You Hurt Me!

5:19 PM

I live in kind-of-not-really-rural Wisconsin. Think woods, long grass, rivers -- and ticks. Ticks are evil. They hop from the woods to your leg during a relaxing summer walk. You then find them in embarrassing places while taking a shower. Contrary to educated and inexperienced opinions, you don't have to burn, douse or freak out over ticks.

Just keep your nails long enough to pinch them out.

Well, actually, that only works if they're skinny and hungry. After a few days they fill up with your blood and turn green-gray. And that's gross.

Once upon a time, my little brother got a tick stuck in his neck. Stuck. Stuck so bad that tweezers were called into action. He screamed. He cried. He hurt. He told us to stop.

So we did. We let the parasite grow on his neck, embedding deeper and deeper, possibly transmitting a disease.........

Not really. We pulled it out, anyway, kissed away his tears and pacified him with a Band-Aid. It hurt him, and it hurt to see him hurt, but we did it because we cared. It was love.

I've been learning this lesson over and over again, lately. 

I love to give encouragement -- and hugs -- and big sister advice. I love affirming people and telling them they rock.

But people are funny: they aren't perfect. They believe crazy things, sometimes -- crazy things that don't matter and crazy things that do matter. They sin. They persist in sin. They hurt others. Some people need a loving thwack on the head. Others need to be stopped. Now

This makes me insanely comfortable. When someone agrees with me -- or if I'm in open verbal combat -- I don't mind spewing out my true opinions. But when someone asks me my opinion, kindly, nicely, naively, I stumble for neutral ground: "Well, actually, I believe...I think...but you know, sure, go ahead and think whatever, do whatever. I won't judge you."

That's fine if we're discussing favorite sodas or what candidate should win the Republican primary. If we're talking things of God -- if we're talking heaven or hell -- if we're talking sin or righteousness -- what on earth am I thinking saying anything less than the truth? 

"It'll hurt people. I can't do that. I want to be loving." 

This is what I've learned: sometimes, you have to let people hurt. Sometimes, you have to let them feel bad about themselves. Sometimes, you have to leave the chasm of disagreement wide open. Sometimes, you have to rip out the ticks before the infection sets in. 

It's love. And it's the only way you grow. 

It stings to be wrong, corrected, put in my place. It stinks to lose an argument, no matter how nicely the person dominates me. It hurts to admit I believed a lie -- even if I now know the truth. 

Remorse, repentance, guilt, conviction -- these drive us to our knees, to healthy change. They are nasty, uncomfortable feelings. Nobody likes them. But they are not wrong to feel. It is not wrong to let somebody feel them.

In some cases, it's the most loving thing possible. 

My sister came to me once, complaining of a sin she could not conquer and the guilt and pain it brought her. I love my sister to death; it hurt to see her in pain (and honestly, what could my sister ever do that was so bad?): I told her to forget about it. Ignore it. Shrug it off. 

You cannot shrug off conviction. You must change, or it will dig deeper. You must yank out the sin, or it will worsen. You must dispose of the bad doctrine, or it will fester. Conviction and guilt and uncomfortable feelings are the beginnings of repentance and new life, of freedom and victory.

Don't ever steal someone's victory because you don't want them to hurt. Speak truth in love, but for mercy's sake, speak truth.

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6 impressions

  1. We live in a rural area, and I totally get the tick thing. One time my brother had one stuck in his ear, and when we pulled it out with tweezers it came out with a chunk of skin. That is how tight they hold on! Ick!
    And thanks for the bit of sermonizing ;) It's so hard to run the risk of hurting people in order to help them. And I have a really hard time knowing what to say and when to say it. So thanks for the thought-provoking post :)

  2. Oh, this is such truth, I have seen it in my own life, the truth hurts, but it can set you free...
    Thank you...

    Flame Of Jah

  3. A very thought provoking post. I totally agree with you.
    I HATE ticks, so it really sunk home for me :) Thank you!

  4. I love your blog... I hope you will check out mine. . It is called Living Fully by Faith .


  5. I love your thoughts in this post...they are definitely not something that you hear often.


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