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Friday, June 26, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

You’ve been beaten up and left for dead. Who did it? The very churchly dancers you had thought you could trust.

They hugged you. They prayed over you. They sent you memos and left messages on your phone machine. They sent you Christmas greetings with nice sayings scribed all over them.

Then they flashed the name “Brutus.” His knife went squarely to your heart. Your blood spilt into the alley as they sauntered away, never looking back, chuckling under their breath that the premeditated deed was done—finally.

When you entered seminary, you never dreamt that such treachery was “out there.” You thought that those in authority over you were to be believed and admired, leaned upon for opening your heart in counseling and camaraderie. And so you told them everything in trust.

You never thought that those wearing ecclesiastical titles of holiness and service actually could be in league with the devil—plotting, lying, waiting for your innocent moment to wipe you out.

Nor did your spouse. If anyone trusted the stalkers it was your spouse. She believed in them all the way, looking into their faces with such childlike admiration.

So did your children. After all, they were taught manners.

But now you all are much smarter than you once were. And bloodier.

So then how do you “get over it”?

You allow yourself to be human with all the emotions stirring about within you—anger, hatred, madness, anguish, disappointment, feelings of revenge, wanting to settle the score, nightmares of getting even.

You are not in your perfect heavenly body yet. You are still very much damaged due to our first parents’ disobedience. A part of all that is having a host of emotions on the dark side. Realize that and so deal with that—in time and patiently.

Go easy on yourself. Bring your tattered self to the good Lord who has been treated unbelievably shabbily over and over and over and over again. If there is anyone who surely can empathize with your state, it is He. After all, till the close of this earth’s stay, God always will be weeping over those who promised to follow, yet reneged. It is His sorry lot.

Dump your weary self at His feet. Cry. Wail. Stomp your feet. Rant and rave. Let go. Only when you do all that can you eventually “get over it.”

I know. I have been there. The memories are horrible. They sting to the depths. Yet I can witness that time is the gift of grace that heals wisely. God has seen to it that the clock keeps ticking and with each tick is the new tissue.

In time, God will put all that madness behind you so that you actually will talk about the horror without raging. Yet that only occurs after time—and with each of us the timing is different, naturally.

Nevertheless, be assured that God will take care of you “getting over it.” He will see to it in His own masterful way.

And when you do “get over it,” you will discover a new ministry. It will be that of caring for others in like suffering, genuinely comforting them along the way, saying to them “I know exactly what you are going through for I have traveled that very same journey.”

In that will be a new joy you had not come upon before. Truly.