So – there’s an obsession – it seems – in our culture with finding “safe” people with whom we can have “safe” conversations and we desperately want to keep our tender underbellies safe from the slings and arrows of misfortune. And really – is that such a bad thing? I mean – really – don’t we have a word for it – when someone recklessly courts self-harm – called masochism?
The problem is – as the prophet Jeremiah via inspiration reveals in 17:9 – is that “the heart is deceitful above all else and is desperately sick” and the rest of scripture would imply that only God actually understands the drives and whims that govern our heart. The lack of accurate understanding of what’s actually raging in our chests – makes it highly unlikely that we can always determine what’s really relationally safe. I’m not speaking here to the profound tragedy that is abusive relationships nearly as much as I’m speaking to the plethora of little decisions we make – the promises we make to ourselves in the wake of an injury, insult or season of hardship about how “I’ll never again be vulnerable to …” fill in the blank. These decisions anchor our souls to a pain in the past – and by morphing the injury into a boundary-marker – we cement it into the fabric of our lives. This action – at least for me – makes it significantly less likely that God can actually move in my life – via forgiveness, gaining of new wisdom, greater comprehension of His eternal truths about me – and ultimately heal me from the injury. In effect – my determination to learn “forever” from the incident – assures that it will in fact be with me forever. And my “safety” device – has … presto! … become a permanent gaping wound – invulnerable to God’s loving and healing touch.
More and more – I slow (so slowly sometimes) learn that the safety I long for – and surely God does not want languish in pain from relationships – is only found in more love for Him, more love for His truth and His truth alone about the value of who and what I am, more forgiveness and healing from the wounds of the past – most of which were suffered primarily from an incomplete understanding of His Truth and Love than anything else. The insults, judgments and hurts suffered from those I “let in” only carry weight in so far as I believe their truth (little t) over God’s Truth (very very big T).
In the last few weeks as I strive to work with God’s efforts to minister to and pour love on those He’s put around me – the damage caused by the false hope of “safety” keeps coming to the fore – and so I’ve been taking it as a hint to examine myself and see what compromises I’ve made to God’s efforts to heal me with the cheap allure of false safety – and clean my spiritual house again and make more room for more of His Love and Truth. I hope this encourages you too.