Recently, Ann and I had a difficult conversation with someone close to us. In the past something big had come between us. When we discussed it, each bringing our own point of view, we found we were poles apart. What we believed, saw, and heard, and our memories of the time, had affected us so differently and we were all hurting and carrying bitter root judgements.
I frequently find, when supporting and praying with people, that they have been deeply affected by things in the past. Sometimes these situations are clear cut and there is absolutely no doubt about the severity of what happened, or the depth of the sin involved. Other times there can be two or more sides to a situation, with both, or multiple, parties bringing their own ‘history’ into their perceptions of what happened, what was meant and what was ‘behind’ attitudes or behaviours in an interaction.
I know from my own experiences that what happened to me as a young child affected me as an older child, a youth and an adult. Moreover, each stage of life seemed to add multiple layers of complexity to how I might see and then respond to any challenge or situation.
Learning about this and seeking healing in Jesus for the brokenness I struggled with for so many years, hasn’t made me perfect. When faced with a new challenge that just has too many similarities with some of the stuff I’ve gone through in the past, I still don’t respond the best way, especially if I’m tired or stressed.
I know I hurt many people one way or another. Some of those people are still in my life today and their previous experiences with me may still affect how they interact with me now.
In our conversation, Ann and I felt hurt and vulnerable, but it was clear to see the other person did too. We were looking at the experience through the distorted vision of the hurt and pain of our even more distant past, and, as a result, we were left with judgement and unforgiveness suspended in our hearts. It needed to be brought out into the light and dealt with in the grace of our Lord Jesus.
As we prayed about it, we were also aware that the pressures of life and separations imposed by Lockdown were adding to the distortion of how we were seeing things now. Then I read the scripture quoted above (Song of Songs, 5:12).
The Passion Translation, a dynamic equivalent translation of the original Hebrew, views Song of Songs as a representation of Christ and His bride (us). The context of this verse is the bride telling others about her Saviour-King.
Jesus sees past all our assumptions and distortions, rooted in historical hurt and pain, to the truth. We need to seek Jesus and ask Him, who sees with pure understanding and without distortion, to guide us in how to respond with clean and pure love.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that You called me to follow You. Thank You that You love me with Your pure, perfect love, despite my faults, failings and sin. Help me, Lord, to seek You when I look at situations through my distorted lens of pain, hurt and history. Help me to see what You see, with the purest understanding, and respond in love and grace, when I would otherwise react out of judgement or bitterness. Help me, Lord, to be more and more like You, whatever the circumstances. Amen.
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