(This post was first published in April 2005.)
I’ve been thinking recently about all the fractured people I know. I know people who have messed up badly in the past and are still paying the consequences, sometimes years after the event. They’ve made life choices that have made circumstances difficult, not only for them, but for people close to them and many others around them. Their actions have triggered splashes that will still be causing ripples for a long time. They’ve destroyed relationships, torn families apart or caused deep divisions between friends.
I know people that are incredibly sorry for the pain that they’ve caused others and some who still don’t really care or who try to justify their actions.
Many of these people are very dear to me and I consider them to be close friends. Why do I stay close to such people? I look at myself at times and see a person that I don’t always like all that much. I’m fractured too. I’ve hurt people and let people down. It’s never been my intention to do that, but like you, I’m fractured.
Part of life
Pain and disappointment seem to be a natural part of life and I think it does us well to remember that. Not so that we can sit around feeling sorry for ourselves or letting the bitterness destroy us. We must also resist the temptation to use that as an excuse to carry on hurting others. We need to remember that hurt is a part of life so we don’t spend our days yearning for something that’s not going to happen. There isn’t going to be a time when we won’t have to deal with struggles. Some will be caused by ourselves and by those close to us. Other struggles will come through external circumstances or people we don’t know.
We often can’t control our circumstances but we can control how we react and what we turn those circumstances into.
I know many people whose lives have been fractured by the mistakes and carelessness of others. My heart goes out to them and I wish I was able to heal their hurts but while I can be there for them at times I can’t change the past for them.
Let the healing begin
Thankfully, while it can be hard to hide the scars, there can be healing. I’m glad that the more I explore issues of faith, the more I discover a deep forgiveness and healing. It’s not the forgiveness that comes from a glib ‘sorry’ but a deep, heartfelt, internal knowledge that the past is over and I can start again. It’s not the kind of healing that comes from time, that’s just denial. It’s a healing that goes deep and touches each hurt.
If anyone has tried to offer you any kind of Christianity that accuses instead of heals or brings guilt instead of forgiveness, let me assure you, they’re selling a forgery.
The kind of faith I’m talking about is the type that connects you to a person named Jesus, not to a list of rules and doctrines. The kind of faith that I’m talking about lets me know that no matter what happens and no matter what struggles I’m facing, I’m not facing them alone. And in the good times or the bad times, I know I’m right where I need to be.
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