Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quicksand of Pride

Oh how sad it is that so many relationships get and stay stuck. They get mired down in the quicksand that is pride, jealousy, unforgiveness, and misunderstanding.
People move on, but relationships can remain interminably stuck.

I wrote a post several months ago about bullies. A friend of mine was buying gas when an almost unrecognizable man from his past walked up to him and apologized for the way he bullied my friend in junior high school.

My friend was relieved and grateful for the man’s kind words. Almost immediately, the old ugly relationship became unstuck. Two grown men were finally able to heal the brokenness and send the old hurts packing.

I recently saw one of my old bullies. We’re grown women – she’s a grandmother – but the relationship is stuck in a muddy swamp of judgmental condemnation. I’m courteous when I’m around her, but I can still see her cold eyes and her gnarled finger pointing at me from across the table during a conversation many years ago.

You’re weak.

You’re not a good friend.

You’re jealous.

God has graciously allowed my family and me to walk through incredible fires. I didn’t come out unscathed, but I learned many things about myself. I discovered I’m stronger than I could ever have imagined and I’m a generous and steadfast friend.

I learned that when we unfairly accuse others of jealousies and hidden sins, we’re actually revealing more about the state of our own hearts. When we point fingers at others, we shine spotlights on our own darkness.

I recently spent a bit of time with another old friend. It’s been years since I had a real conversation with him and the friendship ended badly when he called me a liar. While he and I are both cordial, the relationship is stuck.

Does he still believe I lied? Does he see me for who I really am? Does he care about what my family has been through—the miracles we’ve seen, or the life lessons we can share with the world?
I never lied to him – not ever.

People grow, change, move, mature, and evolve, but pride keeps relationships stuck.

So, how do we find our way out of the gunk and goop that keeps relationships in a bad place? Well, we don’t “find” our way out of it. We FIGHT our way out. We have to confront, tell the truth, chase away misunderstandings, and break the chains of pride and preconceived judgments so that we can be free.
I’m exhausted from trying to single handily pull relationships out of quicksand. I’m not even sure why it’s important to me, when it’s painfully obvious that it’s not important to those who insist on remaining buried in the past.

That’s not true. I know why it’s important to me. I value what once was, and losing you still hurts.

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