Courage is Believing

Cutting ties. Calling out behaviors. Searching for truth. Praying against collateral damage.

I've been struggling with feeling incredibly selfishness for speaking out about many things recently. I have sought wise counsel and tried to approach things in an upright and factual way, as to not cloud my story with exaggerations or other perspectives. As you know, telling a story can leave us quite vulnerable. And stories have more than one character. In telling my story, I have to consistently find a balance between telling my story (not speaking for anyone else) while seeking truth in the most respectful and credible way that I can.

I've been anxious, and weepy, and searching for approval because deep down, I feel as though posting potentially harmful things is selfish, and cruel, and unnecessary. These terms aren't unfamiliar to me. I have had to constantly remind myself that honesty is not wrong. My truth is not malicious. And facts have a great power to heal (everyone involved). Speaking out and giving things fair labels is appropriate. Abuse is abuse. And, if I don't fill in the blanks, other people will, like they always have. Assumptions are powerful.

----

Words like, "reconciliation is God's deepest will for families" and "burning bridges is a bad idea" are actually terribly confusing things to hear as a victim. They can knock us back into a place of deep unrest and make us feel falsely guilty for seeking change. While these concepts mostly come from the mouths of wonderfully kind and god-seeking people, it doesn't always make these words ultimate truth or particularly helpful.

The thing about a victims is ... we have probably tried (for years) to make peace in every other way imaginable. We have probably tried tirelessly to fix things, to keep bridges from burning, and to protect the people we love, even when those people unrepentant-ly hurt us. 

While concepts like reconciliation, honoring covenants (commitments and promises), staying loyal to family, and being respectful to ones parents are completely biblical and completely true, situations and scenarios can also change the way in which we approach these concepts.

----


As Christians, our first response in all relationships should be to mend. We desire truth. We seek peace, we seek healing, we forgive, and we pray for those that "persecute us".  We are called to be the stronger, more gracious, more loyal people in our communities. When we are "slapped" [attacked], we offer the other cheek instead of returning the blow. That is what God desires for us and requires from us. That is courage. That is love. That is grace. 

However, sometimes our situations don't fit into a neat little box (often times they don't). And we are left trying to figure out where to draw our lines and create our boundaries for the sake of our own spiritual life and for our own righteousness.  Speaking solely from my perspective and from my experience (not speaking from God's mouth, or as a scholar, or teacher) ... I believe that there is a season for healing (like there are seasons for all other things). I believe that sometimes, the most righteous and loving thing we can do is tell the truth.

Sometimes covering sins (our own and the sins of others) with grace can actually be detrimental to growth. This is true across the board. Abuse happens behind the scenes. Sin hides in darkness. It hides in assumptions. It hides in half-truths. It hides in exaggeration and distortion.  It hides in places where the light is not allowed in. Sin can hide for generations upon generations without ever being brought to light and dealt with appropriately. Typically the (now) abusers were once the abused and their abusers were likely abused a generation before that.


Without truth, without transparency, without righteous anger, self-confrontation, and perhaps even public confrontation, these offenses will remain hidden and continue to poison beneath the facades of "family", "loyalty", "appropriateness", and "good Christian behavior". 

Courage is believing.  Courage is telling the truth. 

Willingness to speak the truth is brave.  Believing that that truth can heal (despite fallout and repercussions) is perhaps the bravest of all.