"When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil.. With one hand strike my foes, with your other hand save me.. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don't quit on me now."
Psalm 138:7-8 (The Message)
I was recalling earlier this week about something once said to me. At first it hurt me and made me angry. They said that I had "replaced them". Why is my heart a piece of pie that can be/should be quartered off? Why do people get upset because "someone has a bigger piece"? Why can't it be a balloon that just keeps getting bigger?
Last year I went to a conference by best selling author and speaker, Beth Moore. Stay with me here because her message really hit home for me. She spoke on love and the differences in love and how we view and how we act and react to love. Picture four chairs lined up in a row.
The first chair is JOY- picture people sitting in that chair that you just love- people who are easy to love. People you just can't get enough of- people who are nothing but joy in your life. Joy could be your spouse, your child, that little old lady that hugs you every Sunday morning or that little big brown eyed girl in the Pre-K class. You know who your "joy" is.
The second chair is TESTY. Picture in this chair people who can really test your spirits, your nerves and your faith. Testy could be an aging parent, a neighbor, a co-worker, even an in-law. You know who your "testy" is.
In the third chair sits FOE: This is someone you hate… now when Beth said this, I stopped dead in my tracks because I really, honestly don't feel that I hate anyone. I've disliked a lot of people, but for me "hate" is a very strong word. But I listened… she went on to explain that Foe can be an "x"-husband/wife, a family member who abused you, or even a friend that betrayed you. You know who sits in your Foe chair.
The fourth chair is FAR. Far are people you haven't met yet, strangers. People we are called to love because Christ loves us. Far is our future.
She spoke about all the chairs, but spent the majority of time on the FOE chair- and I'm glad she did because what she had to share, I needed to hear. She said the reason Foe is Foe is because these people who sit in that chair are people we've allowed ourselves to get close to - close enough to hurt us. They might have been people who sat in the Testy chair and have jumped back and forth between Testy and Foe, but most likely, Foe was sitting in the Joy chair to begin with. Foe can only be a foe because at one time in our lives, we've been very close to them, we've loved them, they were our Joy- at one time. And they've hurt us deeply and because of that, they now sit in Foe. Does that mean they're super-glued in the Foe chair? NO-
I thought of several people when she spoke about Foe- one person really stuck out for me. I still pray for him every day. If I hadn't loved him, he wouldn't have been able to hurt me. It's taken years, but he isn't in that Foe chair anymore and though we've been through a lot and still have a future ahead of us that's a chair, I'm trying to free up as much as possible from every person who's sitting in it. There has been so many situations in my life when I've reacted poorly.. And I will continue to ask myself, how many Foe chairs have I sat in for people???