When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?
When I read this topic, I had to respond, because I’ve been dealing with guilt for several months now, because I didn’t respond as I wish I would have, and I am so deeply ashamed and disappointed in myself, that sometimes I just can’t stop crying. Even now, I tremble, because if I write about this, family members that I love could read it and be very offended by it. Regardless, many of them think the worst of me anyway, so I’m not sure why that worries me. Perhaps, there is still a part of me that hopes beyond reason that all of the old wounds will one day be forgiven, and there will be restoration between my family and me. Then again, how can there be restoration, unless everyone is willing to face our past openly and honestly?
I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
‘Jerusalem for whom no one cares.’”
Anyway, back to the questions… When faced with confrontation, do you head for the hills or walk straight in? Was there ever a time you wished you’d had the opposite reaction?
I’m a big talker. I have a lot of mouth, and I’m very comfortable talking to both large and small groups of people. You see, I’m a preacher, and the Lord has blessed me with a big mouth, or as one of my kinder friends once said, “Cheryl, you’re orally gifted.” Now, I have no problem preaching or confronting sin or any other issue from the pulpit. I have no problem stating my case from the pulpit. In fact, crowds of people are much easier for me to talk openly to than one or two people.
You see, the fact is that at 52 years old, I still fear rejection. I don’t fear rejection from a large crowd, because that just doesn’t feel as personal, and I can reason that the crowd was simply rejecting God, not me. However, when faced with the task of confronting someone I love, I neither fight nor run. Instead, this orally gifted woman becomes speechless. I don’t know what to say nor how to say it. I want to speak the truth to the person in love, but it’s as though my tongue was tied, and nothing will come out, no matter how hard I try. You see, I know the difference between right and wrong, and I have very strong beliefs and opinions, but when it’s time to confront someone I love, that old lifelong fear of rejection rears its ugly head up and leaves me speechless.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
It’s crazy, because there have been instances when I was at work, where I was faced with some sort of underhandedness, and I confronted it with some trepidation, but not enough to silence me. How was it, that I was able to boldly confront my boss, who had the power to fire me, and yet, when it comes to my family, whom I dearly love and want what is best for, I become a mealy-mouthed cupcake?
When my mother was in the hospital, during the last few weeks of her life, my heart was broken. Her illness and passing was and still remains unbelievably difficult for me to deal with. The truth is that this already difficult situation was made even more difficult than it should have been, due to bitterness and past resentment. Hateful, hurtful things were said, and rather than dealing with those things head on, as I should have, I chose to avoid the situation as much as possible, and when hateful words were spoken, I clammed up and became silent, instead of confronting the issue.
I struggle with guilt because I refused to speak up in my mother’s defense or my defense. I had no say in anything, regarding Mom’s healthcare, and I hold myself fully responsible, because I should have spoken up, regardless of the fact that it might make other family members angry with me. The truth is, they were already angry with me, and they still are. I couldn’t even minister to Mom, because I was told to stop, and rather than cause waves, I did as I was told.
My heart is broken, and I have nightmares about how my mother must have felt, as she was dying. Peace has been hard to find these last few months, and I’ve only been able to share this with my husband and my children. My confidence has been shaken to the core, and I am filled with regret, but the fact is that it’s too late to change what happened. I could go ahead and delete this post, and no one will be any wiser about my cowardice, but I’m tired of living a lie, and I cling to this…
But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
I also believe that the time for living a lie is long past. I am a woman with many weaknesses, but I’m loved by a God whose strength is made perfect in my weakness. And it is He who wouldn’t let me rest tonight, until I dealt with the truth about myself, because as long as I continue hiding behind a facade of what I think I should be, I’ll never be free… And He is speaking to me now, saying, “Cheryl, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
I should have spoken up months ago, and dealt with things immediately, rather than letting them deteriorate to this point. However, I am grateful that the Lord still loves me enough to reveal the truth to me and set me free. I am grateful that He knew my weakness, even though I tried to do as Pontius Pilate did and “wash my hands of it,” and He forced me to see that indeed, I’m no better than Pontius Pilate, who crucified Jesus. The only difference between Pilate and me is that I acknowledge my sin, and I’ve confessed it to God and asked Him to forgive me in Jesus’ name.
My friends, there are some things that are not worth fighting over, and in those cases, leave it alone… But there are other things that must not be overlooked and ignored, such as evil and injustice, hatred and bitterness, envy and strife. Those things must be acknowledged if there is to be any hope of restoration. I won’t lie to you. I’m still weak, and broken, but I’m on the road to recovery, and Lord, hear my cry. I will obey You this time.
Cheryl A. Showers