I’ve been thinking and processing a lot lately about any regrets I might have with the way I acted with my dad. I believe God has written my life and even my failure perfectly, but I want to know my mistakes for the sake of repentance and change.
I posted previously that one of the things I have learned this summer is that trusting God doesn’t mean you don’t get hurt; it actually means you are not afraid to hurt. Playing back the last months, or years of my life, I can see now that in the name of ‘Godliness’ I made it so my dad couldn’t hurt me. Under the guise of finding my needs met in God, I actually made my heart a fortress against my father.
I thought that if people could hurt me it meant I wasn’t secure in Christ. I thought that if there were people in the world who had the power to devastate me then I must be doing the God thing wrong.
I don’t know where I got that idea.
God – who never needed to feel pain – bound his heart to us and endured emotions that are a million times more devastating than any I have had to feel. God doesn’t found His identity in me, yet still He lets me break His heart. That must mean that not all pain is a sign of idolatry.
True love when mixed with true faith results in a heart that is willing to be hurt.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
I used to strongly disagree with this CS quote. I though that in Christ, we were not vulnerable. If we have nothing to lose, how can we possibly be vulnerable?
I was right in a way. In Christ, we do have nothing to lose. In Christ I am aware that pain cannot destroy me. I am free in Christ to endure hurt in a new way because I know what He has won for me. Pain becomes a gift, preparing for me an eternal weight of glory.
If I have any regrets about dad it’s mostly this one: I thought loving God meant creating a relationship where my father could never hurt me. I thought that trusting Jesus mean I shouldn’t give my dad any part of my heart ever again.
But I was wrong. I think trusting God and being loved by God set me up to put my heart right in my dad’s clumsy hands without fear. Even if he crushed it I could have looked at him with tears in my eyes and said: I love you. I love you enough to be hurt by you. I love you enough to share myself with you even when you don’t steward me rightly. And I’m brave enough in Christ to be hurt by you.
If I had done that I think I would have shown my dad a new kind of love: a love like the love Christ has for His church.
We will see evidence of our trust in God in our willingness to be hurt by people.
With the great gospel we get to understand the reality that people are not trustworthy. Each and every person will fail you. There is no one who won’t let you down. But since your identity is founded in Christ – you are free to love them, really love them. You are free to let them hurt you.
I’m praying that I would learn to trust God so deeply than I can truly love sinners without fear.