About Pain

I just want to share something that I heard:

If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who never cut you.

The woman I loved had been abused in one form or another all of her life. So when I treated her with respect and looked beyond her past to a hopeful future together, I’m guessing she was thinking that, “If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.” As a result of this, I think she was looking for any and every reason she could to protect herself from getting hurt again.

Almost immediately after she told me she wanted to marry me, she began hedging her bet. She was looking for confirmation from God about whether we were doing the right thing or not. And despite all of the confirmations we received, she continued to look for reasons to doubt.

If the thing that had made her leave me had happened to someone without the pain of her past, I doubt it would have even been a blip on their radar. But, since she is highly sensitized to trauma, the slightest tingle sent her running from me as if I was Jack the Ripper.

I genuinely feel sorry for her and pray for her healing.

About Forgiveness – Addendum

When I awoke this morning, I felt free of the burden of anger. I had purged myself of the pain my lost love inflicted upon me and I welcomed the day with renewed hope. Not of the revival of a relationship. No, that proverbial ship has sailed. Rather I am hopeful that what I have learned from my recent experiences will paint a brighter picture than I had ever imagine for my life.

I can’t help but wonder if this is how God felt the day His Son bore humanity’s sin for all time. His wrath had been poured out and all creation stood before Him, forgiven. Though we were not yet repentant, God had freed Himself of the burden of the pain mankind inflicted, and we could now come to Him freely to obtain that forgiveness by confessing our sins and apologizing for what we have done.

Christianity is so often influenced by the world that we don’t see their affect on us until it becomes blatantly obvious. Greasy grace is one of those areas where our senses have become dulled by the world. They want us to be wholly accepting of them without them ever having to acknowledge wrongdoing, but that isn’t how God cast that mold. Yes, He has forgiven us, but we must still come to Him to admit our faults and failures before that forgiveness is manifest in our lives.

We must forgive people of the wrong they have done so that when they come to us and apologize for their offence, we accept their admission as a debt that has also been paid. But that admission must happen. The offence must be addressed. And in instances where the offence isn’t understood by the offender, it is our responsibility to explain it and its consequences. That is also something that God has demonstrated time and again.

You can think of it as an ultimatum if you so choose, but when God warns us of the consequences of sin (and only God gets to define what offends Him, not humanity), He is doing so because He wants us to understand how our choices will affect our lives. That’s true grace. You can be offended by that and say, “God would never do that to me,” but that doesn’t change the fact that He has already shown us how it works – and God doesn’t change.

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;” (NKJV)

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (NKJV)

We experience time in a linear fashion. He is outside of time. He had the ability to see the moment we would approach Him in humility and ask to be forgiven. He went before us and accepted our admission of guilt as a debt that has been paid in full by His Son. But we still have to come to that point on our own to be forgiven of our past sin. Because we live in linear time, we can only obtain forgiveness of what we have already done – past tense. We cannot be granted forgiveness of what we have not yet committed because there is nothing to confess yet. The commission of sin is a prerequisite to the repentance and absolution of it.

Romans 3:23-26 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (NKJV)

The future commission of sin is not yet forgiven in our life experience. Only God has seen that future moment in our lives and gone before us to clear the way for us to be reconciled to Him. That is His ability and it demonstrates His grace. But from our perspective, that place in time doesn’t exist for us yet, therefore we cannot obtain the absolution that is patiently awaiting our contrition.

We all know the most famous verse from the Bible, John 3:16. But, almost in the same breath, Jesus followed that by saying this:

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NKJV)

In order for forgiveness to take hold, offence must be addressed. That is what God did to Jesus on the cross. Multiple verses in the Bible infer that God poured out His wrath upon His only Son in order to secure forgiveness and salvation for all mankind.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (NKJV)

Romans 5:8 & 9 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (NKJV)

To really drive this point home, let’s look at forgiveness in different terms. You are standing in a room with a door. On the other side of the door is the Father. He holds in His hands, a gift. You can’t see the gift, but it is there. You can’t enjoy it, but you could if the door was opened. The door is locked, but there is a key. The room is symbolic of our experience of life inside the confines of time. The door is symbolic of this present moment. God, who is outside of time, stands ready to receive you into His presence. The key that opens that door so you can receive His gift is repentance. The gift you receive immediately upon opening that door is forgiveness.

And that cycle never ends as long as we are alive.

Every offence we commit must be addressed. In order to address them, they must be called out. Whether by willful admission or revelation by confrontation of another. The world calls this judgement – God calls it grace. God clearly defines what offends Him in His word. As the offenders, we don’t get to do that.

