you hurt people you don’t love?

I have.

And there’s at least two problems with that.
Do you know what they are?

For one – it’s really not good to keep hurting people.

But the other one – that’s the real issue:

Love for Enemies

Mt 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

If we’re supposed to love even our enemies – who’s left to “not love”?
No one!

Did you catch that?

Hurting someone we loved means we did wrong by hurting them.

Hurting someone we don’t love means we did wrong by hurting them – but did wrong again by not loving them!

How messed up is that?

And yet – that’s what we’re called to do!

What about the person(s) we hurt?

Since we feel so justified about our pain, anger and even getting mad at the people who hurt us – 
how do we feel about the people we hurt?
Should they just “suck it up” and deal with the consequences of what they did to us?
Even though we put no such requirements on ourselves when we hurt someone else?

I’m sure you either know already – or are expecting this – but there’s a problem there as well.

Earlier, we looked at the NIV section called “Love for Enemies“.  It was from Matthew.
There’s another section that’s also called “Love for Enemies”.  It’s in Luke’s Gospel.
Here it is –

Love for Enemies

6:29, 30 pp — Mt 5:39-42

Lk 6:27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Lk 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Wow.  

Now we’re really in trouble.

We know we shouldn’t hurt the ones we love.
We can no longer hurt the ones we don’t love – because they matter too.  
In fact – they matter so much that we can’t even “not” love them anymore.
Now we find out that not only can we not be upset at the ones who hurt us –
we have to go out of our way to be nice to them!

When is this going to end?

Well – not yet.

What “they” really should have said

We’ve poked some pretty big wholes in that thing “they” say.  Two different versions of it.  In fact – even more than we actually wrote out.

I believe what “they” should have said is this –

People hurt each other

But it’s still not over

It’s not even close to over.

There’s more to the quote than what I put at the top of the page.  Here’s the whole thing –

“He started to shake his head and then stopped. Slowly his face filled with blood; his neck bulged with fury. A tremble took to his lips and he stood enraged. He spoke in a low, bitter voice. “How dare she? I have given her everything! How can she even think of wallowing back to that pig!?” A chill of fear swept through Ivena’s back at his tone. “It’s no different than what most men do with Christ,” she said. “No different from Israel turning her back on God. Helen is no different than the church, worshiping at the altar one day and blundering back into sin the next. She’s doing nothing more than what you yourself have done.””
        from “When Heaven Weeps: Newly Repackaged Novel from The Martyr’s Song Series (The Heaven Trilogy Book 2)” by Ted Dekker

 

Yeah – that new part is pretty bad –

“It’s no different than what most men do with Christ,” she said. “No different from Israel turning her back on God. Helen is no different than the church, worshiping at the altar one day and blundering back into sin the next. She’s doing nothing more than what you yourself have done.””

Ouch.

For the Christian – it puts the whole thing in a whole new light, doesn’t it?

The thing is – it puts the whole thing in a new light for the non-Christian as well.

Because that’s what’s going on here.
We have one person who’s a Christian –
one who thinks they are Christian already –
and one who thinks they could never be a Christian.

Can you figure out who’s who?

Let me mess with you a bit.

Jan – the reason he can afford the huge house, the great food, the cars, everything – is that he’s made millions off a book called “The Dance of The Dead”.  It’s about “The Martyr’s Song”.  Which is also the name of the trilogy that the quote comes from.

Ivena – she comes from the village where a young girl and a Priest were killed by soldiers because they refused to renounce their belief in God.  In fact – the girl who died was Ivena’s daughter.

Helen – she was born into a poor family in the U.S. 

The killings took place in Eastern Europe during WW II.  Jan was one of the soldiers who went into that village.  He was involved in what was going on – until he was ordered to kill the Priest.  Then he ran away.

How’s that for messed up?

Now – who’s who?

The Christian – that would be Ivena.  Remember – she was one of those who refused to renounce her beliefs.

The one who thought they were Christian but wasn’t – that would be Jan.  He made millions by writing this book and was thought to be an outstanding Christian because of that.  But he finally realized what Ivena had known all along.  His belief in Jesus wasn’t real.  Notice – even though Jan had been one of the soldiers who terrorized that little village – Ivena and Jan became good friends and really cared for each other.  Jan came back to apologize – and Ivena immediately told him about what it means to love Jesus.

That leaves the one who thought they could never be a Christian – because she didn’t “deserve” it – that would be Helen.

(I’m not going to tell you how it ends.  You’ll have to read the books.  The write up for them says you can read in any order – I disagree.  They should be read in order.)

How do you feel now?

So how do you feel now?

How can we even begin to feel justified about getting mad when someone hurts us?
Or getting angry?
Or feeling hurt?

Hopefully you didn’t say you won’t do it anymore – you won’t even get angry or feel hurt.
We’re people.
We’re going to do that.

If you check out the Bible – even God felt hurt and was angry at what His people were doing.
And we are made in His image.
It’s a corrupted one now – because of Satan – but it’s how we’re made.

Trying to not feel anything when someone hurts us – it’s just not gonna happen.
Then we get to be like Helen – feeling like we don’t deserve to be Christian – like we don’t “deserve” to be loved by God.
Which – oddly enough – we don’t deserve His love.  But He loves us anyway.  

And that’s what we need to realize.
We don’t deserve God’s love.  
But we shouldn’t dwell on that.
We must realize and recognize that He does indeed love us very much!

And then we need to turn around and love others –
even though they don’t deserve it either.

Because we’re all given life by Him.

Helen is no different than the church, worshiping at the altar one day and blundering back into sin the next. She’s doing nothing more than what you yourself have done.

Conclusion

Yes – Helen is no different than us.

We claim to love God.  And then turn around and act like we don’t.
We claim we will follow Him.  And then go another direction entirely.
But He always welcomes us back.

And if we’re going to love even our enemies – then we should do no less for them than what God does for us.
Just like what Ivena did for Jan.
Forgive the ones we love – remembering that we are to love everyone.

But more than that.
Forgive the ones who hurt us – no matter who they are.
And love them – no matter who they are.
Ask for forgiveness from the ones we hurt – no matter who they are.

As Jesus said, after the Lord’s prayer –

Matt 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Jesus said something else after that as well, but I pray that what He said first is the reason you’ll want to forgive others.

The next verse – if you’re wondering –

Matt 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

As I said – I pray the first verse is good enough.

Just in case

Just in case you’re still stuck on trying to not feel hurt or anger when someone hurts you – or maybe refuses to forgive you – I want to point something out.
All of those are emotions that we are going to feel.  And while God’s anger is righteous and ours is not – it’s still something we’re going to feel.

Jesus knew that.  Jesus knew we’re going to stumble.  Look at my favorite example of “us” – Peter – 

Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter – like us – did all kinds of wrong things.  And he did all kinds of things wrong. 

But look what Jesus told Him –

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Jesus didn’t pray that Peter would do those things.  Not at all.
Jesus prayed that after doing those things – that Peter’s faith wouldn’t fail.
Further – Jesus prayed that after doing those things Peter would turn back to Jesus and his faith would be strengthened!

Yes – we’re just like Helen.
And – we can be just like Peter.

Helen is no different than the church, worshiping at the altar one day and blundering back into sin the next. She’s doing nothing more than what you yourself have done.

But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Jesus is praying for us!

What could possibly be better?

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