To Restore is to Love
I fully believe in restoration.
There is something truly transforming, beautiful, and powerful in a story that includes not just heartache and loss, but hope and restoration.
Even if the characters look a little different than once before, even if we don’t fully connect the dots on the why or the how, and even when it really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to those on the outside.
Restoration is beautiful.
Restoration is biblical.
Restoration should be the ultimate goal.
However, understand that when you work towards restoration, because in our humanness and brokenness, we may not fully grasp why someone did the things they did or fully embrace where they are coming from.
You do not have to justify bad behavior in order to restore a relationship.
I had a conversation recently that really told me a lot about what this person wanted from me: they wanted me to wear the label that they believed described me in their eyes. They wanted me to understand where they were coming from and why they did what they did to me, so that I would understand and see why I perhaps deserved the treatment I received.
Not one time during that conversation did this person say they wanted to restore the brokenness because they loved me and truly cared about me and wanted to work to fix it all.
This person cared more about being heard and understood, than empathizing and seeing the hurt they caused.
Friends, I won’t own this person’s poor choices. I can forgive them, and I am working to forgive, I am not there yet….but I won’t wear the label they want me to wear so that they feel better about the decisions they made. Because those actions hurt me to my core and it will take a long time for my heart to not hurt because of those actions.
You can own your own mistakes. Please own them. You can see and work through your own toxic and childish behaviors. We are human and all of us have the tendency to behave horribly when we are hurt, betrayed, angry, emotional, hungry…..all the feelings.
I know for myself, I have a tendency to use my tongue as a weapon when I feel like I am being lied to, controlled, or manipulated. In order to protect myself from betrayal, I will build walls with words.
You have your own shortcomings as well when you feel the feelings. The saying is true that hurt people, hurt people. And that is what counseling is for. When people suddenly stop communicating and treating each other lovingly, then a third party is necessary to help blind eyes and broken hearts.
But with all that to say, you don’t have to take ownership of their bad behavior.
You can recognize your own part in the breakdown of a relationship or the breakdown of communication, you do not have to own their sin. You may have caused some hurt, maybe you said disrespectful things to one another, but lying, cheating, betrayal, abandonment, abuse…... you don’t have to own that. You did not deserve that, no matter how they try to spin it.
They have to own those on their own.
So, what about restoration?
I think about how God is in the restoration business.
I think about all the stories of restoration even with the poor choices made by God’s children:
Saul, before he became Paul.
We don’t understand restoration and grace fully because it is illogical. Think about it. We place so many conditions on what we will be willing to forgive and work through in terms of our relationships with other people.
It is why the story of the young man who forgave his brother’s murderer during her sentencing drew so much attention from the rest of the world.
He didn’t ask her to understand anything or to understand his grief or where everyone was coming from. He simply stated that he is grieving a great loss, and that he forgives her, because that is what his brother would have done. His brother would have shown her love and shown her Jesus.
How many of you watched that powerful moment and said to yourself “I could never do that.”
Will there be times where restoration isn’t possible? Of course. We are human and imperfect and selfish.
Will there be times that you will have to walk away because it is in the best interest of your well being and health? Yes.
Will it break your heart to do so?
Yes. Yes it will.
If after walking away for a time, restoring what once was deemed irreparable could be made whole again, I hope you choose to do so. But, I won’t judge you if you can’t. I understand.
Even if all the why’s don’t make sense and you can’t fully grasp why someone would hurt you so deeply, there is grace and mercy and forgiveness, and thank you Jesus, there is a lot of therapy. The good Lord knew we would need it!
To restore brokenness is to love God’s people.
If you need some good therapy and theology, I highly recommend the series called “Therapy and Theology” hosted by the Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa Terkeurst (who went through her own unimaginable heartbreak until God restored what was once broken). It is so good and the biblical truths you will glean from this series will be good for your soul and your relationship with God, while getting a solid therapy session.