Playing the Fool - Elisabeth Klein
Love hopes the best. If I heard this phrase once, I heard it a hundred times, coming from the heart of a well-meaning, dear friend. He wanted me to apply it to a situation that he didn’t know the intimate details of, so in the early stages of our friendship, I whispered in my head, “Please stop saying that.” As the years progressed and I felt more comfortable with him, I’d yell, “STOP SAYING THAT!” (We’d both laugh.) 

The sentiment behind those four words is honorable and good, very Jesus-y. If you want to love someone, you do not look at them through narrowed, suspicious eyes. You hope the better thing. That their motives are pure, that their hearts are in the right place, that they mean well, that they’d never intentionally hurt you. Yes, love hopes the best. 

In most situations. But I’m learning, not in every situation. 

Because what I’m learning is that there is a fine line between naïve and hopeful. Between playing the fool and expectant. 

I find myself, someone who is pretty self-aware emotionally and a self-proclaimed expert on my family dysfunction, continuing to be tricked and snowed. 

It seems to me that there are several responses to a person who continues to hurt you. 

Be blindsided at every turn. Continue to hope that the person can and will change and assume that you will never be hurt again. 

Do nothing. Let them keep on hurting you. 

Hurt them back out of anger and sadness. In other words, seek revenge. 

Or, be realistic. You will continue to be hurt. Now what? Protect yourself and your loved ones emotionally to the best of your ability. Minimize the importance of the perpetrator in your emotional life. Take legal steps if necessary. Prepare your heart for the repetitive hurt. And, wait for it…pray for this person. 

I know, I know…you want to yell at me just like I yelled at my friend. I want to yell at me too. Just last night, I cried hard, loud tears over being hurt yet again, over an injustice that I can do next to nothing about. Did I want to pray for the person who was hurting me? Um, no. I won’t tell you what I really wanted to do, but it wasn’t very Jesus-y. I will say though that in the middle of my despairing last night, I sobbed out, “bless him”…and then went back to crying. 

And this morning, after many solid hours of sleep and feeling physically better, though not one thing in my circumstances has changed from last night and part of me is as angry as ever, I will choose to pray for him. Because to look at the situation humanly, he has proved that he will never change, that the constant, intentional wounding will not be ending anytime soon. But prayer isn’t looking at a situation humanly, is it? We pray because we know we need divine help. 

So I will pray for his hurting heart to stop hurting those around him. And I will pray that my compassion will grow, continuing to replace anger and any bitter root from growing up inside me. And I will pray that if I have to play the fool from time to time, that I will remember that Jesus will set every single thing right in the end. 

On the high road, you walk with Jesus.  On the low road, you walk alone.

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.