I was attacked recently by one of the people closest to me…
It was bad. I was ripped this way and that, up and down, and then told by this man that he was done with me. It was a stress induced, guilt-ridden, preemptive attack. He was positive I was going to mercilessly attack him for something he did, so he struck first, mercilessly. I was accused, judged, and sentenced, all without seeing this man in person, although I tried to set up a meeting.
Most of his accusations were baseless. Those that may have held merit were twisted to make me look worse than I should have. But, my guilt or innocence regarding the matters he accused me of is not why I write today. You see, in this situation, my bad behavior really began when I received the email.
I was seeing red; I was so angry.
Would it shock you to hear that I seriously considered finding him and knocking his lights out? I guess it probably would, considering the type of stuff I write on this site. Would it make it any better if I told you that it wouldn’t be the first time one of us punched the other? That’s right. We have had many physical altercations, he and I. He is my brother.
You may think that putting this out there will add to this problem. Considering he says he is done with me I am not sure that is possible. But, right now, most of the people I know, including my brother and his family don’t know about this page. For now, it is anonymous. This may shock you folks–so brace yourself; My name is not really Average Joe. It is an alias.
Don’t worry. I didn’t show up at my brother’s house and ask him to step outside. I didn’t even go tit-for-tat and blast him with an email counter attack. Instead, I responded very kindly, refusing to go down that low road. Now, that may sound very mature to you, very Christian, but it is the heart that matters and my heart was on a looooow road.
I am pretty sure if they knew the situation and saw the email, my family, my friends, even his friends would come in on my side and think that a bit of righteous anger is justified in this situation. I wonder where Jesus would come in, though. Would he say, “Yeah, A.J., go ahead and bust him in the mouth.”? Would he tell me never to talk to him again? Or, would he tell me what he has already told me, that I need to forgive him? How many times? As many times as he has wronged me. How many times has God forgiven me? As many times as I have wronged him.
It probably speaks to the condition of my heart but I find that anger is easy, and forgiveness difficult. For a while after the email, I went back and forth between anger at my brother, and concern for him. That kind of animosity doesn’t come from a healthy heart. My needle is pretty well pegged on concerned right now. I guess that means I am beginning to forgive. As for my sin of anger, that has been forgiven too, for I am covered by grace.
I love my brother. Nothing will change that. He is a good Christian man who is not hearing God’s voice right now, the voice that is telling him how much he is loved. Please pray for him.