Difficult People

You may have heard there was a six-week trial in Fairfax, Virginia recently? If you don’t know about it by now, just go on living your life gleefully free of it. The whole thing was a bit much. Somebody’s trousers were engulfed in flames. I happen to agree with the jury as to who it was.

There was more going on than simply a celebrity high stakes he said/she said. I believe it became something deeply personal to many of us. We’ve all been through at least one of the painful areas discussed. If not, at the very least, we’ve been close to someone who has — false accusations, sexual abuse, domestic violence, psychological warfare, and a liar liar pants on fire foe, to name a few. It appears more than a handful of us were triggered in some way. I’m just so glad they didn’t have children together. I can only imagine what the accusations might have been.

Despite what mainstream media would like us to believe, the fact that I think the jury got it right doesn’t make me a diehard Johnny Depp fan. I’m not. I’ve been mainly a casual fan through the years. I mean, how could a woman my age not be to some degree? Mostly I appreciate very much that God created someone who has not been difficult to look at for the past 35ish or so years he’s been in the public eye.

If only all fat, old, unfashionable men looked like him. KnowwhatI’msaying?

Anyway, despite my skips of delight at the occasional “eek, it’s Johnny Depp” moments, I’m not going to fall on my sword for the guy. I don’t even know him. I would be willing and able to accept if it was proven that he was violently abusive. I would be saddened by the revelation, but the truth means more than any amount of fame or fandom.

I simply did not see proof of his alleged violent abuse. Is he a faulty human? Oh, for sure, without a doubt. However, nothing quite made sense to me when she testified. Her emotions didn’t correspond with what she was saying. Her answers to questions didn’t make sense for what she was recounting. In the recordings (why were there so many recordings?), she sounded more abusive than not. The pictures didn’t match up at all with the brutality she described. I couldn’t find anything tangible to hold onto.

If she was telling the truth, she is strangely bad at it. What I saw though tells me she’s oddly bad at not truth telling. Weirdly not believable on either side of the coin. Far be it from me to teach anyone how to lie, but girl, I could give you a few tips on how to be more convincing. I assure you, dear readers, I only come by this knowledge honestly from my vast living-among-humans experience.

But when I heard him talk…

The way he described his childhood was so very similar in tone to how my husband talked about his growing up. Mr. Depp said a few things that sounded all too familiar, but when he said something along the lines of being the chosen one for discipline, it was as if he was telling my husband’s story.

Same feel. Same pain. Same quirky humor. Real.

If he was lying, he’s a far better actor than I would have ever given him credit for.

I’ve walked through the finding healing and cleaning up that bad childhood road with my husband. It’s a long, difficult one. That kind of pain doesn’t easily go away — the lies of one’s lack of worth are so deeply ingrained. It makes for a tough marriage at times, I’ll give her that. But a loving spouse doesn’t provoke and taunt. A loving spouse encourages, assures, learns when to leave alone, takes deep breaths, gets discouraged, sheds quite a few tears, and prays in solitude. Rest assured though, the past is conquerable if you do the hard work to face the lies thrust on you and work through it.

Hearing of Mr. Depp’s growing up, his battle with drugs and alcohol, and his efforts to detox, I found myself praying for him. He has been a hot mess to be sure, but it makes sense why. He’s so similar in many ways to my husband — except for the whole fame and oodles of money thing — it was easy to feel compassion for him. It was easy to pray that he would know God’s peace and healing.

But what do we do with the one we don’t want to pray for? The one for whom we have no compassion because of all the harm this one person has caused?

The hard part for me came when I felt that nudge.

Jesus loves her too.

Oh maaa-aan. Why you gotta be like that? I was perfectly fine praying for him.

Oh God, come on. You know why this is hard for me.

Uggghhhhhh. Ok.

The former Mrs. Johnny is not my cup of tea. She reminds me of a handful of someones I’m not fond of and one particular someone I believe left a wide swath of destruction and is yet to be held accountable, as far as I can tell. One someone who would never admit to any mistake ever. If, by chance, there was any admission of imperfection, it was certainly someone else’s fault. One someone I was told to pray for. One someone it took a very long time to learn to pray for because even now the situation can negatively affect people who weren’t even alive when it started.

I mean, I kinda understand Jonah and his Nineveh grudge a little better now. You know the whole, “God, if I pray for them I know you won’t destroy them” thing Jonah struggled with. Hahaha. Ohmygosh, I’m such a horrible human.

But still…

She too is someone Jesus loves.

Dang y’all, why is it so hard to be like Christ?

So pray I did. Against every fiber of my being as I thought “this is so dumb, what’s the point?” I prayed. As my prayers moved from David-like calamity-on-them Psalm prayers to “Lord, whatever you want,” I eventually found peace in a decades-long drama. I shamefully admit it took many years and many starts and stops to get there.

What I think I’ve learned about praying for difficult people who hurt others — at least in part, and at least for this moment in time — is praying guards me from becoming like them. I don’t want to live in anger, bitterness, vindictiveness, and all those other damaging words and emotions. I want to live free of them. Perhaps this is why God tells us “vengeance is Mine.” He cannot become like us. He is not made in our image.

Letting go of pain is not easy, especially for those of us who have a need for justice. It’s just the more we focus on the perceived wrongdoer’s wrongdoings, the more we become like that person — if we’re not careful with our words and actions, we can far surpass the hurt they originally inflicted.

This does not mean we should not stand up to or fight against injustice — it’s just that at some point, even as we stand against the unfairness, we need to understand the outcome does not depend on us alone. It can be so hard to let go, but it’s for our own peace and health to do just that. At some point, as we work through the pain, we need to choose, and continue to choose, to live, to pray, to move forward freely, and let God take care of the other.

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge;
    I will pay them back,”
    says the Lord.

Instead, 
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
    If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
    burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
Romans 12:19-21 NLT

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