You Cannot Give What You Don’t Have

Whilst reading this blog by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio, I was reminded of an email conversation with a good friend last January.  It was about recovering from a hurt caused by somebody.  At some point, I told her that perhaps, it would be easier to heal if this somebody would apologise (that was why this other blog by Rica also struck me), to which my friend replied “wag mo na antaying mag-sorry siya sa’yo…una, baka mafrustrate ka and remember Jesus died for you when we were still sinners…”

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I must say that one of the things that used to surprise me is when people wouldn’t apologise even when I had told them that they had hurt me.  Instead of receiving an apology, I was blamed for having been sensitive or over-reactive or because they had thought okay lang sa akin (to which I had wanted to reply: kung totoong kaibigan kita, alam mo kung ano ang ok at hindi ok sa akin) or told that I had no right to be hurt because it wasn’t their intention to hurt me (as if there is always a direct correlation between one’s intention and how that intention is expressed through words or actions, which are many times the ones that become offensive).  And I realised that the surprise over the shift of the blame (ako na yung nasaktan, ako pa yung nasisi) was because of false expectations – I have learned (and continue to learn) to humble myself and say sorry if I hurt someone even if it wasn’t my intention to do so (sino ba naman ang gusto makasakit consciously?) simply because I hurt him no matter what my intention was.  It was all about shifting the focus on the person I hurt instead of myself – so others should be able to do the same, but truthfully, can I or should I expect other people to have the same mindset as I?

I cannot and should not because as a friend always reminds me, having no expectation from others will spare me from a lot of hurt and disappointment.  And the bigger lesson is that I cannot expect others to understand being accountable for the consequences of their actions (and not of their intentions) and being humble and receiving mercy because it took a lot for me also to get to this place – I am only able to forgive in spite of myself or the absence of an apology because I myself was forgiven when I humbled myself before a mighty, merciful, and loving God who in spite of my wickedness decided to let His Son die on the cross so I can have eternal life with Him in heaven – a love so great I cannot fathom no matter how hard I try to wrap my brain around it.  I can humble myself before someone I hurt because I know there is mercy waiting if not from him, from God.  I can extend mercy to people who offended me because I myself received mercy.  I can love (and a sign of that is being accountable to someone I hurt because love is not arrogant) because I was loved first.  Indeed, you cannot give what you do not have.

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A Fairty Tale…sort of…

Once upon a time in a not so distant land called Memory, in a dark dungeon in the land, there lived a princess called Pinkmary, but she didn’t know that she was a princess because she was bound in chains by a dragon who fed her with lies…lies that she believed. The best times of her life were spent in bondage with the dragon.

 

sad pink princessember_dragon_by_isismasshiro-d4tgo65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the same land was an exile called Princess Tinkerbelly, err, Tinkermary.

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She saw what the dragon was doing to Princess Pinkmary so she sought to set her free. She went to Princess Pinkmary’s dungeon and loosened her chains one day at a time. Alas! Princess Pinkmary seemed to have been deceived by the dragon very well. Even with loosened chains, she thought she was still bound to the dragon and had to be with him. Even with opportunities to escape him, she chose to stay…with the dragon…in the dungeon.

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I’ve run out of creativity hahaha…sabi ko na hanggang non-fiction lang ako eh…for now…not even creative non-fiction…

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I am Princess Tinkermary and I happened to have known Princess Pinkmary at one point.  I reached out to her but she broke my heart in a way I did not imagine – I was blindsided.  So, I moved on.  But someone said, “pray for those who hurt you and the hurt will go away.”  I did not give it much attention.  I was hurt and disappointed and terribly so!  But I was continuously nudged by the Holy Spirit to pray for Princess Pinkmary.  And I answered, “but why me?”  Somewhere at the back of my mind, I was reasoning, “ako na nga sinaktan, ako pa magdarasal sa kanya?!  Marami naman siyang ibang kaibigan…”  But the nudges continued to the point I had headaches trying to reason with God why I should not pray for her.  At one point, I asked a friend, “pwede ko ba syang ipagdasal…because praying for her would bring back memories…?” and she answered, “wala naman akong nabasa sa Bible na wag mo ipagdasal ang tao.”  Wahahah, tama nga naman.  So, I reluctantly obeyed and prayed for Princess Pinkmary to accept the freedom that the Prince of Peace was offering her, for her to be set free from the dragon by the Real King as He had been doing all along.  More leading came to pray for her, her family (father, mother, and siblings), and her provisions.  I remembered some of her prayer points and prayed for those.  I hoped that she would finally see that God had been leading her out….she just could not see that and that’s the consequence of having been in the dark for so long, you cannot see the truth.

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I highly suspect that like the lessons on patience and managing finances well that I have had to learn, this is part of my lessons on forgiveness and I better pass this so that I can move on to the next lesson; if not, I wonder how I should continue to learn this.  Because I learned that most of the time, God’s lessons are never head knowledge, hardly theoretical.  They are practical.  He has put me in situations where I would be so hurt so I would learn to forgive, in situations where I have had to be with people I thought I would not be able to stand so I could learn patience, and He has put me in situations I could not control so as to learn to trust God. After all, He is more concerned about my holiness than my  happiness, in my character than in my comfort.

 

Matthew 5:48  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

1 Thessalonians 3:13  May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

 

The Miracle of Prayer

I had committed the land of Memory to Oblivion.  But when I obeyed to pray for her, I felt my heart of ice melt to give way to a heart of flesh.

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A friend once told me that the opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is indifference.  And that was true for me.  I did not really hate her but I was beginning to be indifferent towards her.  My initial prayer was (kasi nga pinagbibigyan ko lang si God di ba?  Masabi lang na ipinagdasal ko sya.), “Bahala ka na sa kanya, God.  Pwede ba yun na lang ang prayer ko?”  Waahhhh…I had continued debates with God for a season but He always wins!  So, ok, ipagdasal ang kanyang tunay na pangangailagan…

I was reminded “to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” but she wasn’t even my enemy.  More and more, I began to see that she was just another lost soul who was as deceived as I once was.  The mystery of praying for your “enemy” is experiencing how hurt can be replaced by love, mercy, and compassion that come from seeing the lost through the eyes of Jesus.

Matthew 9:36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless,like sheep without a shepherd.

 

The Fairy Tale Ending

I saw that there is a king waiting for Princess Pinkmary – a big person whose bigness is not just in physical size but in leadership.  He will rule his kingdom with Princess Pinkmary, whom he will treat as his queen, with authority.  And the king has a heart big enough for Queen Pinkmary’s Little Princess Pink.

queen-disney-princess-the-pascal-rapunzel-king-1821845

Then they will love happily ever after.

And that is a vision, not fiction.

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When I reached out to Pinkmary, I held on to this verse:

Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.

After all the hurt, it is still my verse.

If I keep a heavenly perspective and believe Romans 8:28, enemies are not really enemies… they are some of the best friends I have. What is sometimes meant by some to hurt me actually helps bring about a work of grace in me that wouldn’t take place any other way.

When a supposed enemy attacks, God exposes the sinful blind spots that lie hidden in my heart. When friends extol my good virtues and praise me, I appreciate their expressions of love, but it is more important that I be told the truth especially when it will wound me deeply (Proverbs 27:6). Otherwise I will not work to become more like Christ and the blind spots I have will grow and further infect my soul…

Without people doing what they think will hurt or destroy me, I would never find the way to being more like Jesus. They are a required part of becoming holy. And because of that I must see them as my best friends!

http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2008-3-10-Why-You-Need-Your-Enemies-Part-Two/