In life, when someone offends you, you must call out the offence so that it can be addressed. If the offender answers the call, then the offence can be absolved through contrition. If the offender never acknowledges their offence, then the forgiveness that awaits them is never acquired.

Conversely, if the offender willingly admits guilt, but the person who was offended doesn’t accept it, then the unforgiveness of the offended becomes their own sin.

Matthew 6:14 & 15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (NKJV)

The reason for this is simple. We are commanded to forgive as we have been forgiven. Refusing to do so becomes a sin that we must confess and repent of before we can obtain our own forgiveness. And since one of the sins that we have committed is unforgiveness, we must forgive the one who offended us by accepting their remorse.

I realize that this may seem like I have taken something simple and overly complicated it, but as a recovering technical writer, please understand that I am trying to outline the process like a manufacturer writes their product assembly instructions. Sure, the exploded view may make forgiveness look like a spiritual Rube Goldberg experiment, I know, but some people – like myself – think this way and can better grasp the concepts of our Christian walk through logical exposition.

If you’ve ever known anyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), then you know that what seems simple and obvious to most people usually escapes the mind of an Aspie. More often than not, it’s the complicated things that grab our attention, and God wants us to understand His ways too.

God bless, and thank you for reading.

If you have enjoyed this post, please feel free to like, subscribe, share, or comment. I have removed the restrictions on commenting (except the necessity for approval), so you can do so anonymously if you so choose. And of course, you are also free to not do so. Either way, I thank you for your time.

About Communication

I hope this will be the last post I share that contains personal feelings about my struggles in life. I prefer to look at things from an idealized perspective, much like a road map to where I want to go. But in this instance, I have found it difficult to share any spiritual growth posts without first venting because the following thoughts are at the forefront of my mind. I expect that purging these passions will pacify my pain.

If you’ve read my previous post, About Mental Health, you know that I was recently dumped by yet another friend and love interest. I briefly touched upon the backstory of that relationship and will expound slightly upon it while still trying to protect her privacy and identity.

After not hearing from her – again – for nearly a month, she finally found the time and words to grace me with her digital presence. Apparently, she always had concerns about me, even before she suggested we get married. She doubted I heard from God and that my dreams about her were “dead wrong.” And I allegedly said some things that scared her and her daughter.

Makes perfect sense, right? Cold contact a guy you have all these doubts about and haven’t spoken to in over a year, then suggest marriage after just a few conversations.

*Sniff* *Sniff*

Yeah! Pretty sure you can fertilize your lawn with that steaming pile.

In hindsight, I can see that while I was 100% accepting of her, she was quietly judging me. She never expressed any concern about anything I said or the dreams I shared. By the way, all of those dreams I had came true exactly as they predicted and in the order I interpreted them. That fact seems to escape her, but hey. When you’re being self-righteous, no amount of reason will counter your stance. She probably thinks the same thing about me, but I’ve got the evidence to back up what I’m saying, so her opinion on the matter is really quite irrelevant.

I can’t prove any of what she said, I can only say that I have emails, text messages, Facebook Messenger messages, videos, and voice messages from her as far back as 2014 that refute her claims. She never gave any kind of indication to me that she had doubts about my ability to hear from God, my dreams, or that anything I said ever scared her or her children.

In fairness, I do have a video of her talking about how she waivers on the idea of marriage. In that message, she said she was telling her coworkers that I was her fiancé (because she didn’t want them getting too flirty), she told her kids that I was mommy’s friend (because she didn’t want them to tell her ex about me), but told me that I was definitely a serious boyfriend she was 80% sure of marrying and that she “loved me so much.” All of that instability was in one 64 second video.

I honestly thought she was trying to be funny because what she was saying made no sense to me at all. Remember, I didn’t suspect I had Asperger’s until after she left me. I told her she was hilarious and cute and adorable because I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t think she was serious until the night before she left me.

In the days prior, she had told me her ring size and I even sent her a link to a custom ring that I had in mind. She told me she wanted me to propose in person (when the time came to do so) and that asking over chat doesn’t count (She lives 1800 miles away from me).

What the heck was I supposed to think; that this wasn’t going anywhere? If I had acted as if it was never going to happen and that she was just yanking my chain, then I’d put money on her having been on my doorstep within a month. She had talked a few times about using her air miles to come visit me, so it’s a safe bet she might have.

I didn’t see any reason to doubt her love or our future together. I’m still astounded that things turned out the way they did, which is part of the reason why I need to vent about it. It helps me rationalize and process what has happened.

If any other guy in the world had a “serious” girlfriend who was talking about marriage, rings, and being 80% sure, they’d take those odds any day of the week. But I was supposed to treat her as if the future was always in doubt? Give me a break!

