April 10, 2018

Wounded in the House of Friends

Zechariah 13:6 exposes an issue which honestly causes me distress when I consider it carefully. A prophet is asked, "What are these wounds in thine hands?" He replies, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends." Use of the possessive, my, reveals the extent of pain in his pronouncement.

Friends love and are loved. They're trusted. There is an expectation of absolute loyalty. It is difficult to acknowledge, my friend hurt me. We know what to do with physical wounds. Certainly clean, apply ointment, bandage and give them time to heal. Do everything possible to avoid infection. Emotional pain is tough. How do we deal with a heart that is broken by someone we've allowed to touch it?

Think about this for a moment. Judas likely spent every waking moment with Jesus. They ate together. Christ washed his feet, yet, he betrayed Him with a kiss, to people who would kill Him (Luke 22). The betrayal was expected but painful anyway. Tamar never saw hers coming. She was raped by her brother Amnon when he deceived her into a compromising position by pretending to be ill. Afterwards, he put her out and locked the door (2 Samuel 13). Finally, King David's son, Absalom, conspired and took the throne from him. David ran to avoid being killed by his child (2 Samuel 15-19). Each scenario was an emotional minefield, and responses varied. Jesus surrendered and was tortured and killed. Tamar withdrew and became desolate, beyond redemption. David's heart was broken, but he fought to regain his throne. I am not sure how I would have reacted in any of these situations. 

A thirteen-year-old (I will call her Sheila) whose arms were covered in cigarette burns confessed that she put fire on her skin when the hurt in her heart was too much to bear. The physical pain momentarily dulled emotional trauma. I've been thinking of this because I feel an urgency to survive and properly manage painful processes. In my reflections on the matter, one thing is certain. If I focus on the wound, I will never get beyond it. To what then should I give the most energy? I decided, when my eyes are fixed on healing, that's what I'll move towards. 

Friendly fire is horrible and can be fatal if after care is not thoughtful. It requires a commitment to focus on healing although you are in pain. Be honest about what you are going through. You will need a support system (preferably a small but strong one) because there are times when they will have to hold you together until you can stand on your own. You address issues of the heart well when you also deal with your mental and spiritual state. If the mind and spirit are aligned, you are better positioned to handle the emotional roller coaster. 

Pray. Read the Psalms for examples of how David talked to God during his process. Forgive. It doesn't mean staying in relationship with those who have hurt you but forgiving allows you to let go. Letting go helps with healing. No matter the challenge, you can do this. You are not alone, and I am praying for you.