This morning while trying to clean my nasty stove top I burned my fingers - and it HURT! I put them under cold water and after about a minute tried to move on, but they still HURT. I grabbed a piece of ice held that on them for a little bit thought it was all better, only to still feel more pain. Eventually after about 5-10 mins of ice the sting went away enough to be able to do something else. Yet even now several hours later they still hurt, and I am typing clumsily minus a few fingers because of it.
At the time when it happened I didn't realize the burner was still hot (actually it was hot from the heat of the oven that was on). As soon as it happened I felt so stupid - I think I even said "That was stupid!", and was even more irritated at the fact that that I should have known better. But then when the pain started I was mad and more annoyed at how long it took to subside the sting. No matter what I wanted to do, the pain was greater - and it needed to be dealt with right then and there.
That got me thinking. Last night I wrote a blog about friends and how important it is to have special people in your lives to share you heart with, share your good and bad with - to be accountable to. It really is vital for our growth as better human being - mentally, physically, and spiritually (Hebrews 10:24-25). BUT - when you put yourself out there - sharing your heart and your life - you can get BURNED. And when you get burned it is devastating, painful, and it damages us inside and out.
Just like this morning with my fingers we don't realize it's happening until we feel the sharp pain -the sting of betrayal, and boy do we react. We jump back look at the situation in almost disbelief that it just happened - but the searing pain alone makes it very clear it happened. At that moment I have a choice I can ignore it, or I can find a away to heal it.
When I burned my fingers this morning I wanted to kick the stove, throw the burner, jump and down and yell at it. I was mad at the stove top, the oven, and more than anything myself. Didn't I know better? What is wrong me? I'm the one who turned the oven on, I'm the one who was cleaning the top. Why didn't I think for just a minute? We say the same thing when someone hurts us - in retrospect we should have been more careful. My immediate reaction when I get burned by a friend is a fortress of walls quickly surround me. I become Fort Knox locking away my heart, my mind, my life, - vowing that will NEVER-NEVER-NEVER happen again. How stupid it is to say "Well, I'm never going to cook again!" that's completely unrealistic. (Though I must say there are times when I cook that I think my family WISHED I would say that...- but that's a different blog.)
Let's face it people can be mean, nasty, hurtful, and very deliberate. It's not right, it's not fair, it just SUCKS!(Sorry - but I think this is a proper place to use this word). I'm not excusing anyone's behavior - they will answer for that - God sees it all, and He also sees our heart. We can only be responsible for our response. If I had ignored my fingers this morning and focused on anger, revenge, and my pain - I would have ugly blisters, and eventually callouses, hard spots that would constantly remind me of the day the stove top "betrayed" me. And my choice to not ever cook again would have a profound effect on my life, and my family's life. I would begin to hate stove tops everywhere, refusing to be anywhere a stove or oven was. Doesn't that sound like the most absurd thing ever?? Yet - we do this when are betrayed by someone we called "friend". We close ourselves up so quick and so fast - we can't even see the bigger damage we are doing to ourselves and those around us.
So what do we do? Do we go around letting people "beat us up"? Do we walk around sticking our hands out on stove tops everywhere saying "burn me again, please"?
No. The Bible says our heart is the "wellspring of life" Proverbs 4:23 and that we are to guard it. Guarding it doesn't mean building walls made of anger and resentment or pain - it means protecting it, being smart about who we share our hearts with. Proverbs 12:26 says that "The godly are cautious in their friendships, the wicked lead them astray". Proverbs 13:20 says: Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Choose your friends carefully, and don't do this alone - God will give you counsel, if you ask Him.
But what do we do about the pain we are feeling right now? What do we do with the searing, seeping, sharp, severe, sting of deception? We seek healing. We seek first aid from the Great Physician, the Balm of Gilead, the one who loves us most. Just as I found comfort in the cold water and the ice, and eventually a burn cream - we too can find comfort in the Lord. He is right there to sooth our souls. When I was a kid and I'd burn myself my mom or grandmother would immediately begin to blow on it, to help take away the sting. I don't know if it did a lot of good, but I sure thought it did. It was the attention, the love, and care, that I felt that help alleviate the hurt and pain I had at that moment. Your heavenly father wants to do the same for you.
If anyone in this world understands being deceived and betrayed it would be Jesus. He was given up for money, by someone he called friend for 3 years. Judas gave him up with a kiss on the cheek - for a bag full of coins. The amazing thing I think about this is that Jesus KNEW that whole time Judas would do that, and never once treated him any differently than any other disciple. He poured his life and his ministry into Judas, loved him anyway. Jesus watched all his friends and followers abandon him in His last hours - He gets what you are going through.
In order to begin the healing you have to give it God. If I had closed my hand up, I would have never been able to fix the pain. The burn is still there, and it still hurts - but the healing has begun and it eventually it will be done. Let the healing begin friend, give it to Him.
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22