We Choose the Method of Payment

Where Does It Hurt?
Where Does It Hurt? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so I was hurt by this person.

Probably, my hurt was not different than the hurt I have caused others.

I was hurt, and mostly, I seemed like I was o.k.  We interacted, it would have appeared that we moved on.

It is only in the quietest times that I suspected that I wasn’t over it.  I hadn’t forgiven.  In fact, I was looking and waiting for payback.  I wanted to see this person hurt, just as they had hurt me.  In some way, if Iwas looking for revenge done with my own two hands, it would have been more honest.  I was really looking for an unfortunate turn of events to occur for them.  I was looking for God to be the enforcer of my own agenda.  I wanted something proportionally bad to befall the person who had hurt me.

Suddenly I got it tonight.   I got the whole thing, I think, about however we judge others, thats how we ourselves will be judged.

It’s not that God is running around and saying, “Ha!  This will be a poetic turn of events.  You judged them, now I get to judge you.”

If I go even deeper than the place I am still hurting, if I go deeper than the place that is looking for this person to be hurt in response, I realize that this is fundamentally about me.

It’s not only about me in the sense that I can only control what I do, how I react.  It’s about me because all the anger, deep down, isn’t at somebody else.

My desire to see this other person hurt… In some profound way, it’s an act of massochism.  It’s not about the other persons greed and hurtfulness at all.  Not at the deepest level.

The reason I react to the hurt in a vindictive way is about the greed and hurtfullness that live in me.  In some profound way, when I want the other person to be punished… really, I am wanting my own self to be punished.

Because I fear that I deserve it.  Because I struggle to accept God’s pardon for my sins.  Because it would be easier, sometimes, to keep paying the price than it would be to stop doing the hurtful things.

However I judge somebody else– at it’s most basic level, that is how I am judging myself.  That is what I am saying to the shadow parts of me, the aspects of who I am that I would much rather hide away. 

In the very act of saying “They deserve to have _____ done to them for their crimes” I am also saying at the same time “I deserve ______ … I will accept nothing other than ______ happening to me.”

We choose the payment method for mistakes.  It looks like we are going after for this form of payment, whatever it is.  But really, we are going after our own selves for it.

God is up to all kinds of things in this to.  There’s lots of interesting things to be explored about just how he feels and acts when we are unloving…  But we make a decision for Him, when we go looking for vengence.  The deed is already done once we delude ourself into thinking it’s the other person who we want to pay.

Man, it’s hard to let go of hurts.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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