It is not enemies who taunt me—I could bear that;
it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me—I could hide from them.
But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend,
with whom I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng. Ps 55:12-14
I can hide from my enemies (my ego-driven impulses) and I expect my adversaries (worldly temptations) to lie in wait for me. To a small degree, I can proactively defend against the known and expected assaults of these ego- and worldly-based affronts. But, when a friend, an equal, a companion, a brother or sister in the Lord speaks wounding words or whose actions disrespect me – I am emotionally crushed and have no where to go to escape the pain.
It hurts deeply because of trust. With my friend I’ve lowered my guard; he is allowed access to the real me, the vulnerable me; with him I can relax; I’ve trusted him. So, I’m taken by surprise when something he says or does cuts to my core.
He is usually not malicious in his harm of me. He is just being his broken and loving self. That’s the deal, though. His broken and loving self is in an intimate relationship with me, also a broken and loving soul. Pain and hurt feelings are inevitable and unescapable. I can avoid such pain by not letting anyone close enough to hurt me. (This causes an altogether different type of pain, though.)
I can allow God to use this incident to show me the places my soul needs additional healing or my character additional refinement.
My only hope for survival or continued connection with the one I love is to let God stand between me and my enemies and between me and my friends; providing gracious protection from the former and healing truth from the latter.
Thanks for this new post – I’ve missed your words of wisdom and encouragement.
These are good words for me. The line “His broken and loving self is in an intimate relationship with me, also a broken and loving soul” was a good reminder. We are all broken and God can give us grace for one another. Our mutual ‘belonging to God” brings us commonality that can tether us during times of pain and misunderstanding.
Thank you for your words, Donna. It is good to know God uses me! Blessings, Debby
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” I think trust is the key issue. First and foremost, we trust our heavenly Father to use every hurt and trial ultimately for good (by His definition of good, not mine). Secondly, we trust our Father’s work in those with whom we journey, that in working through a conflict with them, we will find a deeper sense of fellowship and a richer communion. Love can never be sincere if it is never proven through adversity.
Thank you Debby
And I say Amen! Thanks Mike for your deepening comments.