I don’t need anyone!
I sound strong and resolute when I shout it, but it's really just a wall I hide behind to protect my wounded and hurting heart.
There is a generation who believes that statement is an expression of empowerment and liberation. They don’t seem to realize it is actually an expression of inner personal pain. Millions are boldly declaring ”I don’t need anyone”. Their faces are angry and defiant, their fists are clenched and raised in the air as if to show how strong and independent they are... but inside their hearts are aching and broken.
Behind every raised voice and clenched fist is underlying pain and disappointment. The young woman who shouts “I don’t need a man” was hurt by a man she once trusted and loved. The adolescent who shouts “I don’t need a family” had their heart broken during their parent’s divorce. The person who shouts “I don’t need anybody” has been hurt and disappointed by someone they once trusted or depended on. There is a movement today which champions strength and independence, but at its core is underlying pain and disappointment.
We humans are a funny bunch. Rather than admit our hurt or disappointment we’d rather act like we don't care.
If someone is rejected romantically they will say “I don’t care, I didn’t like them anyway”.
If someone is rejected for a job they will say “I don’t care, I didn't want that job anyway”.
If someone is excluded from the in-crowd, they will say “I don’t care, I didn’t want to be a part of their stupid club anyway”.
If someone feels overlooked or ignored, they will say "I don't care what they think about me anyway".
Our disappointment produces pain, and pain makes us feel weak and vulnerable, so we put on a mask... an angry, defiant mask, from behind which we shout at the world - “I don’t care, I don’t need anyone”.
The problem is we do need each other. From the very beginning God declared it is not good for man to be alone. You and I are created to be in relationships, in families, and in communities. The Bible promises that we are better off in relationships. We will be more fruitful and more productive. We will find safety and security. We will find comfort and companionship. We will find peace and love. We will find forgiveness and understanding. We will find meaning and purpose.
There was once a popular saying “No man is an island”. The humorous response was "so is Hawaii". It's a bad pun but the point is no one was created to exist in isolation, alone, and independent from others.
The Bible reminds us that pain and disappointment will be a part of our life. We are all human after all, so offenses will come. But the devil works hard to leverage that pain and disappointment to create offenses. Which is why the Bible tells us to deal with offenses quickly. The devil wants you to dig your heels in, stand up for your rights, and teach that person a lesson. All of which will ensure relationships, and hearts will stay broken. The Bible teaches us there is a better way. Look for an up-coming post to see how to deal with offenses.
Individualism is attractive because it gives the illusion of being strong and independent, but real courage, real strength is being willing to put down the mask, uncover the hurt and let the healing touch of Jesus heal the pain, and wash away the disappointment. Offenses are real. What happened to you was not your fault. Your pain is real, your disappointment is valid, but how you deal with it will determine whether you remain isolated and angry, or whether you find healing and peace.
Take a moment to hear these two phrases in your head.
“I don’t need you”.
“I need your help”.
The first one feels cold, and hard, and pushes people away.
The second one feels warm, and humble, and draws people near.
Which one would you rather hear? Which one do you need to say?