All my life I have heard women complain about guys who wouldn’t express what they felt or that they were afraid of commitment. Well, I was determined to never be like that with anyone. So, I have always said exactly what I meant and what I felt. I never held anything back because I thought I could trust her. She had the freedom to tell me anything, no matter how offensive – and trust me, there was a lot that should have offended me, but I didn’t care. I thought we could work through those things as they came up. I loved her and I thought she loved me.

I let her know in no uncertain terms that I was 100% sure and ready to commit. And, since she never shared her “real concerns” with me, I could only assume that they were the same as every other woman’s and tried to quell those doubts by reassuring her of my resolve every chance I got. I found out only yesterday, however, that she thought I was being too pushy. She may have felt like she was being pushed, but I was just trying to affirm everything I had said by being consistent which I had hoped would balance her instability on the issue.

Here’s the point of my post, if you claim to love someone and you aren’t communicating as openly and honestly with them as you want them to with you, then that is hypocrisy. And yes, I am being judgmental – meaning I weighed the facts in evidence and determined between right and wrong. I am not judging from the standpoint of condemnation, which is what we are commanded not to do.

I am not condemning her for anything she’s done, but she threw me away like trash instead of trying to work things out, and THAT was judgment of condemnation.

She talked openly to others about her concerns more freely than she talked to the one person on the planet who could actually have done something about them: me. She shared facts about her life with me, but not a peep of concern about me except my weight, health, and finances. For a single mother of two, these were genuine concerns. I understood that, so I shared everything with her and updated her whenever I saw my doctors.

She communicated her expectations, and I was more than happy to work on meeting them. That’s how a healthy relationship is supposed to work, right?

I see now that as long as I made her feel happy and accepted, I was her best friend. And, honestly, making her happy made me happy. That being said, I’m not sure it was enough to qualify as being friends. If she truly had these concerns, why would she not speak up? Why would she leave me to wallow in error if I was wrong about something? That’s not how I define being a friend. So, with that, I honestly can’t say she ever was.

I wish she would have been as forthcoming with me as I was with her. All I see now is seven years of lies and manipulation. I should have known what kind of person she would reveal herself to be when she kept referring to me as her best friend while married to her ex-husband. He should have been that for her. But instead of talking to him about her concerns, she shared them with me.

How did I not see that coming? The seeds we sow will always produce a harvest. Guaranteed.

Lord, forgive me for any part I may have unintentionally played in ending a marriage. And forgive me for being foolish enough to believe that I would be treated any differently than he was. She expected us to be angels but dismissed us as devils when we were revealed to be less than immaculate. Oh, the burden that perfection must be for her. Woe betides the next fool who wanders into her web.

What kind of person walks back into someone’s life after ignoring them for over a year, starts a fire, and runs away when it gets too hot for them to handle, then has the nerve to blame the person whose life they just set ablaze for the inferno that followed? Are you freaking kidding me? The arrogance and self-righteousness are off the charts! I wish she would have just left me alone and not messaged me.

In closing, I fully acknowledge that this has been an unholy rant. This was just me being human and saying all the things I was denied the opportunity to say when they could have mattered the most, and it is my deepest desire that it be the last such post I ever share. Only time will tell.

If I could redeem this post even a little bit, allow me to do so by saying this:

Simon and Garfunkel were right: “Fools,” said I, “You do not know. Silence like a cancer grows.”

Choosing to remain mute about the things that really matter in a relationship will eat away at it like cancer. And it is the silent one who bears all the burden of its demise. Facts are just facts. They are done and over with and cannot be changed. But fear, concern, worry, doubt; these are all just suppositions of the unknown and can easily be abated by talking to the only person who can do anything about them.

Failure to speak up for fear that it might ruin the relationship is a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are opposite sides of the same coin. Whomever the offending person is that you love, they deserve a chance to explain, correct, understand, and grow from the revelation of your feelings. If they choose not to do so, then you have done your part and are free to go your merry way.

Was I perfect? Obviously not. I know I have a lot to learn, especially about people and relationships, but I have sought help in learning how to deal with my newly assumed autism (Asperger’s). I communicated my thoughts, fears, concerns, desires, and opinions as clearly as I possibly could (sometimes rather verbosely – like turning on a firehose) and I can say in good conscience that I tried to be the kind of person I thought I should be for her. I treated her the way I wanted to be treated. I followed the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

As always, I hope that sharing my pain will help someone else. If so, it was worth it.

Now, having completed its closure by exorcising my enmity, I bid another failed friendship farewell. Thank you for the learning experience and I wish you well. Goodbye.