1 Peter 3: 8-9
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
Wow… so I read this in my quiet time last night and it really hit me. I know God has commanded us to love our enemies, but I guess I never really grasped this concept. Why is this so hard? You don’t realize it’s hard until you have personally experienced the pain and hurt that your enemies bring to your life, like I have.
For so long, I guess you could say I have somewhat been under the “control” of someone else. Controlling how good my day would be, how well I would do in practice, what my attitude would be, etc. I couldn’t ever stand up for myself because I believed every insult and every harsh word this person would throw at me day after day. Crying in the bathroom at school at lunch got old after a while and dreading just being in the same room as them was getting over the top.
I can’t even begin to explain and tell you all the countless silent battles that have occurred. It’s too much.
Sitting here writing this I can’t even count how many conversations I have came up with in my head, telling myself each time, ‘Come on Casey, today is the day. Just do it! Stop being a wuss and put them in their place!’ Every time I hit rock bottom. But I just never could seem to do it. So I decided to take another path. To apologize for anything I did to deserve this from them. So I did. I apologized and said I didn’t want it to be like that any longer. It seemed to me as though maybe that had done the trick! I thought things would get better.
It wasn’t but one year that it started up again. Gradually I seemed to be wearing down on the inside as this kept up everyday. So, I decided, onto Plan B: Ignore them. This was difficult at the least. It was near impossible, actually. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I almost exploded. But I have learned that I have good self-control and I am stronger than even I thought, so……no explosion ever occurred. Tiny firecrackers went off, but never the whole shebang. It just wasn’t/isn’t in me.
So this is where I stand. I have been beaten down. I have been kicked to the ground. I have taken every shot from every angle for so long.
What has resulted from this? I am strong. People can’t decide for me how I’m going to live. How I see myself. That’s all me. Every night that I was mentally and emotionally desperate, I would go to the throne. Broken, weary, and bruised, I would crawl into my Father’s arms. As I was. He gave me my peace. He gave me my strength. He loved on me and adored me and cherished me. Into His presence, I would be restored. He never failed. He was constant. He saw my pain and my suffering and replaced it with tenderness, care, and above all, an unconditional love.
I guess after going through all that, I looked at that verse last night and my first reaction was like, ‘Wow God, seriously? After ALL this? You know what I’ve been through. You know what they’ve done to me. How could this be possible?’ But he stopped me. I had to throw away my pride and what I wanted to do and tune into what my God was calling me to do…
So, this is where I am. I don’t quite know how things will turn out, and I don’t really know how they will react, but I know this is what I’ve been commanded to do. And I have also been commanded to obey. So that’s precisely what I’ll do. It’s going to be hard, and it might take some time, but I know I must not seek revenge, but give love. Forgiveness is such a difficult concept to grasp when things like this happen to us. Our grace we have within us is so imperfect, while the perfect God of this universe showers it mercifully everyday without ceasing. So when I start to complain or think, ‘Surely I’m not supposed to have mercy on someone like this,’ I remember the sinless man who came to earth and died for the people who spit on him. For the people who beat him. For the people who betrayed him.
…For this person in my life who has for so long torn me apart…
And that’s all it takes. I know what I’m called to do. To be like Christ. In every way. So call me crazy, but I’m doing this.