Yesterday I wrote about the importance of needing others and being honest and open with them. I would like to add to that message a small word of caution. I’m sure we all know that people are human and we all mess up sometimes. Part of needing people is running the risk that you will be hurt by them.
Last Sunday, I was hurt by someone close to me. As I sat brooding over it, my husband encouraged me to try focusing on God’s love for me instead. The only problem was, in that moment I didn’t feel loved by God.
I got God’s love for me twisted and confused with the love I received from that person. I was shocked by not only this realization, but also the fact that I do this all the time. As a result of this mindset, whenever someone I love hurts me, or even offends me, it hits me too hard.
It makes it very difficult to forgive and move on because I’ve allowed that person to not only attack my relationship with them, but my relationship with God as well. Their perceived lack of love for me bleeds over into a perceived lack of love from God.
I was very privileged to marry my first boyfriend and as a result, I wasn’t carrying a lot of the baggage that many people enter into a relationship with. But I still had some baggage. In my household, it was always very common to hear a ‘no, that’s ok, really,’ when something was not ok. My husband, on the other hand, is far too honest to ever say something is alright when it is not. Because his honesty is a contradiction to my upbringing, I doubt it quite often. He has to hear, ‘are you sure?’ a lot.
It can be the same way with God. We bring our insecurities, bad habits, doubts, and fears into our relationship with Him. All those times we were hurt by others keep flashing into our minds and we project those failures onto God.
The way to avoid this is by putting our identity fully in God. We need to be in prayer and in the Bible and fill our hearts and minds with His truth, who He says we are in Him.
Fellowship is vital, yes, but when the love and approval of others becomes so important to us that the lack of it rocks our faith in God’s love for us, that’s a good sign that those people and their love/approval, have become an idolatrous desire rather than a God-given need. God’s opinion and His love are what ultimately matter. He will never let us down and must therefore be our Rock.
We have to have a balance because people are going to mess up and hurt us and we need to be able to differentiate their love from God’s love. These eventual failures, however, should be no means cause us to forsake our need for people. It’s a matter of priorities.
We need to be so unshakably confident in God’s love for us that when we get hurt we can still love, forgive, trust, and be honest easily and quickly. Because we need to be there for others and we want them to be able to love, forgive, trust, and be honest with us.