This week has personally been the hardest week I have had in more than a year. I was wounded by someone very close to me: someone who has been shown quite a lot of grace. It really hurt. I was shocked and stunned and all I wanted to do was run far away. I wanted to disappear. I wanted to be a turtle and slide back into that shell and let the world pass me by.
I left the situation almost as soon as it started, because I just couldn’t take it. I was hurt, and this person hurt some of the people I love most in my life. I packed up my little boy and my sweet wife, and we booked it out of there.
I hoped that a few days of distance would allow things to cool off, in hopes that we could reconcile and move past this whole nasty, horrible thing. That didn’t happen. Things only became worse; so, after much prayer, talking with my wife, my two best friends, and my counselor, I decided to make a hard decision to separate myself from this person until further notice.
Forgiving someone does not mean that you have to be their best friend after the fact. Forgiving someone doesn’t me that you have to allow them to hurt you again. Forgiving someone doesn’t me that you can’t protect yourself in the future. You can forgive and move on with your life. You don’t have to walk around with bitterness and anger, but you can walk away from a potentially hazardous person for the sake of your own mental and emotional health.
It is okay to tell someone, “I forgive you, but I will not give you the opportunity to hurt me again.”
You do not have to be a doormat in order to be a Christian. Turning the other cheek doesn’t mean you stand around, just waiting to be smacked around. You don’t have to be surrounded or deeply connected to people who don’t support you. Surround yourself with people who are in your corner and believe in you. People who truly love you and are glad you’re on the planet.
You CAN stand up for yourself, knowing that God is for you, that He will never fail you, that He is constant and trustworthy and loving and compassionate.
People will fail you.
Circumstances will let you down.
Sometimes this life absolutely sucks, but God will never forget us or stop loving us. Ever.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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