“I’m point blank telling you this: love one another. Exactly as I have loved you, you gotta love others just like that” (John 13:34) *Jen Version
“Love Hurts” most famously performed by Nazareth rings through my melancholic, melodic thoughts right now:
Love hurts, love scars
Love wounds and marks
Not tough or strong enough
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
Ooh, ooh, love hurts
See? I am a fiercely loyal friend. I trust too easily. I’m loyal to a fault. I’m also highly relational, feel deeply for others, and can’t decide if I’m an enneagram 2w3 or 2w1 – either way the two reigns and therefore I’m kind, generous, warm-hearted, and loving at my best. I want to be your hero and focus much of my efforts to that end. Anything you need, I’m your girl. If I disappoint you or you don’t appreciate me, my heart crumbles.
Why do I share all this? Well, partly because I have one other glaring flaw – I assume everyone is just like me. Because how I am is normal for me, I assume it’s normal for everyone. And partly because I have another flaw – I want to shut down, back off from people, and let the enemy win when relationships go awry. For these two reasons, I’d love to process my current predicament with you all in a effort to self reflect, evaluate, and maybe just strike a chord of camaraderie with any of you you may be in the same place.
Love is painful but necessary. We won’t always be in agreement with those we love, but we must strive for unity. The disagreement you’re experiencing may be so far off from your reality that you’re certain they live in a lie. All I know is this – Jesus loves us when we’re outside the truth whether from trauma or sin and His love draws us back to truth – another word for truth is reality.
Because of certain things I’ve been through in life (another post for another time), I value honesty. I cling to truth. I believe being blunt (as kindly as you can) with a friend about something that is not easy to talk about is the kindest thing to do. It’s the loyal thing to do in obedience to Proverbs 27:6 and 17. I do it for others expecting that they know my deep love and good intentions for them and I expect them to do the same for me (as if no ennegram 9s exist in the world and confrontation is not an issue) HA! It is also my firm belief that if people are not this way, poison can move through a group of people slowly but surely, eventually creating a big messy, toxic situation of relation. Situation of relation? Hmmm….maybe that can be a new set of lyrics for Love Hurts.
Here’s the thing. This value of mine has bitten me twice recently. I have inadvertently hurt a friend with my observations of a situation in order to (in my mind) “serve them well”. Additionally, a couple of friends have failed to share things with me that would have served me in the same way. By failing to share with me, they set me and our friendship up for failure through their disloyalty, lack of authenticity, and fear of confrontation.
Did they not know me enough to know I value their true, loving words over a momentary situation of shock and hurt? Didn’t they know that pointing out something I could improve about myself would prove their loyalty to me?
Didn’t the friend I mistakenly hurt know how hard it was for me to share what I did? Didn’t she know if I kept it to myself, I would have been a fake friend?
The betrayal I’m feeling is so painful and traumatic that I can only liken it to the level of pain I felt when my brother died, or when my best friend from a few years ago walked away from the Lord. It’s that major. In my mind, these people were fake friends. Our relationship was surface when I thought it was deep. I’ve always had their backs and they’ve never had mine. I literally constantly feel sick to my stomach.
I also know – I really messed up. I lacked the wisdom and awareness to say the right thing in the right way in the right moment.
So Now What?
So, now…Jesus. Always Jesus. I look to the one most authentic, loyal, and well-intentioned friend I have. I have to love people where they’re at because that’s how He loves me. So, my friendships with these people’s not what I thought it was, I question their authenticity, and manipulation has definitely taken place. I thought forgiveness happened when it hadn’t. I still have to love them. I can protect my heart, be wise, and put up boundaries but I can not under any circumstances give up on love. I can not let my wounded heart produce anger and disengagement.
God is teaching me that we are called to a higher form of love. We are called to a painful love. Love means giving of yourself to people who don’t deserve it. Love means considering the needs of others who have abused you more important than your own. Love isn’t contingent on others responding to you the way you want them to. Love, true Christ-like love, is meant to be unconditional, sacrificial and sometimes painful.
I’m learning that we are not our personal ideas and values, we are children of God.
I believe as Christians we first need to remember what Christ did for us. We are all imperfect and our imperfections are offensive to our perfect God. Yet He loves.
Where they’re at is not where I’m at – in beliefs, ideas of friendship, or even versions of what happened between us. Yet, I still have to love them where they’re at. Re-evaluate our relationship? Sure. Protect my peace? Definitely. Redirect my trust? Probably a good idea. But I must maintain a soft heart. The Holy Spirit is a revealer of truth. Jesus is my defender. Time heals and the fruit of my life proves. My part is obedience. My obedience is love.
*If you’re going through something painful, feel free to comment or message me at [email protected] so I can join you in prayer. We’re in this together.