I perhaps identify with the descriptors brokenhearted and crushed in spirit more now than I ever have. Even when I went through the valley of depression, I didn’t describe myself as “crushed in spirit.”
The weight of the past year has been heavy but the betrayal of another left me feeling both brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.
“It crushes me to think someone would attribute such malicious motives to me that couldn’t be further from the truth, AND to never approach me about her concerns or give me an opportunity to try to make things right, but rather, just sever the relationship,” I explained in between sobs to a friend as she listened. This friend didn’t know the person or the situation, just that I was pinned under the weight of untrue allegations and my heart was heavy with grief.
Being accused of untrue allegations, and being betrayed by those whom you aligned yourself with and would want to restore relationship was almost unthinkable, and yet, it was all I could think about for days.
All I ever wanted was for others to see Jesus, and yet, somehow the motives of my heart were being questioned and I was being blamed for something I never did. And, no opportunity for discussion or reconciliation was being offered. The grave was sealed.
As I searched my heart, and asked God to do the same, I thought of times when I had had a judgmental heart.
Hadn’t I formed decisions about people that were premature and based on first impressions, not giving me a chance to learn their true heart?
Hadn’t I jumped to conclusions in discussions with my husband and my children, being more concerned about my own feelings than the underlying rational that had driven them to their decisions in the situation in question?
Hadn’t I judged myself to be unworthy, a failure, or unforgivable on numerous occasions, which was in direct opposition to what God says about me? When I’ve done that, I’ve basically judged God to be a liar. And I judged the work on the cross to be insufficient to cover my sin.
Perhaps it was no coincidence that this happened the week before Easter, which is always a contemplative time for me anyway. Jesus’ whole time on earth was a sacrifice: He gave up all of heaven to live on earth in human form to live as an example for us, not just to die as the penalty for our sin, but to teach us how to cope.
I thought of the many times Jesus was wrongly accused: by Satan, by Pharisees, by rulers and men who just didn’t or who refused to understand. Even Jesus was betrayed by those whom He called friend. Those betrayals led to the nails in his cross and his grave being sealed.
As I reflect on the sacrifices of my Savior, I realize He could not have been resurrected if He had not died first. Even in this most horrific of situations, God’s promises are true: He works all things together for our good for those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
In wrestling with my pain over unjust accusations and the betrayal of another, I know that I cannot control what happened, but I can choose how I will respond. I am thankful that Jesus gave us a perfect example.
Tip 1. I must be willing to ask God to search my heart and show me anything I must confess and repent of, so that I can be right with God first. In this way, we die to self, just as Jesus did.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
Tip 2. The next thing to do is to forgive the other person. It doesn’t mean that we forget what was done, but we no longer harbor resentment for the action, and we turn it over to God to be the judge and jury.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)
“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (Mark 11:26)
Tip 3. When you’ve tried to speak with them and make amends but they just don’t listen, it’s time to move on. You may have the kindest heart and the best of intentions, but there will still be those who only see your weaknesses and flaws.
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)
Tip 4. Continue to be yourself, do what God has called you to do, and don’t let the harsh judgments of others change you. As Jesus said, turn the other cheek. In a world that is hard, be gentle. Let others know you are His by your love, even in the hard places. When you’ve done what you can do, it’s time to leave it to God to deal with.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:18-19)
Tip 5. Because of pain, or shame, or embarrassment, you might be tempted to withdraw, but don’t. That’s what the enemy wants. Instead, surround yourself with those who know and love you best, who will build you up.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Tip 6. Let Him heal the hurt in you. You can’t afford to let a seed of bitterness or resentment take root in you. It only hurts you, not them. Their actions speak more about them than they do about you. But the pain is real. Acknowledge it, and ask Him to heal it.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
Tip 7. Then in the future, you will be in a position of greater compassion, and you will be able to comfort others who go through similar hurts. Be generous with compassion.
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
He came to be close to us, to walk with us in the hard times in life. He was a walking, talking, breathing example to us for how to cope with the devastating encounters we face. When others reject us, He promises to never leave us and never forsake us. Turn to Him, the one who is close to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
When have you experienced Him near in your times of need? I’d love to hear in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.