Guilt, grief and grace

I found an obituary today for a – nemesis? I don’t know what to call this person who devastated life for more than year, ending in employers and lawyers getting involved. And I won’t go into details, because they don’t matter, but I will say that this person’s behavior was bullying, plain and simple. Though in our 20s, it happened, and it still does today.

The shocker was that this person committed suicide. So as a Christian, how do I deal with this death?

For the past 10 years I’ve Googled their  name occasionally, seeing where they were. Our industry is small and I didn’t want to run into them again. Honestly, I was hoping against hope that they’d get caught in their web of power-brokers and brought down to size.

They didn’t. I even wrote a blog post a few months back  about how sometimes bullies don’t disappear, and you don’t come out on top.

This person was in a loving marriage with three children. By all appearances adored and respected personally and professionally. Jerk.

I don’t mean that. I just mean it doesn’t feel fair.

And it isn’t. God never said it would be. He never said we’d come out triumphant in this lifetime, with our own commercial for “It Gets Better.”

It isn’t fair. But it’s temporary.

Our lifetime is so short. Put your thumb and finger about a half-inch apart. Now move it to a quarter-inch. No, smaller. That’s about how long our life is relative to eternity. Even shorter.

We will hurt, and be hurt, Jesus promised that in John 16:33 when He said, In this world you will have trouble. But he also said, Take heart, I have overcome the world.

And now my nemesis is dead. What do I do with that? Am I glad they’re dead? No, but I am glad we’ll never have another run-in. I’m glad I can stop dreading the day we might work together again. But I can’t rejoice in someone’s death. Every life is sacred. How do I grieve for the spouse and children of someone who put a lot of effort into hurting me? I took some time to think through that tonight, because despite my experience with this person – despite their actions toward me – they were a complete person. More than just the sum of my experiences with them, they were the sum of their experiences with everyone they knew. I can’t grieve for my relationship with them, but I can grieve for those who had good relationships. I can hurt for them.

And that’s where I see God today – in my heart – who lets me hurt for the people who loved my enemy.

God is good, and evil is bad. And most of us (I said MOST of us, so don’t go on to me about Hitler and bin Laden) are somewhere in between.

I’m so grateful for amazing grace, that shapes us wretches every day.


One thought on “Guilt, grief and grace

  1. […] God, or sin, or justice, or whatever you’re about to call it. People. Die. If you can’t stop to feel that grief for a moment then you are going to become the living embodiment of the callous God they think they […]

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