If I was superstitious, I would say that about seven years ago, I must have broken a mirror, or walked under a ladder, or let a black cat walk in front of me, because it seems like that was the beginning of some very bad luck for me, or at least some things that were beyond my control and resulted in being wounded or hurt by others. I’m not superstitious, but seven years later, I am still trying to find closure. I’ve healed a lot, but it still hurts when I think about the fact that some things did not turn out right, some things did not resolve, friendships were not mended, business dealings did not work in my favor, and I’ve continued to see those I trusted but who betrayed me for personal gain, continue on the same path.
Have you ever watched the movie “The Count of Monte Cristo”? I remember watching that movie and feeling the pain of the main character who was imprisoned falsely and was left to die until an unexpected doorway opened up to him. I can honestly say I have felt like that with a lot of things I’ve been through and wanted vengeance. And I wondered where God was in all of it. I blamed Him, got angry, begged for answers, wondered why these people had hurt me, and even worse, these people were supposed to be Christians. I tried doing the right thing, tried to work things out with others, let things run their course and hoped for the best, hoped that these people would see the light, see the error of their ways, and come and ask for my forgiveness for what they had done to me. But none of that has happened yet. I pray that it will, but there has been no reconciliation, because despite coming to the place of forgiving them, I still hurt, and they still proudly sit in their puddle of “right”. I still want my side to be heard but it hasn’t been. I want them to feel badly for what they did and make things right between us. But I can’t make people feel that. I can’t make them repent, I can’t make them feel remorse and sorry for betraying or hurting me. I struggle with my flesh of wanting resolve, wanting closure, wanting justice, and go back to surrendering my heart to forgiveness again. Its a process that is long and hard if the cuts are deep, but it’s getting better. If there was a magic pill that could take it all away, I would take it. But life is not like that, and difficulties between people are complex.
I’ve written letters several times that were never sent. In fact, I wrote another one today to one of my old friends who sold out my friendship over a song. A song that I wrote, that they stole the music for, and despite my attempts to ask them to do the right thing, they did what they wanted anyway. I had to compromise, thinking I was keeping the peace, but I realized that these people were only concerned with their personal gain. To this day, I’ve never received a thank you for letting us use your music, never received a royalty payment, and they’ve even gone to the extent of taking my name off the credits publicly, taking full credit for something that was birthed in my soul. It hurt me deeply. I felt like a part of me was stolen. I have been so hurt by these actions, but more concerned that people like this exist in the Christian music community. It has really been a hard thing for me to work through for the last several years and almost kept me from completely ever doing music again, but God had other plans. Sometimes it feels like there will never be a resolve or closure on this one. I keep thinking that if I write a letter telling them how I feel, that I will feel better and maybe they will feel remorse. But I realize that listing my grievances to a deaf ear is not going to solve anything. Unless they want to do the right thing by me, we will remain estranged. It doesn’t matter that I forgave them if they don’t feel they need forgiveness. I may never receive full closure for this the way that I desire, for everything to turn out right and everybody hugs in the end wondering why we were all so selfish. It hurts me when I see continued actions taken by those who have hurt me that cast a negative shadow on my name & reputation to others when I know it’s just that they are trying to cover up what they did to me. So I get closed doors with what I try to do with my music in this industry, I get people who will not allow me to comment on their page, or who will not play my songs on the radio, or invite me to events….the list goes on. But despite the damage that I feel some people have done deliberately to me, God is bigger than that and He moves around road blocks that others deliberately put in my way. He works despite what lies others have said about me to keep people from associating with me or supporting what God wants to do in my life. I know God vindicates victims. That’s not my job. My job in all this is to keep striving towards love, keep laying down forgiveness when it seem so hard when continual hurt is being put in your face, and to trust God to do what He does or doesn’t want to do through me. If God is for me, who can be against me?
Recently, I’ve been talking a lot with others about resolve, forgiveness and reconciliation. It’s so easy to give pat Christian answers to people about forgiving and reconciling with others, but when the rubber meets the road, you find that it is so much harder to work through than those pat Christian answers. Because honestly, sometimes we don’t feel like we’ve got what is fair and the best results in the whole ordeal. I know I have felt that way many times. So how do you know if you’ve truly forgiven someone for what they did to you? Does forgiveness mean you have to be “mum” when they continue to act in unhealthy ways or bring continued pain and even sometimes danger into your life? This is a whole other blog topic right there! Does forgiveness mean you have to be a doormat for people to continue wiping their feet on? Where does “tough love” fall in all of this? When is it ok to tell someone how you feel and what they did to you was wrong and they can’t continue doing that and expect to be a part of your close circle?
