I’ve tried to get rid of the odor with essential oils. I’ve tried to cover it with a nice chintz cover. I’ve tried spraying it with 409. I’ve tried to pretend that the brown ooze seeping over the edges isn’t really there.
It’s not working.
I’ve been betrayed by someone I love. The pain is often unbearable. I try to put on a good face, to be spiritual, and move on with life—go to work, take care of my kids, clean up my house. But I’m learning that the heart doesn’t work that way.
Yes, I’m facing my own demons, seeing my own sin e-v-e-r-y s-i-n-g-l-e d-a-y.
But the anger and rage are like a gangrenous wound in my chest. I feel guilty about them. I feel like I should be able to forgive right now–bite the bullet and cauterize the gaping hole with a red hot iron. Then heap burning coals on my enemy’s head by showing love in return (that is what the Bible says). I’ve tried it.
It’s not working. I’m missing a step somewhere.
Beat it Out
A friend suggested I use a baseball bat. Not on myself or on the person who betrayed me (although that thought can be quite tantalizing), but on a pillow or other pliant object. Just whack it until the feathers litter the air. I suppose this would be less messy and it would keep me out of jail. She also encouraged me to journal and use every explicative I could think of to help vent my rage.
I gotta get up the nerve for this. These are not the actions of a good Christian woman.
But my heart is already a cesspool. Somebody did their business in it and I’ve been left to clean up the mess.
We used to have a small pond in our front yard with beautiful gold fish swimming lazily in it. We spent time and money on the sturdy stone foundation and the fountain that showered its multicolored rainbow of water in the afternoon sun. We used to sit by it in the evening and feel the tension of the day ebb away with the sound of its gurgling laughter. I loved that pond.
Until the pump broke, the fountain filter clogged, and the water turned a rancid green sending my expensive goldfish to the surface belly-up. The clean-up was a nasty, dirty job, and I’m sure I said a few un-Christian words under my breath.
I skimmed the fish-littered surface and deposited my dead pets in a mass grave in the backyard. Then, knee-deep in filth, I bailed out every drop of green water—by hand. Armed with rubber gloves and Soft Scrub™, I scoured the walls—by hand. After replacing the pump and—you guessed it—hand cleaning the filter, my pond was ready for refilling.
But when the water is so clean you want to drink it, when the surface is so clear it reflects your face like a mirror, and when its coolness is so tempting you want to bathe in it, you don’t call it a pond, you call it a pool.
Now I don’t have dead goldfish floating on the surface of my heart, but the rest of the mess is there. And it’s mine. In my yard. So it’s time to go to work, I guess. Bail, scour, refill.
If I have to bail four-letter words out of my heart and onto the page until I’m empty, I will. If I have to use a baseball bat on some memory foam instead of scrub brush, I will. Whatever it takes.
I want to be clean.
What areas of your heart need a good cleaning out?
I appreciate how you pour your heart out so eleoquently on a page! I have the need to ‘clean’ my own heart as I deal with my health challenges that I allow negative thoughts to seep in & rob me of joy. Thanks for being real & pushing through as you are an encouragement to many.
I think it will be a lifetime event…like cleaning the bathroom. If you forget it for too long, the crud “magically” appears.
I certainly can relate. I was betrayed and sinned against and abused by two of my closest friends, both family and yes, both disciples. I confronted them, followed Mat. 18, etc. But the advice was “yes, they are wrong, but no one can make them repent. They have to come to it on their own”. Realizing they had addiction issues helped me to understand and have some compassion. But it did not heal the wound. Somewhere inside I decided that if they wont repent, I wont forgive them…I told myself this was OK because I needed to protect myself from their constant abuse. The result: I became incredibly bitter and negative and it affected all areas of my life – and led to a lot of sin on my part. My heart became a cesspool (or it was already, and this circumstance just revealed it). That was not an answer. All the journaling, expletives, confession sessions, prayers, etc. did not help. What I needed was a closer walk with Jesus. I found that thru a course called “The Cross Centered Mind” on a website called setting captives free.com. The course took some time, and I gave my heart to it. I’m glad I did. I have never seen Jesus before or understood forgiveness, mentally and emotionally the way I do now. Because I learned how to surrender my needs for protection, recompense and justification to him, I was able to truly forgive these individuals. Now, 6 months later, I have a daily relationship with both of these individuals and cant remember what I had against them. I can remember what they did, but it doesnt bother me the way it used to. And, ironically, they have both begun to develop penitent hearts, and to change – without any help from me. It is just God at work. I don’t know if this helps any, or if you were just sharing. But it inspired me to share.
Thanks, Tony. And thank you for your vulnerability. There’s so much power in it. I looked up that website. It is very similar to a program I attend locally called “Celebrate Recovery”. I am so grateful for it, too. It is where I discovered that I even had an “addiction” and saw how it wreaked damage in some of my closest relationships, but most especially my relationship with God. It sounds trite, but it’s so true–I take one day at a time. And God is merciful.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Matthew – the Bible
Yes, every time.