My twenty five year old daughter is my maid of honor in my upcoming wedding in January. She is very creative and has a good eye for details, so early on in the planning process I wanted her to come with me to the venue where we are having the ceremony and the reception in order to get her input and ideas.
I had visions of a wonderful bonding experience between mother and daughter. I had expectations of her oohing and aahing over how beautiful, cozy and inviting it would be. I wanted her eager ideas and suggestions on how best to create the perfect setting.
What I got was about the complete opposite. She harshly critiqued everything. If there was something wrong to be found, she found it. There was no laughing and smiling and hugging...it was, in short, a great disappointment. She had let me down.
I stewed on this for about two months until I finally had the courage to confront her with my disappointment. Stewing...bad idea! Wounds left untreated always tend to fester. What I had was a major infection. When I did finally talk with her, she apologized profusely and then shared what I had overlooked...here she was, twenty five, and dreaming as every girl does of her perfect wedding. And here I was, her middle-aged mother getting to plan two of my own weddings before she even got to plan one of her own. She owned up to her problem - it was jealousy with a capital "J"!! After our talking it out there was forgiveness and reconciliation. I also found out that she had been hard at work arranging a lovely bridal shower for me. I didn't know the whole story.
Another thing wrong with this story were my expectations. How often do we place unrealistic expectations on others, particularly those we love the most, and then are let down when our expectations are not met? I remember, as a wife, how I often expected my husband to read my moods or my body language - in essence read my mind - and when he failed to do so, I felt let down.
I have learned, slowly, over the years that other people are not psychic. They can't read my mind and therefore, cannot possibly read my expectations.
I have learned to look for the best in others rather than expect the best.
Great expectations are usually a recipe for disaster. Besides, the Bible tells us that everyone, even our closest family members, will fail, forsake or let us down at some point. They may do it intentionally or unintentionally, but it WILL happen. There is only One who will never let us down.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
There are two stories in the Bible that stand out to me as to how we should handle it when others let us down. It may not be easy, but God promises blessings if we do it His way.
In 2 Timothy 4:16-17, Paul is speaking at his court hearing, "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth."
Notice what Paul says when all of his best friends deserted him..."May it not be held against them." Notice the blessing that followed when he obeyed God's command to not hold it against them - the Lord stood at his side and gave him strength and he was delivered from the lion's mouth.
In the book of Genesis, the writer tells the story of Joseph who was basically sold into a life of slavery by his jealous brothers. Talk about being let down by those you love. What is Joseph's reaction when he encounters his brothers years later when he is in a position of great power? In Genesis 45, he forgives his brothers. Furthermore, in Genesis 50 he goes one step further; he reassures his brothers.
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..." (Genesis 50:19-21).
When others let us down, we need to realize and trust that God is in control and will use every situation, even the really devastating ones, for our good!
One last thought on this topic...realize that when someone lets you down, there is very likely something going on in their life. The reasons people let other people down are many: jealousy, selfishness, greed, anger, immaturity, hurt and in general, our sinful nature. I've heard it said that hurt people hurt people.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:43-44).
That's a tough one - pray for those who persecute you. You don't know what is going on in their life, so God calls us to lay our enemies on the altar before Him.
Will you pray with me? Lord, so many times I have let you down. Please help me to forgive ____________ who has let me down. I release my hurt and disappointment to you as I lay them before you at your altar. Bless them and keep them. In Jesus name...Amen.
In His love,
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