Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wise as a serpent, Gentle as a dove

A good married friend told me the other day "I want to forgive him for the affair......I believe he has changed. I give the relationship my all, 100% and end up getting hurt regularly." I couldn't help but sit there and completely relate to what she was saying. I am a 100% or nothing person too. I pour my life into other people. When I do something, I give it my all and never hold back one ounce. I wonder if this is what gets us hurt.

I find myself at odds over this 100% or nothing concept. I use this technique in all my relationships...friendships, romance, and family. When did being in a relationship require a contract where the other person said..."sign on the dotted line" and the contract stated "you will give 100% of yourself to me at all times? Shouldn't it be 50/50?

I suppose I don't know how to find the "middle ground." The being comfortable with things just as they are. I suppose it is somewhere in me that all is not right unless I am exposed 100%, giving 100%, trusting 100% and believing 100%, even FIXING 100%. I especially find myself struggling with this concept when it comes to my father. For some reason, I feel that to love him means to go see him on a scheduled and consistent basis. That it is my duty as a Christian daughter to show him my committed love. And the 100% of me tells myself that it must be on a schedule.

The result of seeing him regularly is that I see a changed person. A person who has given himself to Christ. Who speaks differently, acts differently, and even appears different. I like the new person I see. I see someone who is repenting to Christ. I genuinely want to 100% believe that he would never commit an act like this again.

But wait...this is the person who murdered my mother. This is a person who has deeply hurt me. A hurt that is unexplainable, unfathomable, a deep deep wound. I find myself caught up in the "moment" where I see a changed person and so desperately want to believe that it is a different person who murdered my mother. That the person before me is not the same person who committed this crime.

That's the thing about damaged relationships, as much as there has been change, there is always the constant reminder of what was. God tells us to be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove. This sentence reminds me that it is ok to remember that my father murdered my mother AND it is also ok to show him the gentle love of the Holy Spirit. In God's gentleman like manner, he tells me that it is alright to find a "middle ground."

Damaged relationships are difficult to mend. The Lord tells us that it is ok to mend them, it is biblical to forgive them, even accept them as they are....but be as wise as a serpent (having the knowledge of what has happened and the wisdom to know what may occur in the future) and gentle as a dove (having pleasant words, acting with grace and love) when dealing with ones who can hurt your heart....for it can be easily hurt.


Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated! Your words of grace and forgiveness help affirm that I have chosen the high road, although it has been difficult. My life was shattered forty years ago when my husband confessed he had experienced sex with my sister seven years previously. My marriage instantly became something I was unfamiliar with. My husband, my sister - incredible! We stayed married and have had a productive marriage. I still treasure encouraging words such as you have written. Thank you. In His Love, B

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words today. I am struggling with forgiveness with a very close friend and like you, I think it should be 100% or nothing at all. I need to find and accept a middle ground with her. The love of my life kept quoting "wise as serpant and gentle as a dove" to me and I thought how pretty, profound. Yet, I did not understand it till today when I decided to google it and you were the first one that came up. I get it, and I will work on it. I can forgive her, which I really truly have, but I can also remember what she has done. And not feel guilty about not giving it 100%. 50/50.

Thank you

Gretchen Smith said...

Thank you for your blog. You are an incredible woman, and God has done a mighty work in you. I just "happened" upon your site today, and it was well-timed. I pray that God will heal your family in due season, and that they will see the greatness of God in you. I hope my story has as good an ending as yours!