All these questions and struggles are what many people face and we’re all looking for answers, for the right course of action to make sure “we’ve done our duty” and leave the ball in the other person’s court so we don’t have to take any further responsibility. We’re all longing for closure, for resolve, but the truth is that sometimes God just wants us to walk through these struggles and see the deeper meaning in all of it, to see what He is trying to tell us, to teach us, and the wisdom and strength He wants us to gain from having this experience so that He can do something far greater in and through us down the road. But most importantly, He wants us to come to a place where He is all we want, all we desire, and that HE is our main thing, not the other stuff we think is important.
For all those who have been wounded and hurt by another, I pray that you will continue to run to the arms of Jesus, to seek God and His comfort for all of it. And I pray that you will be alright if this thing is never resolved, never fixed in this lifetime, and realize that we can’t do God’s job. It’s up to Him to move the hearts of people to the right place. We can’t fix people. I had to learn that hard lesson myself.
When I think about how many times I’ve fallen short, made mistakes, hurt others, and failed, it puts it into perspective about how I view others who have sometimes deliberately hurt me. They deserve to have my forgiveness since I have desired to have it for what I’ve done against God and others. And when I get to the place of wanting God’s best for them, I know I’ve let go of my expectations and allowed God to show me the more important thing. But honestly, betrayal has been one of the deepest wounds I’ve suffered. I have been betrayed by people I deeply trusted, and I know that the enemy knows this and tries to use it against me, tries to defeat my spirit, tries to continue wounding me by bringing it up. I am still trying to let go of some of those things and accept that maybe, I won’t get the closure I desperately desire. And that I have to leave vindication up to God. Sometimes I wonder why some people don’t respond to me, or shut me out, or wont’ let me “in”. Maybe I’m too bold, outspoken by standing up for things I believe in, maybe I’ve stepped on their toes and instead of examining their own heart and motives, would rather make me the scapegoat so they don’t have to face the real issue. Who knows. But I am still trying to understand why people continue to listen to those who blast the names of other people and don’t seek out the truth about them for themselves.
Eventually the truth will come into the light. Those who meant ill will towards you will be exposed, or God will teach them their own lesson like I had to learn mine. It all catches up. I wish for everyone to try to be a better person, to choose the path of love instead of self justification, to choose humility instead of vengeance. There is a world of people out there being overlooked, being shut out, being wounded, and blaming God because some of His followers still don’t get His son and what He came to show us. Throw out the rule book and choose the better way of Love. What a better world this would be if we would all TRULY choose that path. I am not perfect and know I still have a lot to learn when it comes to all this Jesus following. But I won’t remain silent if God asks me to speak, I’ll check my motives when it comes to shouting from the rooftops, and I will not stop being open, honest, and real. There are too many people on the platform who are unable to do this because it is a sign of weakness to them. I have nothing to lose, only to gain by helping others who are struggling and help them move to a better place.
When we all stand before our maker, each of us will be judged according to what we’ve done. Make reconciliation a priority, make truth your goal, let go of squabbles and quarrels, and pray for those who persecute you. Love those who deliberately hurt you or whisper slanderous words about you under a “spiritual cover”. A wolf can not “bahh” and if you want to know the truth about someone, just ask them. Don’t assume that the one side to the story you’ve heard is always the real story. Pride keeps us from moving forward, from repenting, from forgiving, from reconciliation. And sometimes discrediting others helps us take the focus off ourselves and our own sin.
As a response to all these kinds of struggles I’ve faced with not getting the closure I’ve desired, I wrote “Meet Me in the Middle”. In a perfect world, we would all get along, we would all say we’re sorry and mean it, and we would all forgive and move on to a place of genuine love for each other. This song stems from a broken relationship that I still have to surrender to God every day. Thanks to Michael Sweet for singing the duet with me. My prayer and hope if anything, is that I can continue to speak hope, healing, and peace to others with all I do. I’m still working on it.
If you want to hear this song, go to:
http://www.myspace.com/soniav – “Meet Me in the Middle” – Sonia V. featuring Michael Sweet