Column Post by Laura Hyers
It happened again. For the hundredth time, I trusted that person—you know the one, the one you so desperately want to trust, the one you keep coming back to in hopes there’s been a change and now you can have a normal relationship.
Well, I trusted her and I thought she was safe, rejoiced in the reconciliation, and I got hurt. Again.
For me, I sometimes think being graceful and forgiving means that I keep getting used as a doormat or taken advantage of, keep going back and testing the waters to see if things are a little less dysfunctional. I’m talking about when a relationship consistently does more harm than good, is more hurtful than helpful, and you and I end up doing the crazy dance of codependency while we wait for this difficult person to get her act together.
You and I, we’re both wrong.
And I know we aren’t the first people to struggle with this. The Bible is full of verses that offer advice on dealing with people who just aren’t good for us. Most of the time, these verses call those people fools. That was hard for me at first. What if this person doesn’t seem like a fool to me? That’s some harsh labeling, no matter how irritated or hurt I am.
But in reality, I think we can safely say that all of us can act foolish sometimes, and all of us, whether purposefully or not, cause pain and frustration for the people around us.
Some days, I’m a big huge fool. And I’m not proud of it.
Some people spend more days than most being foolish, and others can be fools in very specific situations and dynamics.
What’s been hardest for me is giving myself permission to back away from the people who hurt me time and time again. Go take a look at Proverbs the next time you’re feeling guilty for wanting to distance yourself from that unsafe person:
The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin. (Prov. 10:8)
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Prov. 13:20)
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. (Prov. 14:7)
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. (Prov. 15:7)
Those are only a few of the verses to choose from. Proverbs is the Biblical book of wisdom, and for good reason: if I were to do even half of what Proverbs tells me, the drama and angst in my life would decrease tenfold.
Think about it. Pray about it. Is the Lord nudging your heart, whispering that you’re allowed to cut yourself loose from the expectations you have for that harmful friendship?
Maybe He’s whispering something else entirely, and isn’t that the beauty of it? He knows us well enough to know just what we need.
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Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
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