Someone hurts you. What do you do? Someone cheats you. What do you do? Someone slanders you. What do you do?
Rolling over and playing dead is not the answer.
Standing up for yourself, and standing against abuse, whether physical, verbal, financial or emotional, is not a selfish act. Refusing to sit down, shut up, and go with the flow is not prideful. It is LOVE. Courage is love. Loving yourself spreads love.
When other people try to hurt us, in whatever fashion they choose, they are feeding an evil within themselves. Every strike hurts them more than it hurts us. When other people try to bully us into conforming, they are restricting themselves even more. The only way that abusive or hurtful people will ever be free is if someone says, “No more.”
Now, before you go quoting Jesus at me, let me explain. I am not advocating a “He hurt me and now he’s gonna suffer” mindset. “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord, I will repay.” I am not going to stand between an All-Powerful God and His right to seek vengeance on my behalf. I’m not stupid. You shouldn’t either. Revenge is a murderous mistress. You don’t want to sleep in her bed. She will make you the evil you hope to combat.
But I see, over and over, Godly people allowing themselves to be wounded and cheated, because they are trying to “turn the other cheek.” Meanwhile, their abusers sink further and further into depravity. And other people suffer at their hands, as well. Because God’s people refuse to stand against evil, evil triumphs all too often.
If you’re allowing yourself to be a punching bag, stop it! Do you really think that your abuser is benefitting from your inaction? Is he or she becoming a happier, more whole person through hurting you? Is he or she learning to love and laugh and achieve true joy by bullying and slandering you? I think not.
For my part, I will no longer perpetuate evil by refusing to stand up for myself. No way. I will warn abusers (Oftentimes, they don’t even realize what they’re doing.), and then I will close the door, if I must, on hurtful people. If losing me is pain enough to drive them to repentance, then praise God. If a business cheats me, I will give them the opportunity to make it right, then I’ll warn people far and wide to avoid them if they don’t. If I am attacked by a man, he’ll never hurt another woman again, guaranteed.
The thought of allowing one more person caught in abusive behavioral patterns to continue in their depravity, without my doing whatever I can to put an end to their insanity, is abhorrent to me. I’m looking forward, to the next woman they meet, and I’m asking myself, “What’s my responsibility to HER?” It is great, indeed.
I’m in one of “those” situations. You know, the ones where, no matter what you do, someone is going to get hurt. And I’ll be at least partly responsible for their pain. I can’t stop this, because I didn’t start it.
I didn’t create the situation, but I am certainly not guiltless in it. The web of guilt is so tangled, at this point, that there’s no way to trace who is guilty of what. Countless people are caught in it, and one person is the spider. Problem is, the spider is caught, too.
So, we’re all paralyzed, strings of deception, misunderstanding, gossip, judgment, and pain holding us all together in a giant mess. Let’s not forget the strings of love, and friendship that are mixed in, as well.
And to get free of the bad, we are slicing apart the good. And it hurts. Hearts are bleeding. Relationships are crumbling. Loyalties are dividing, and joining together in new ways. It’s like an emotional massacre, and everyone’s a victim. Even the standers by. Especially them, because they’re guilty, too. When you listen to gossip, you are a party to it.
Dear friends! Please! Don’t speculate about others. ASK! Don’t betray confidences! Be discreet. Please, assume the BEST of everyone you know. Don’t gossip, and be immediately brutal about shutting up those who do. How I WISH I HAD TAKEN MY OWN ADVICE.
Because I was polite for too many years. And I took part in gossip, thinking it harmless in most cases. I only spoke up when I saw something so clearly ugly that I couldn’t shut myself up. I have gossiped, myself.
And, inevitably, I was a victim, as well.
And so here we all are, in a mess of broken ties, and blood. It’s ugly.
I want to turn away, and forget what I’ve seen. But it’s indelibly imprinted behind my eyes. I cannot.
But there is one thing I CAN do. Something that, perhaps, will bring some piece of beauty to the horror.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, experienced enough, kind enough, loving enough, or healthy enough. I’m sorry that I wasn’t what you wanted, or expected. I’m sorry that I failed so completely in so many ways. I’m sorry that I’m not modest enough, or quiet enough. But I’m here to stay.
And I am stronger every day.
And I am better every day.
And I am more experienced every day.
And I am kinder every day.
And I love more every day.
And I am healthier every day.
And I don’t care if I wasn’t what you wanted or expected. Because I am JUST what God wants. I’m JUST what He expects.
And I will continue to fail. But in doing so, I will succeed. Because I’m a fighter. I don’t give up.
And I’ll keep flaunting, dancing, singing, writing, and encouraging other women to be themselves, as well.
I sincerely wish that everyone could celebrate this with me. But in order to be free from the web, all of the ties must be cut, for now.
Please forgive me for my part in this incredible mess. I will never be the same. I pray that I will be better.