Friday, September 3, 2010

Handing Over Hurts

My oldest daughter is very sensitive to the words and actions of other people, especially her peers; she gets that from her momma. She regularly comes home from school reporting actions or words of another person that she feels were unkind. She is so tenderhearted that the smallest offense shakes her to her core. We spend a lot of time in the evenings rebuilding what the world has torn down during the day. We discuss what God says about her in comparison to what she is “feeling” in that moment to realign her feelings with the truth. Frequently after questioning her and getting more information about the situation, we come to the conclusion that the offender was only playing. Unfortunately, sometimes the offender was not playing, but actually mean, which turns our discussion to why people hurt other people.

How quickly she forgets her heartache when it comes to her relationship with her sister though. There is just enough of an age gap between them to allow for some heated arguments and McKayla finds much enjoyment in persistently picking on her little sister. There are times when it results in a flood of tears down Brenna’s cheeks because she wants her sister to accept her so badly and because she feels so belittled by what has been done or said to her.

One night this week we experienced a loving family exchange much like what I described. As I was in the kitchen, all of a sudden, I see Brenna throw herself onto the love seat yelling and crying as she pulls a pillow over her face to cover her pain. All the while, I see and hear McKayla leaving the scene of the crime as she takes off down the hall snickering. Let’s just say Momma was full of a little, hopefully righteous, anger and the next thing I know my index finger was having a seizure right in her face! I promise it was a short seizure.

Once the seizure stopped, I asked my first born a question.

“Do you remember the feeling you have inside when someone has hurts your feelings or has embarrassed you at school?”

Her head dropped and a muffled “yes” tumbled from her lips.

“Doesn’t it make your heart hurt?”

“Yes.” Head still dropped.

“If it hurts you so badly, why would you ever want to do something to someone else that would make their heart hurt in the same way?” I asked trying to mask the irritation in my voice with a cover of softness and concern.

“I wouldn’t want to.” She answered.

“But that’s exactly what you do to her when you tease her and say hurtful things to her. You are taking that pain that was in your heart into your hands and handing it to your sister so that she can feel it. Is that what you want her to feel?”

“No”, she answered, as I saw the light bulb came on in her eyes.

Without my prompting she said, “I’m sorry, Brenna.” I think it was a genuine apology, because it was different from the ones we force her to say. I think she “got it” in that moment.

I pray we would do the same in our relationships with each other, but often we don’t, even within our Christian circles. Easily we forget how broken our hearts have been, how wounded we were by the actions of someone else. We forget how bad the pain was and fail to extend love and grace to another in their time of need. Instead we take the pain that was within our hearts into our hands and hand it to another, snickering as we walk away.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

Father I pray that we would love one another, that we would honor one another, that we would see one another through your eyes. If we don’t see others through your eyes, may we pray for that ability. God, I pray for a heart that is more compassionate to those around me. Teach me to love them as You would love. I pray that my tongue, my words, would not be a sword being thrust into someone else, inflicting wounds and pain upon someone that you created. Your word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that your works are wonderful. If I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so is the person that I am hurting. If your works are wonderful, then the person I hurt is wonderful because they are the work of Thy hands. I know that You love me, but sometimes I forget that You love them too. Father, please forgive me for words that have been insensitive and unloving. I pray your healing balm of love onto any wounds that I have inflicted upon any of your children. Just as McKayla felt during our conflict the other night, I would never want to hand someone else the pain that has been handed to me.

I leave you with a quote from a very wise man. His name was Jesus.

“…Love one another, even as I have loved you…” John 13:34

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1 comment:

  1. Amy, thank you for taking the time to pass along this exchange. Not only is it a teaching moment for me regarding my interactions/relationships with others, but it may be directly applied to the relationship of my daughters who seem to play similar roles as your daughters in the great drama of sisterhood. What a wonderful analogy to use with the tender-hearted oldest who some days seemingly finds fulfillment in tormenting her little sister.


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