I had a notion a while ago. Given how I write out my assorted musings for my Cephas Hour of Peace radio show (audio on demand for past shows available here), why not dust off my modest little waystation off the information superhighway (hey, when was the last time you heard that expression? But I digress) and print them here? Hence this post.
Hope this helps you with whatever you’re presently going through. Video clips are the songs played during the show.
The Old Testament prophet Joel noted that in the time period to which he was referring — whether be that in the past or upcoming I’ll leave for Biblical scholars to debate — the young men of Israel would see visions, while the old men would dream dreams. Since I, alas, am firmly in the latter age group, dreams it is.
While I strongly doubt it in any way is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, I’ve noticed in my dreams the past few months how most every one has included someone with whom there is presently some level of conflict, or disagreement, or strain on what was at one time an at least solid relationship that now is something less than optimal. Yet, invariably in these dreams there is no strife. All parties involved get along perfectly. It’s quite nice.
Perhaps in these dreams there is not so much a wish for all to be right again as a sign that all in time will be right again. We often think of signs and wonders, visions and dreams, as being spectacular surreal supernatural extravaganzas. Not necessarily. Little miracles are just as much miraculous as the grandiose. All that is touched by the divine isn’t always on the scale of parting the Red Sea. It can also be parting the divisions between two people, providing a path toward forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.
This is why we should always remain hopeful, not allowing the immediate turbulence to trick us into believing this is how everything is always going to be. We can forgive and be forgiven. We can restore and be restored. We can love again and be loved again. We can also cut ourselves some slack if this doesn’t happen in the next five minutes. Referring back to the prophet Joel, he notes that the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and He relents in sending disaster to those who turn in repentance to Him. This doesn’t absolve us of responsibility. But it does put time in perspective.
In our lives, we have all met a savior or two or three dozen. I’m not referring to the real Savior, namely Jesus Christ. No, I’m referring to the self-appointed saviors, be it of relationships or the workplace, who once were brothers or sisters in arms in our collective of ragtag soldiers. Now, they look to be the general. Problem is, they’re so busy fighting whatever battle is at hand that they forget not only why they’re fighting but that the troops they originally set out fighting for are still here.
There are few things more disheartening than the individual who was once actively engaged as a compatriot in helping others, but now distances his or herself from others even as they put on a great show of doing what they do for the benefit of all. This is not service. This is selfishness. The person who takes someone, or others collectively, for granted is often the most surprised when that someone, or those others, walk away, usually quietly. How can they, the person wonders. Can’t he or she, or they, see I’m doing what I’m doing for their and everyone else’s benefit? I’m trying to make things better! In reality, you’re making things worse for everyone else, and you’re doing what you do for yourself.
All of us can be replaced at the workplace. One day we will be. Disney didn’t close when Walt Disney died. Apple didn’t close when Steve Jobs died. There is not a store above the one-person shop level on this planet that will be forced out of business if any given employee fails to show. Human beings, however, can and do fall apart, sometimes irrecoverably, when someone walks out of their life in pursuit of being a both unneeded and utterly unqualified pseudosavior.
There’s a saying that revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold. Of course, Christians are instructed to leave such matters as revenge and vengeance to the Lord as they are solely His prerogative. Not that this stops any of us from politely requesting permission to serve as His avenging angel, but He usually says no.
We can cushion and beautify the thirst for revenge against those who have wronged us by wrapping it in assorted Scriptures. More realistically, we can strive toward being someone who forgives and forgets. The problem is far too often, we confuse the two.
Moving on is quite often identical to moving away from. We can and should forgive those who have wronged us. This does not mean we automatically stay in a relationship with an unfaithful partner, or working for a dishonorable employer. Sometimes you need to, for your own preservation, slip out of the picture and find a picture of your own in which to live. It ties into that whole being human thing so many of us try to get out of.
Finding solace is a necessary part of self-preservation; of valuing ourselves as God’s creation. The Scripture that teaches us He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit in no way implies this hinges on the provision we blissfully discard each and every wrong perpetrated against us, following this by gleefully dancing back into the exact same situation in which we were previously wronged. Each of us is worth more than that. We are not human doormats.
This directly ties into how although the penalty of sin is forgiven by Christ’s substitutional death on the cross, the consequences of sin are not eradicated by Christ’s substitutional death on the cross. We can repent, but we are never guaranteed protection from our actions repercussions. Sometimes we need to walk away for a time from the one who hurt us. As long as we never walk away from the One Who always loves us.