Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dealing with Users and Abusers

Unfortunately in the Christian world there are those who would take advantage of those who have a servant's heart. I know, it has happened to me several times. I'm one of those people who doesn't hold back anything. If there is a need, I'll try to fill it. Over and over I kept getting hurt by people who took advantage of my giving spirit. Here's how my eyes were opened and a lesson was learned.

There is someone in my homeschooling community whom I will call "Candy". Candy has more than 5 children. She is dealing with a mental illness and is on medication. Her home is in disarray. She jumps from church to church and has few friends. She was at my house often for coffee. She called me several times a day. Our kids were friends and played together. We spent a lot of time together. I thought we were friends but I knew she depended heavily on me. My husband told me she was using me.

There is a lot to Candy's story, but suffice to say we had a disagreement about a spiritual matter. I knew her thinking on the matter and never discussed it with her because I knew it would cause conflict. One day she asked me about it on the phone. I told her I didn't want to discuss it because it would cause conflict. She pressed me on it. I told her what the Bible says and she started arguing the point. I felt pushed into a corner and got defensive and then realized I better get off the phone. I told her I had to feed my kids lunch, we ended the call and I didn't hear from her. I e-mailed her a few times apologizing for my shortness with her but made clear I wasn't apologizing for my beliefs. There was no response. I sent her an e-card for her birthday with no response. I decided I better back off and give her room. The summer passed and she never contacted me. In fact, she was out of town for most of the summer.

She finally contacted me through e-mail when she was back at the end of the summer with one sentence asking if we could talk. Of course I said we could. She apologized and I forgave her. However, she began giving excuses for not calling me for the whole summer. She was busy sewing an outfit for her brother's wedding and her son graduated from high school. I was flabbergasted.

Soon she started calling me crying and saying she couldn't go on and she felt she was going to die and could she come over and talk. I knew this was serious, but I was in no position to counsel a suicidal woman. I was also working on forgiving her. I immediately called her husband and told him what she said. He then said "Well, we didn't know if it was too soon for Candy to call you with this." So obviously she had called her husband and told him what she was feeling and he pawned her off on me. I was again flabbergasted. She didn't call me all summer and now because she was back home and didn't have anyone else to deal with her, she called me. I felt so used. I told her husband that he needed to deal with this. I haven't heard from them since.

Was I right to handle this situation this way? I believe I was. Recently many "users" in my life have been culled out. I believe God is growing me up. He is giving me wisdom and discernment about these people. They are users. They are spiritually retarded and have no desire to grow. They latch like a leech onto a host and suck away. They suck away all your energy and steal time away from your family. God also revealed to me that I was trying to meet people's needs myself instead of listening to when God wanted me to do so. We want people to know God is their source, not us.

The Bible says in Luke 6:28 "...pray for them which despitefully use you." It doesn't say "put yourself in a position to let them continue to despitefully use you." It says PRAY! Thank God we don't have to fight these battles by ourselves. We have a loving God who understands our feelings and will fight for us. Lord Jesus, grab hold of Candy and reveal your love to her. Heal her and open her eyes to the truth of your Word.

2 comments:

Lindylou said...

Thank you so much for this post. This happens all the time in church-community. More often then not, there is very long periods of time before forgiveness is even offered. You, in love, freely gave "Candy" that gift, but you also gave her a greater gift...you put her in a position that she would stop using you to be her "god".

"Candy" and hurting women can be so exhausting. I know, I have been a hurting women myself. While I always gave love, listening and compassion, as I took, I have had serious periods of neediness. God has blessed me along the way with godly women, who like you, cut me free and pointed me back to Him.

I had one dear "spiritual mom" (about 20 yrs my senior) that used to ask me before I started to speak on the phone, "Have you talked to God about this before you called me?" What a priceless and powerful gift she was giving me.... directing me to the One who could heal me, instead of just listening to me.

I just read something today that rings true to this example. If you have a Honda car that need repair you don't take it to the GMC dealership for repair and service. Therefore, we all need to go to our Maker, Designer, Healer -Jehovah Rapha - the Lord who heals, when we are hurting and need 'repair'.

Also, what I found important in what you wrote was the fact of being used and taken away from your own God-calling, your ministry, taking care of your family. Francis Shaffer wrote about how every home has a door with a hinge on it. It is up to us - the homemaker - to determine when the door swings open or when it closes. There can me weeks or months that the hinge needs to swing shut because our family needs what I call cocooning time (growing, building, pruning, refining, learning). There are also times when God wants us to swing open the door for us to pour out Christ's love for those who walk in the door. It is up to homemakers to be spiritually sensitive to God to know when to open and when to close the door.

Praise God! I am not longer a feeder, needing and drinking my friends dry. For some of them it has been uncomfortable, to let me go.... as I butterfly dance from place to person to lesson to adventure following my Creative and Loving God. He is all-consuming! He has wants me to drink and eat from Him, the original source of life, not second hand, often regurgitated diet of beggar's crumbs.

There are many lady's in my life that were suckers. God has graciously removed each of them in due time and I also discern more quickly, directing them to God and not me.

Thank you for your post. Prayer is one of the most powerful gifts we can give to a hurting person! You have chosen wisely and taken the best path in this relationship.

ivoryspring said...

I am sorry you had to go through the trying experience. As much as we want to help, sometimes, there's only so much we can do. It is a two-way street in any relationship...

May the Lord give your wisdom how to handle the situation to ultimately glorify Him.

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