In Others’ Words: Bend Not Break

blessed hearts quote Albert Camus 2014 I have had my heart broken … and I am thankful for it — now.

In the breaking, I found both my weakness and my strength.

No one else broke my heart. I did that. Yes, someone’s actions hurt me deeply, but it was my actions — my reactions — that caused my heart to crack. To crumble. To break.

Instead of bending to the hurt, to the transgression … I responded in anger. I chose not to forgive. I lashed out, responding in kind. 

My weakness was defending myself, rather than bending low and remembering strength is not found in self-seeking vengence. No, sometimes the strongest thing I can do is to yield … to forgive … even if the other person never recognizes that what I am offering them is a truce.

I’ve learned forgiveness is never founded on a lie … but you cannot reckon truth for another person. Nor can you demand that they accept your terms for a truce.

But the choice to bend your heart … to not be broken … that is yours and yours alone.

In Your Words: What makes your heart pliable when someone hurts you, helping you to bend instead of break? 

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  1. July 23, 2014, 1:33 am   /  Reply

    Wow, this is deep.

    For me, it’s perspective. As long as no one is actively trying to kill me, there’s a bit of baseline happiness.

    I don’t have to kill anyone today, so there’s some more.

    I probably won’t have to bury pieces of friends today – the pieces I can find after the claymore does its thing.

    Those three statements go a long way toward putting emotional wounding in its proper perspective. It’s a lot easier to just let things go, and smile at how GOOD life is.

    Sometimes there’s counterpoint, like right now. For the past several nights I’ve been hurting far too much to sleep. and the challenge of getting from one minute to the next with at least something of a positive outlook doesn’t leave much room for being upset over how I may perceive I’ve been treated by others (not that this is a problem, ’cause mostly I just see dogs!).

    Both mechanisms are a bit dangerous, though, in that they can start one down the road of pride and lack of tolerance. Thinking “I’ve seen (or am seeing) the elephant, and YOU haven’t!” isn’t very nice, nor is it healthy.

    Balance requires an intentional decoupling of comparison, and an explicit respect for the way others respond to hurt – respect without judgement.

    • July 23, 2014, 8:00 am   /  Reply

      “Balance requires an intentional decoupling of comparison, and an explicit respect for the way others respond to hurt – respect without judgement.”

      There’s a lot of wisdom in everything you say here, Andrew. (No surprise there.) In your words, I glimpse life experiences I have no hope of ever comprehending … and even the thought of trying to makes me think I can’t. That is your life story … not mine. And yet, the you I know is a man who cares for wounded, abandoned animals — a compassionate man.

      And I come back to your last statement: I have learned over and over that there’s no comparing myself to another — no weighing my pain against yours. Because that is never the point. Never, ever the point.
      For me, it has become “What is God working out in my life? Where is he scraping off the dross — the part of me that is marring his image?”

      Thank you for joining the conversation today! For always joining the conversation.

  2. July 23, 2014, 7:34 am   /  Reply

    Whoa, thought-provoking. You know, I think one of the things that helps me to bend is a realization I’ve had, especially in the past few years, that offense is often (maybe not always, but often) a choice. I choose whether I let something offend me to the point of anger and bitterness. I choose whether to let it roll off my back.

    But there are other bigger, deeper hurts and situations where simply saying, “Melissa, it’s your choice whether or not to be offended” doesn’t work. Some hurts are HURTS and brushing them off isn’t an option. I think that’s the point when the only thing that helps me bend and forgive is time and small choices each day to rise above my emotions and more than anything, prayer. (Also, people who speak truth into my life!)

    • July 23, 2014, 8:02 am   /  Reply

      I agree with everything you wrote today, Melissa.
      Bending sometimes a long, slow process … and sometimes I think I am going to break in the process of the bending … and sometimes it is God bending me … providing the grace to help me bend. And sometimes I have to ask him to please not make me bend anymore today … because I just can’t. It hurts to much. He’s a patient God.

  3. July 23, 2014, 8:05 am   /  Reply

    I don’t mean this to be a trite answer, but only God enables me to forgive the hurts that I’ve experienced. It took me a long time to get to the place where I could give them to God and forgive the person who wronged me. That doesn’t mean I have to forget they have the potential to do it again, so I avoid them as much as possible and don’t trust them. God doesn’t ask us to forget…He only asks us to forgive. That doesn’t mean I hold on to what they did and revisit it all the time. I just remember what they are capable of doing and don’t give them the power to hurt me again.

    • July 23, 2014, 3:22 pm   /  Reply

      I don’t think your answer is trite, Pat.
      I’ve had my own “I can’t forgive, God” moments — realizing forgiveness is beyond me.
      God’s response is always “Of course you can’t forgive — but I can.

  4. July 23, 2014, 9:25 am   /  Reply

    Wow, Beth. What a powerful post. What helps me to bend instead of break? One thing is remembering how much God has forgiven me of. I certainly didn’t deserve it. I’ve definitely been hurt by people in the past. And it’s taken me time to work through that pain. Some of the hurts from childhood still rise up from time to time. But I know that God has brought a lot of healing to those hurts as well.

    I’m learning to bend rather than be broken by hurts by keeping open relationship with Jesus. I bring the pains to Him. Sometimes with the help of a friend. He is always faithful to help me release those pains to Him. Like Pat, some people are not safe in my life, so I don’t go out of my way to draw close to them, but I try to show kindness the way Jesus does while protecting my heart, if that makes sense.

    I’m still pondering your words. I think I will be through the day. 🙂 Great post my friend.

    • July 23, 2014, 3:24 pm   /  Reply

      It’s true that we have to be wise and choose our relationships carefully — some people are not safe.

  5. July 23, 2014, 11:04 am   /  Reply

    Too often I choose to break rather than bend. I carried anger and bitterness over verbal abuse I experienced as a child. In many ways that event changed the course of my life. One day the Spirit asked me if that person was even aware of my anger. No, I realized – he’d gone on with his life, unaware of the impact his words had on me.

    I realized the only person my anger and bitterness hurt was me! They were like a pair of glasses I wore that colored my perspective to everything around me. Slowly, God put my heart back together with forgiveness rather than anger.

    Now, knowing that my anger is self-destroying, I immediately turn it over to God and ask Him to replace it with forgiveness. It’s a slow process but it protects my heart.

    • July 23, 2014, 3:25 pm   /  Reply

      Excellent point, Sherry: so often the people we are angry with aren’t even aware of how they’ve hurt us or how we’re feeling …

  6. July 23, 2014, 2:10 pm   /  Reply

    I absolutely love this phrase!

    Forgiveness is a daily decision sometimes. For me it is simply waking up and deciding that day I am going to forgive. I suppose it sounds silly, but if I wait for my emotions to be on board I might never forgive the really tough things.

    There is this really cool verse that reminds me that even when someone deserves justice, that my unforgiveness will only destroy me:

    “But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness.” Amos 6:12b

    • July 23, 2014, 3:25 pm   /  Reply

      That is a beautiful verse, Michelle.
      And yes, forgivenes is a choice. A daily choice.

  7. July 23, 2014, 5:11 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, I really enjoy visiting your blog every day. I find a realness here, a raw honesty that is rare in the world today. Thank you!

    Learning to let my heart bend instead of being on the defensive all the time is something I’m working on now, actually. All I know to do is keep seeking God, especially during the times I realize I’m on the defensive.

    Any suggestions to do in addition to prayer and Bible study?


  8. July 24, 2014, 12:18 pm   /  Reply

    So true, Beth. I wish I had lived this earlier, but it’s good to be here now.

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