It seems as though we escape from some sort of issue or drama, barely catch our breath, only to find a new undertow of issues that sneak up, pull us under, and violently roll us on the sandbar of life. We flail about, helplessly, desperate to find the surface in time so that we don’t suffocate on the pain and anxiety of it all. And that’s just the “basic American” problems of life… Add people to that mix and we are really in for a ride.
Relationships are hard. Face it, most days we can’t even stand to be in our own skin so, things with others can get sideways really easily, even unintentionally. We find it hard to just enjoy people for who they are and agree to play within the space and proper boundaries given. If we are honest, much of the time we vacillate between not being able to stomach people to wanting to consume them in order to satisfy some self-perceived need. *Cue certifiable childhood wound language* It’s a vicious cycle from which we desperately need rescuing.
The scary part is that when we do this, we tend to be oblivious. If we aren’t constantly believing that “everything we need, in Christ we already have” — the desire to force people to save us will rear it’s ugly head, manifest itself in all sorts of crazy ways, and rip everything apart. Sometimes we greatly fear that everything will come crashing down and out of those fears, we wrongly project motives onto people and in the end, we become self- fulfilled prophesies. It’s excruciating! We end up losing that which was once so beautiful and free all because we were too afraid to loosen our grip.
A buddy of mine (Jacob Goff) recently tweeted, “To be free of conflict you need to have no friends.” I think he’s absolutely right. To enjoy relationships with other people you will have to endure trouble — as people tend to be a pain in the proverbial ass. If you want to stay in those relationships, you have to be able and willing to work through conflict together. That person has to mean more to you than being right, being heard, or even getting your way. The thought of losing that person would have to be more painstaking than sifting through and facing the hard truths about that relationship together — even resetting the boundaries if needed — and this has to be a mutual standing in order to keep moving forward. You must have a common ground of grace where everyone is willing to lay their cards on the table. I guess what I’m saying is ultimately love would be the trump card to fear.
So what happens when you can’t work through the conflict? Something erupts and it all falls apart, everyone is hurt for different reasons and there’s just not a way to “fix” it? Choosing anger seems easier than allowing yourself to be hurt — hurt involves vulnerability and that leaves us open to pain. If we can stay angry we can keep living in denial of loss — however big or small. This is usually how I choose to cope, but I’ll blame it on my red hair…
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
What we really need in order to cope with loss, is to remember that while we are on this earth, horizontally, things are going to be broken — that’s the reality. However, what is equally part of that reality is the fact that in Christ those broken things have already been reconciled. He holds them in his resurrection. It doesn’t mean that our pain is erased straight from history — where we’ve been wronged doesn’t cease to be wrong. This is no dismissal of the wounds themselves because they “are held by him precisely as they are or were in history, and finally, that without ceasing to be the evils that they were and are, they are nevertheless reconciled in the Peaceable Kingdom of God.” -Capon
Take your deepest relational hurt that lacks closure and think about the fact that Christ has it in his hands. He died with it in his hands, he was buried with it in his hands, he was resurrected with it in his hands. Now he sits at the right hand of the father with it — in his hands. Your life, including your history — Past. Present. Future — has been, is being, and will continue to be reconciled in Christ. That changes everything. It means you’re free to feel the pain it caused you, and you’re also free to let it just be a loss. You’re free to exhale because you know that ultimately, it’s been forever settled.
You’re free to lay it to rest.
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.