“When we live according to our fears and our hates, our lives become small and defensive, lacking the deep, joyous generosity of God . . . Life with God is much, much larger, shattering our little categories of control, permitting us to say that God’s purposes led us well beyond ourselves to give and to forgive, to create life we would not have imagined.” Writes Walter Brueggeman in his book, “The Threat of Life.”
To be trapped in a prison of fear and hate, is to cheat ourselves of the gift of life God has given us. God wants so much more for us than this. God wants us to find meaning and significance in our daily lives. We can never find that meaning when our hearts are filled with bitterness. The day may be beautiful on the outside . . . but inside we are a simmering stew, ready to spew our frustration and our anger on the unfortunate person who crosses our path. The day God has given us to enjoy . . . is wasted.
I’ve found through the years that much of what appears from the outside to be fear and hate, is really on the inside . . . pain this isn’t being dealt with honestly. We cannot hide our pain from ourselves or from others. We may think that we are succeeding quite well, but those who know us best see the telltale signs of hurt. Little things cause us to be upset easily. What we once would have let slide off us, we now internalize and become defensive about. The hurt inside us spews out in the way we speak and live with others. We hurt people we don’t intend to hurt. We say things that we did not intend to say. We find people trying to avoid us. Our cause may be just, but our approach to people may be very unjust. The apostle Paul wrote “Though I speak with the tongues of mortals and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal . . . If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
But how hard to love, when you are hurting inside. How hard to love when you cannot or will not love yourself. How hard to love, when you are not wise enough to share your hurts and pain with your friends. God gave us each other so that we could share our journeys. There is nothing heroic about hiding the sad and painful things that are happening in our lives. We are meant to live in community with one another. Sharing our burdens is one of the ways we live with joy in the Christian life. When we choose to live according to our fears, our hates and yes . . hidden pain, our lives becomes small and defensive lacking the deep joyous generosity of God. God wants more for us than this. God wants each of us to know the powerful joy of Christ’s love. I’ve learned that when I share my journey, including life’s deepest hurts, fears and sorrows . . . I am most whole. Then, I can seize the moments of beauty and truly enjoy them.