Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"But they might not like me..."

One of the biggest things I've had to learn in my rehab time is that you cannot get people to like you all of the time, and that there are sometimes things that you need to do and say which will hurt others, but just because you are hurting someone else doesn't always mean that it's the wrong thing to do.

The bible says that hating someone is the same as murdering them in your heart. One of the biggest lies I have believed is that if I was rejected, disliked or hated by anyone else, it would basically be the end of my life in a literal sense. Internally, I would feel like I was dying as a result of the actions of others. Though I believe the biblical verse is true, I think that statement more applies to those who do the hating rather than those who are hated, as those who do the hating have to live with murder in their hearts as a result of their choice to hate another person.

God disciplines people, and discipline hurts. But it doesn't mean it's the wrong thing. The truth hurts. Beware the kisses of an enemy more than the harsh words of a friend. There are people who deeply hate and resent God for who He is. But their hatred does not define who God is. God does not want to be hated. But He is a lover of truth and truth is more important than being liked. Their hatred cannot kill Him. They can hate Him all they want, but He's still going to be strong regardless of their feelings.

As I've begun to break through the lies that have kept me in prison for so long I have begun to learn to be more honest with people and less afraid to tell them the truth. I've had conversations with people that I've literally been putting off for years because I didn't have the balls to say anything until now. Some people may not like me as a result of what I've said. Not long ago, the knowledge that I was disliked because of something I said or did was so defeating and depressing I would have collapsed internally until such a time as I was able to apologize profusely in order to rectify the situation. Because I am learning to be stronger in myself, I can now honestly say I don't care anywhere near as much. I go by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and when He moves me to apologize, I will. But I am not going to apologize for something I've said or done simply because guilt and negativity tries to overwhelm me and tell me that I need to. That's not conviction at all and chances are if you feel like that about something you've done, you've done the right thing.

You don't influence the world around you by getting everyone to like you all of the time. Lots of people hated Jesus because of who He was. But it didn't stop Him. The fact that they hated Him means that He was having an effect on people's lives because He wasn't afraid to tell them the truth. Everyone likes a peacemaker and a soothsayer. Not everyone likes someone who comes and hits you with a sledgehammer of truth, as it often hurts like blazes. But the fact is - it's that sledgehammer of truth that changes things and forces people to face up to stuff.

There was a time early in my Christian walk when I deeply resented God for some of the things that happened to me which I did not believe I deserved. They hurt like blazes and I blamed Him for it. But I realize now that the pain of those experiences was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. It forced me to start facing up to the darkness in my heart and changing my life for the better. Sure, God could have given me everything I "wanted" back then, which of course was an easy ride with no pain or hardship involved. But in the end, it would have destroyed me, as the internal darkness that wasn't getting dealt with would have eaten me alive from within.

God knew I wasn't going to like what He did, and even that I wasn't going to like Him for a while. But that didn't stop Him hitting me with the truth. And I am now glad it happened. I still have a way to go, but I am stronger and wiser than before. God can survive the depth of people's hatred towards Him for telling the truth and not holding back. And God wants to develop our character the same way. To have soft hearts but hard foreheads to take the punches life throws at us for doing the right thing and telling the truth regardless of how it is received.

It's a process, like everything. To begin with, I hated it. But I am slowly learning to embrace it. And I am witnessing a changed heart as a result.

1 comment:

  1. This post reminded me of the Word For Today from a few weeks ago...

    None of us enjoys confronting others, but sometimes it must be done. So be honest and direct. Tenderness is not a matter of being diplomatic or tactful, or using euphemistic language, or 'beating around the bush' and softening the blow. Don't do that. Weigh what needs to be said in clear and unmistakable terms, then lay it squarely on the line. If you love them, level with them!

    But a word of caution here: don't use words such as 'love' and 'transparency' to disguise a judgmental attitude. People get screamed at, chewed out and verbally abused in the name of love. Don't vent your anger at someone in the name of honesty. Not one of us is qualified to confront the other until we have carefully examined our motivations for doing so - including, as much as humanly possible, those motives that evade our conscious minds. You should always confront with reluctance, never with eagerness. You should confront directly, yet gently, and always with a desire to bring about God's best in the other person's life. It is far more Christ-like to confront another person through tears than with a voice raised in anger.

    At all points, the listener should never be in doubt as to your love and acceptance. Genuine love says, 'I've got something to tell you. I know this won't be easy for either of us, but I respect you enough to give it to you straight. I care about you, I'm committed to our relationship, and I want you to be the best you can be.'