I stole the title of this blog post from an old Eurythmics song. Despite spending most of the eighty’s as a major Eurythmics fan, I had overlooked this bitter gem until my friend Lisa-Fire brought it up. She was going through a breakup at the time and found it apropos.
My taste ran more towards their other bitter classic, I Love You (Like a Ball and Chain), but gave it a spin. Not as deep perhaps, but certainly direct:A history of bitterness You have left a blazing trail If you had been a hammer I’d be a broken nail You gave me nothing Nothing but regrets Don’t think it’s over It’s not over yet
And then a repeat of the chorus, you hurt me, and I hate you!
Oh, the things we spew when our heart is in pain. Lisa-Fire may have belted out a few choruses herself when we ended our friendship. I get it.
What brings it up now is the pain in my own heart. I’m recently divorced, and still rather in shock. It was unwanted, unexpected and required over two years of legal wrangling to produce the result all divorces produce: everybody lost.
But wishing won’t change things and there’s nothing I can do about another person’s choices. No matter how much I love them.
So I’m left feeling wronged, that a great injustice has been perpetrated against me. Forget about the people who are starving or being murdered for their faith – this is about me.
And that’s a problem.
Because even if it’s true. Even if evil has been done to me. Even if my wife were the only one at fault (as the other person is in the lyrics). What right do I have to be angry at her?
Stay with me here.
Yes, I was a battered husband in my first marriage as a teen, but this has nothing to do with disempowering myself. It’s about the opposite. It’s about the strength – and the power – to forgive. And about where I place my anger.
St. Nikolai Velimirovic tells us that anger makes its nest in the breast of arrogance, and murder lies in the breast of anger. Strong stuff.
Let’s start with that breast of arrogance part. It’s important. Because to be angry at another person, we must judge them. And to judge them, we must deem ourselves both righteously and morally superior to them. This is different from judging a person’s actions. We can love someone and still oppose their actions. We can have compassion without losing sight of the situation, and without abandoning our humility. Just think of that person in your life you were more afraid to disappoint than to upset. The disappointment let you know you were loved, even though you blew it.
Anger at someone doesn’t do that. It distances us. It creates violence. If not in action, then in word. If not in word, then in thought. And angry thoughts are transparent to all.
Then there’s murder in the breast of anger. Or, as in the lyrics:Don’t think it’s over It’s not over yet
We want to get even. We want to inflict justice. As we decide it. Forget the horses of the apocalypse, here we come. So much for considering ourselves the first among sinners. You know, that little verse the apostle Paul penned in his first letter to Timothy? (1 Timothy, 1:15)
We each know our own sins. The things we don’t want others to know. The things we don’t like to admit, or try to forget. Their number is legion. Compared to the sins we know of another, how could we consider ourselves anything but the first among sinners? And if that’s the case, how can we wish to get even? Evil for evil? Sin for sin?
Yeah. That showed ‘em.
Now, what if we don’t eat our own hearts while they’re still beating and learn to forgive? Even as the nails were hammered through His flesh, Christ forgave those who murdered him. He lived (and died) what he taught us. So why shake down our debtors when our debts have been forgiven? (Matthew 6:12, 18:21-35)
So, go. Pray for your enemies. You’ll be surprised by the results. And if you must sing a bitter tune, at least change up the lyrics:
You hurt me, and I love you!
Can you do that? Or does the pain sometimes feel too deep? What’s your experience?
You hurt me (and I hate you) http://clicktotweet.com/96D9d
There’s nothing I can do about another person’s choices – no matter how much I love them. http://clicktotweet.com/2bcfN
What if we don’t eat our own hearts while they’re still beating and instead learn to forgive? http://clicktotweet.com/0HZ3a
Pray for your enemies. You’ll be surprised by the results. http://clicktotweet.com/bQKIm