Living in Love by the Power of Godby Lydia Powers
They did it again.
You know who I’m talking about – that person that seems to have perfectly tapped into the cycle of hurt-you-and-hurt-you-again. The person whose newsfeed post launches your perfectly-eloquent internal (or, let’s be honest, public) rant. The person whose very presence at any event quickly becomes your personal hamster-wheel mental game that hints of no relief any time soon.
Yes, them. Well, they did it again.
Maybe they didn’t follow through on a promise, spoke slanderous words at your cost, or something else. Whatever happened, it has happened again. And every time it does, you’re faced with the same question:
“What am I going to do about it?”
In the past, my answer would have been simple. My reaction to their poor choice was to withdraw.
By keeping a safe distance, I would eliminate the option of uncomfortable confrontation and its aftermath. Yet the results were often the same— there were none. The problem wasn’t solved.
Unless one has reached the status of witness-protection-program, the people in our lives are unavoidable. Whether at our jobs, at church, or in social situations, our lives are so intricately connected to each other that escape isn’t a real option.
What happens when our “arch nemesis” is in the next cubicle? What happens when they are our own family?
If allowed, the cycle of hurt, distance, and still-unavoidable interaction remains, and the problem persists despite our best attempts to fix-it by avoiding the issue altogether.
The Insanity Cycle
Upon my highly valuable research on Google where I gathered data from only the most reliable sources (memes), I found that Albert Einstein agreed with this concept of cyclic relational dysfunction when he said,
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
And it’s exactly how so many of us have chosen to handle relational challenges in our lives.
One day, I got to the point where I had had enough.
In the middle of relational heartache that I didn’t even begin to know how to fix, I grabbed a copy of Danny Silk’s book, Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication, and Boundaries. In it, my approach to relational dynamics was met with the truth of the gospel and three small, but incredibly potent words that continue to change my life:
I am powerful.
I Am Powerful
For some, the concept of power is one that has almost threatening connotations.
When you hear the word powerful, what comes to mind?
A raging river?
A WWII dictator?
A corporate mogul with a net worth in the billions?
Yet before history deemed that it could interpret the meaning of power, power was met by the kiss of heaven.
With foresight that would confound even the most exacting prophetic voice of our day, Jesus Christ was able to look through the void of time and space into what a future creation would hold. In those moments, I wonder if he heard the voices of accusation that would challenge his identity and deity, if he felt the physical blows that were designed for the backs of murderers, if he touched the faces of those that he knew would never accept Him as their own.
He saw them, and they had done it again.
“A Powerful Person’s Choice to Love Will Stand”
Jesus did not allow his ability to see humanity’s (seemingly poor) choices to control his own. He lived as a powerful person because he had a clear and unshakable “vision and a mission” for his life that was not dependent on what anyone else would do or say. Jesus exemplified that he was in in control of the choices that he made, and could always ensure that every choice continued to direct him toward his mission: to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth and to win back his kids.
At the same time that Jesus knew that sin would enter the world through the people that he loved, Jesus also knew that he would not try to force anyone to be in relationship with him.
However, Jesus was not powerless in what was going on. He did not count himself disarmed due to his (self-relinquished) inability to control mankind’s decisions toward him.
Instead, he demonstrated the ultimate form of power: self-control.
He would not control them, he would control himself.
In that moment, Jesus responded to mankind’s choices by deciding to bring them still one step closer to heaven on earth. His ultimate goal was connection, and he would do whatever it took to get there.
In an act of power, love, and self-control, Jesus chose to die for the sake of the world – a world that was caught in the mire of sin, a world full of choices that did not line up with his preferences or core values.
Still he chose love.
And it is through this act of power and love that we are enabled to live and love as powerful people on this earth.
What are you going to do about it?
In a world steeped with messages on love and connection, we have been fed the lie that disconnection fixes relational problems. Despite its popularity, the track record of so many of our lives has shown that although it may feel momentarily beneficial to avoid people or choices that hurt us, true healing is never obtained.
Friends, we must fight for repentance. We must fight for our mindsets to be changed about love and relationships. On the other side of the cross and the empty tomb, we now stand as fully powerful people who must choose to walk as Jesus walked. We must be people of the gospel’s mission and vision – to bring the Kingdom of heaven to earth and to be agents of reconciliation to one another.
The task is large – to be in charge of ourselves, and we are now without excuse. We have been given the same power that raised Christ from the dead. So I ask you again – What are you going to do about it?