Monday, October 24, 2016
A Hard Place
The 55th Psalm brought me to a hard place. It brought me to a place of remembering times of disappointment caused by friends I thought were in my corner. Life is sure to bring moments of disappointment, but being let down by people you figured you could count on is a bitter pill to swallow. Sometimes it is so bitter and the scar runs so deep that the moment takes root and festers in the soul for years and years before it gets handled. Of course, some unfortunately never get handled. As the Word of God brought some of those memories to mind, I was forced to ask if forgiveness had really be allowed to do its work in my heart, or was something lingering other than just a memory.
The Psalm speaks not just of anguish caused by another, but the anguish caused by the betrayal of one who was a friend. Verses 13-14 reveals this to us as it says, "It is not enemies who taunt me--I could bear that; it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me--I could hide from them. But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company; we walked in the house of God with the throng." A little later in the Psalm, more details are offered, "My companion laid hands on a friend and violated a covenant with me." (vs. 20) Disappointment and betrayal leads to anger and resentment. Anger and resentment kept in the heart does serious damage to the soul and our relationship to God whom we have betrayed and disappointed more times than can be remembered.
Soul work is not always done in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. Actually, most of it gets done in settings far more mundane. Whenever and wherever we are brought to an awareness by the Holy Spirit that some past damage to a relationship still causes us grief and ill will toward another, it is time for some soul work. This is why the Spirit works in us to bring it to mind. It may be that our look inward look will enable us to know that we have rightly handled a difficult moment, but it may also reveal to us that we need to ask God for help in handling something we have allowed to linger too long.