For years I wasted time excusing those who used their emotion to keep me in prison to their whims and desires. My God-given instincts knew it was wrong but my interpretation of love your neighbour as yourself, was to love your neighbour more than yourself and let them treat you however they want and find a way to forgive and try to carry on as if nothing happened. Now today I frequently remind myself that ‘love does not delight in evil’ (1 Corinthians 13:6). My good, loving, merciful but just God spent years sending me messages about forgiveness and now I am fully accepting that forgiving someone who refuses to acknowledge the pain they have caused me, does not necessarily equate to not confronting them, reconciliation or continuing the friendship. You see there comes a point where if you will not stand up to another Christian who chooses to act like the devil towards you, then you are indirectly encouraging their behaviour.
Let me use a scenario to clarify what was just mumbled out. Your Christian friend asked to borrow your car. She returned it in the night, thanked you and drove off with another friend. In the morning you are welcomed by the surprise of a dent in the back of the car. You call your friend for answers but, instead of even offering an apology all she offers are excuses said in such tones you are certain somehow you just ‘hurt’ your friend and ruined her life, by inquiring about your car. Now that’s probably not a good example but, I wanted to point out just how emotional tyrants assume that they can use their emotions, e.g. anger, tears, whining, sulking, contemptuous attitude, bringing up your past, name calling, to make you overlook what they did, instead of simply acknowledging their wrong. They would do this even when the truth is like a large elephant stepping on their toes. I was one who would start feeling bad about the way they were acting, get guilt and end up apologising for hurting them. Guess what, majority of those persons who use the emotional tactic would turn around and treat me as someone who didn’t deserve their forgiveness. I have even had some twist the story or find a fault in me to whisper to a few a few choice individuals who I respected. They would then be compelled to eye me suspiciously since they could not be bothered to ask me about what they heard. First story always seems right. (Thank God I can now laugh at my past. Although some days…)
If you have experienced this, you fully understand the pain and confusion of desperately trying to keep such relationships strong. My fear of people’s emotional backlash and slander, kept me bound to unhealthy friendships for years and it brought no peace. Just wanted to fit in with my church sisters, be a part of the gatherings, maintain friendships, not be overlooked or talked about negatively. It didn’t work, and I found myself wounded time and time again. One of the results was that I slowly began loosing my identity. I literally woke up one day and realised I had changed significantly. Tension, anger, anxiety,negative thoughts about myself had stepped in. It was further confirmed in a dream which replayed an event that had occurred fourteen years before. I had left a bag with some important identification documents on a train in London. Fortunately it was the last stop for the train that day and I realised the bag was missing just as I stepped out of the station. After a mad rush back and I was fortunate to retrieve it right away. The event replayed almost exactly in my dream except that the man who handed me the bag gently told me that I needed to recover my identity. Dream interpretation was not necessary. It was as plain as day.
Have you been so wounded by life that you find yourself becoming someone you don’t want to be? Are you questioning where the real you have gone?
The Bible encourages us to be imitators of Christ. I’m certain He loved the Pharisees but He was not obliged to let them get away with their contemptuous speech and attitudes towards Him, until it was crucifixion time. He was not afraid to tell it like it is, even when it outraged them. He was not afraid of being hated, ostracized slandered, criticised, not because His disciples had his back and stood with Him, but because He knew His Father and He knew His purpose. What about you? Have you ever allowed yourself to be manipulated and controlled by an emotional tyrant. Could it be that they are now assuming that you are quite comfortable with their behaviour? Are you fearing rejection, slander, being ostracized? I feel you. What helped me was finding my identity in Christ. The Bible gives us much word about what God thinks of us. God accepts you and if he is for you, He can and will heal your hurts speak His word into your life and find you new, genuine friends, if you will let him. Ask Him to help you overcome emotional tyrants today. His way for you may be different from mine.
Father I thank You for reaching down and pulling me out of the pit of rejection. I pray for those going through at this time that You will draw near to them and deliver them. Let them know that they are accepted in the beloved. Restore hope in their lives and grant them joy and peace. Thank You Lord. In Jesus name.