The Pendulum – The danger of how we naturally tend to handle frustration and hurt

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I’ve never blogged before, so I’m going to give it a try! These are just some thoughts I had as I was reading in Proverbs this morning. Hope it encourages you!

 

It is human nature it seems to swing on a pendulum when it comes to certain issues. I was reading in Proverbs chapter ten today and I came across this verse which describes one of these pendulum swings we (or at least I) often tend towards.

“The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18)

The reality of life as broken people living together is that we don’t always act as we should! We sin against those around us and they sin against us. Because of this, communication is so important in preserving unity and peace in our relationships. As we live out this reality though, it can be easy to internalize our frustrations and not communicate them because of the conflict it will cause. As we’re doing this it’s easy to justify it as “letting your opinion go to keep the peace” or “it’s not worth the conflict it’ll cause” but the reality is that we’re allowing that frustration to build and grow and it will eventually lead to bitterness and even hatred because the frustration or hurt continues to be concealed and not worked out. As a result, like Solomon writes, we become liars because we’re concealing that frustration or bitterness or hatred that is in our hearts.

On the flipside however is the opposite swing in the pendulum which we can live out (maybe even as an overreaction to this first problem). This extreme is that of “loose lips”. As we live in this reality of brokenness we don’t internalize our frustrations and hurts, but rather we spill it out to anyone and everyone around us (often except to the one who needs to hear it so it can be resolved)! This is gossip and it’s been my experience that this kind of “venting” usually builds and builds, to the point where it isn’t even an honest explanation of what happened to cause the hurt or frustration but becomes exaggerated and moves to other things about the person and we slander them to others.

One swing, the proverb tells us, makes us a liar while the other makes us a fool, take your pick! Either way this isn’t where I want to be and neither is the biblical way to handle these frustrations or hurts when we encounter them.

As I thought about this verse, another text came to mind and I believe it holds the answer to both these extremes.

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (Ephesians 4:15)

When we are hurt or frustrated by the actions or words of someone around us that hurt or frustration is real; it is a “truth”. Now, just to be honest, while the frustration or hurt we feel is often legitimate and comes from something said or done by a person that was wrong, sometimes it comes from a misunderstanding on our part or even stems from something in us that needs to be corrected and repented of. Either way though, that frustration or hurt is real and needs to be communicated, dealt with and resolved by whoever is in the wrong repenting and being forgiven by the other. This is how reconciliation happens and unity is preserved! The only way this happens though is by speaking that truth (communicating that frustration or hurt), not in a mean or contentious way, but in love and with gentleness with the hope of reconciliation and unity!

Again, in this life there will be some frustration and hurt caused by those we live with and there are times when we all have to work to preserve unity and peace in our relationships. The way to do this is not to internalize and allow those frustrations to grow into bitterness or even hate, but also not to speak out every frustration or hurt we feel to everyone! Instead, we need to learn to keep short accounts and communicate our frustrations and hurts to each other, in love, even though it will create some tense and difficult conversations. In the end, that will draw us together, safeguard us from bitterness and strife, and move us along the path of sanctification!

Speak the truth in love!

 

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