When I met my husband, we did what a lot of couples do when they are getting acquainted—we shared stories. We shared stories about our families, where we grew up, and about our relationships. Because I was single until I was forty-six, my list of relational stories was longer than the average bear’s. Although I’d like to say that all my stories had peaceful endings, some of them didn’t. Some included heartbreak that took a while to heal. My guess is that you’ve had your share of relational heartbreaks, betrayals, or disappointments, too.
When these situations occur, we can choose one of two things: we can become disillusioned and cynical, or we can become more realistic, discerning, and wise. The disillusioned cynic decides not to let anyone in; they shut down their heart, and stop hoping for loving relationships.
But the discerning and wise person has a better approach.
They know this world is not their home. They know perfect relationships only await on the other side of heaven. But until then, the wheat will grow up with the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), so they accept that people will sometimes hurt them (and they will hurt others too.) They know there is an Adversary who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) so life will sometimes be filled with relational pain. They know the rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45) so life won’t be perfect. They are realistic about the sinful condition of the world, their own heart, and the hearts of those they love, but they are not cynical because they know God is at work in the most horrendous experiences—just like He was at work in the tragedy of the cross, making something ugly into something redemptive. They know God’s love is bigger than their relational heartbreaks, betrayals, or their discouragements so they continue to love. They live by faith, and place their trust in the Faithful One, not in man.
Oswald Chambers had it right when he wrote the following in My Utmost for His Highest:
“Our Lord’s confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.”
Should others disappoint, hurt, or betray you, don’t become cynical. Love God; love people but put your total trust in Christ.
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