There are very few people on this planet who live without some form of regret lurking in the recesses of their mind and heart. For some it is the aftermath of an event that happened a week or a month in the past. For some it may have been something that took place half a lifetime ago. For many it’s a bit different because it is rooted in something that did not happen. Since then they are convinced it should have, or would have, had they done one thing or another. I hear such things and see the lives impacted by them on a weekly basis, and it made me wonder why. Why, after so many years, are people still harping on that nasty bit of ancient history? Why is that thing still eating away at them? And then.. oh yes.. it happened to me!
Back in 2008 an event unfolded that cut so deeply I could hardly breathe when it was uncovered. The individual who orchestrated all of it had been in a position of great trust and personal confidence. I had rescued him four years earlier from prison when others had abandoned him. Thus, over the course of the next four years he gained my trust and was tied to the very core of my life, my family, my ministry and all of our finances. When I discovered quite by accident, the things he had been doing during that four year period it devastated me. The fact that he said all the right things but could act without any remorse, regret or conscience was shocking. His uncanny ability to lie so convincingly to so many and then destroy those who had loved and trusted him was a deadly blow at every level. I wept for my family, my church and myself until there were no tears left in me. In the end I felt like an empty husk that had been betrayed, eaten alive and then thrown to the dogs.
That event impacted me for the next five years. Yes, I became one of those who could not let it go. I prayed and fasted. I read Scripture, forgave the man within my heart repeatedly, and even did some relational repair of my own on things that I had done over the years. It was a soul searching and emotionally wrenching time that I never want to go through again. However, the good that finally came from it, once I did let it go, was just amazing. When it first happened all I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and die. This guy had hurt and wounded every person and everything in my life that I loved and held dear. I really wanted to kill him and would have gladly gone to prison for it. Honestly, that revelation was quite a shock to me when it surfaced. I had no idea such things were actually living inside me.
All that being said, there was also a massive amount of good that rose up from the ashes of that demonic devastation. The one big thing it cemented within my heart and soul is that sometimes it just takes time to resolve an issue so you can let it go. Up until then I really had no compassion or desire to understand those who go over and over the same scenario that left them broken. My attitude was always “Stop the pity party and just get over it!” or “Oh My God! Stop being a cry baby and get on with your life!” Sounds like a manly thing to say, but such comments are rooted in ignorance and lack basic human compassion that we all need from time to time.
How about you? Are you one of those who seem to just breeze through life and nothing sticks? Perhaps you are one of those who can press on and “get her done” no matter what has happened. If so, you are to be commended, but you may also be like I was. I was friendly enough and easy to get along with, but in my heart there was a lack of compassion for those who were honestly struggling though traumatic life events. I really did not have patience or a desire to befriend anyone who needed more than a few days or a few weeks at most, to sort things out. For me these were emotional blood suckers who were looking for a host to suck the life out of, and it was not going to be me. Such bottomless emotional pits were for someone else to deal with. I was moving on with life and people needed to get on board or get out of the way.
When we lack empathy and honest human compassion it removes the heart and soul of what it means to be human. Life becomes an equation and people become projects that we evaluate. Too many times we build a “relationship” if the cost to benefit ratio is to our advantage. If not, we avoid such people and look elsewhere for those who will move us forward on our personal mission. It is this unbiblical pattern of dehumanization that is destroying the very thing we are all desperately in need of: being loved for who we are, just the way we are, with no other agenda. That almost sounds like something Jesus did for us!
May I make a suggestion as I close this blog today? Perhaps the greatest thing any of us will ever do in life is give ourselves away to those who are trapped by the past. Could it be that part of your mission in life is not self-centered but other-centered? Would you consider giving your time away to those who will not promote your vision because they have lost their own vision? Who knows, you may be one who finds a dirt-covered “Mona Lisa” in the mud of life and restores them back to a place of beauty and brilliance. In the final analysis of life, our greatest treasure is found in the legacy we leave in others. My question is, where have you been storing up your treasure? Take the time to get in the mess of another’s life and you may be shocked and surprised at the amazing things you find. Remember, the biggest diamonds are always found by those who dig the deepest! (if you like this blog click the “like” button below and the “follow” button to the right.. Thanks !)