“I took it off. I did not want to carry it with me anymore.” ~ Anonymous
A year and a half ago, I wrote a post called The Christian INFJ | Part I. I always intended to come back and write a Part II but I really wanted to soak it in prayer and make sure I was writing what the Most High wanted me to write and not what I wanted to write.
I know people say that all the time and it might sound a lil cliche and holier-than-thou but it’s true. I’ve learned the hard way that spewing the first thing that comes into my mind most always results in a fall-out I’ll regret later on; and even in sin. A dear friend once told me to “soak every blog post in prayer and let it simmer” and she was right.
(Elsa was always dropping lil nuggets like that. Back in Grad School, she used to pick me up from class and we’d ride in her teal CRV and spill our souls and laugh about life’s quirks and she’d give me all these nuggets of gold from her own life experience. She was nearly 10 years older than me and the Most High had filled her with such practical, down-to-earth wisdom. You couldn’t talk to her for more than five minutes without her bringing up something Christ was teaching her or shifting the conversation to the things of Eternity. Those rides in her car are some of my most precious memories. She always talked to and about the Most High as if He were her dearest friend and I learned LOADS from her. Elsa had stories.to.tell.)
So after much prayer and receiving some really lovely emails, messages, and comments from some of you dear readers asking for a Part II, here.we.are. 🙌 Praying the Most High uses this to encourage your soul, INFJ or not; ’cause we can all learn from one another in the beautiful complexity of being made in His image 🙂
As I mentioned in my first post, being an INFJ is NOT the defining characteristic of my identity (and it shouldn’t be the defining characteristic of your identity either…). Whatever else I am, I’m a Daughter of the High King first; a sinner saved by the merciful grace of Christ alone. Anything else is secondary (even my status as a writer; something I have to struggle to remind myself of more often than I would like 🙈). So although I LOVE being an INFJ and I find all personality things incredibly fascinating, please know that in everything else I say, I have this reality in mind as well 🙂
Something I’ve been seeing quite of bit lately in Internet chatter is the idea that forgiveness is conditional; especially if you’re an INFJ. You forgive only if the person shows the appropriate amount of remorse. And you definitely don’t forget. Forgetting makes you vulnerable. It opens you up to having the same person rake their claws over your soul yet again. And you want to be on your guard, vigilant against any personal attacks. So forgetting isn’t even an option.
The rub for the INFJ comes in the fact that we never forget. We analyze and over-analyze and we’re constantly running situations around in our minds. Situations that may happen tomorrow. Situations that happened in the past. So we remember everything ’cause we’ve played it and re-played it in our minds like a movie; re-winding certain bits and pausing on others. This maddening cycle leads to a seeming inability to forget past hurts and sins committed against us.
And that’s dangerous, lovely humans. It’s not something to be celebrated or encouraged; simply because it’s not Biblical.
Keith Green captured the sentiment rather well in one of his songs:
“I’ve been out fighting the war today; the war inside of my head. I thought I killed my enemy; yes, I thought that my ego was dead but it’s still stubbornly living in the kingdom of my thoughts; in the state of mind.
I’ve been out struggling with everyone in the arena all day. Views I defend, they don’t matter much ’cause they would debate either way.
Where’s the root of my problem? Why does everyone oppose every side that I take?
Hey God, where were You today? You didn’t answer my prayer. Seems like I pray and I pray but lately You’re not there.
Maybe my beliefs are all illusion; created by my mind just for a crutch. Doubt creeps in just to make its re-intrusion and sweep away the faith I need so much.
I’ve been out fighting the war today. The struggle is endless, it seems. And when I lie down to sleep at night, it even goes on in my dreams. It’s like an inward Armageddon and I’m stuck in between and both sides are so mean.”
~ “War Games” by Keith Green
Perhaps you’re wondering what on earth that song has to do with forgiveness and forgetting or a lack there of. But honestly, those lyrics are a pretty good capture of an INFJ’s thoughts; maybe even on a daily basis. It starts out about one thing and then spirals and rabbit-trails into something else.
Inward thoughts can drive you mad. You start off thinking about what a lousy day you’ve had and then you remember that hurt someone dealt you (the one you’ve never really forgotten; the one that you’ve got on the back burner of your brain to bring up in times of self-pity so you can stew on it and let the bitterness grow) and then you blame the Most High for making you the way He did or for not taking away the sting of the pain and then suddenly your foul mood isn’t really about the lousy day you’ve had.
But it’s okay ’cause that’s your INFJ superpower coming into play. It’s keeping your mind sharp and alert for the next time that person hurts you; the next time anyone hurts you. Now that you’ve chewed the incident to death (except that it just won’t actually die for some strange reason…), you’re better equipped to notice future warning signs and red flags.
It’s okay ’cause now you feel more justified in using the infamous INFJ Door Slam.
(The INFJ Door Slam is basically a self-defense mechanism touted as a method of self-preservation and lauded as a good self-care strategy for INFJs. Since we INFJs are generally rather long-suffering, it takes a long time for us to get to this point but when we reach it, it’s final. The individual has hurt us over and over and over again and we’ve had it. The Door Slam is us quietly waving a person out of our lives. We don’t tell them outright that we’ve swept them out the door but we do it in more subtle ways:
unfollowing them on social media;
refusing to speak to them in person or just keeping conversations as short as possible;
growing cold and icy toward them;
there’s no anger, only hardness;
we basically treat them as if they’ve never existed)
And everyone tells you that’s okay. That it’s more than okay. That it’s necessary for your own sanity. That you’ve got to take care of yourself first and everyone else, well, everyone else that’s hurt you can go rot.
Ahh, lovely humans, the dangerous allure of this mindset comes from the garden of Eden. It’s the same thing that caused our first parents to sin back in the dawn of time:
truth mixed with a lie.
‘Cause there’s quite a bit of Truth in many of the things I just outlined. We are to take care of ourselves if we’re to be in a right state of mind to help others. But do you see the difference? A right state of mind to help others; not a right state of mind to help ourselves necessarily. We fuel our minds with Scripture so we can know how to encourage and help others. How can we point others to Christ if we don’t even know Who He is ourselves? How can we encourage others if we’ve run ourselves dry? It’s always about Christ and others and, quite frankly, it’s never about ourselves (though we are to be growing in grace and the knowledge of our Saviour for our own edification as well).
Unfollowing someone on social media may actually be something you need to do in order to forgive and forget. But motives are important here, as they always are 🙂 If anger, bitterness, and hatred rise up in your soul like a murderous haze every time you see one of their photos or posts, then the problem lies with you. And yes, you may need to take some serious steps to deal with the sin in your heart; not to give them what for and show them just how much they’ve hurt you out of some silly, childish petulance but to give you the time and space to rip out of the weeds of sin within your soul by the grace and strength of your Saviour.
See the difference? It’s one thing to sweep someone out of your life because you’ve got to protect yourself from future pain. It’s another thing to step back and deal with your sin in an effort to one day face that person with love coursing through your veins instead of hatred. You can’t be friends with everyone and sometimes fallouts mean you won’t be as close as you once were; but there shouldn’t be hatred.
‘Cause, though Door Slams appeal to our sin, forgiveness isn’t optional.
The Most High has called us to so much more; so.much.more. And in a time when people are drawing dividing lines in the sand over things that aren’t going to matter when we’re standing naked in front of our Maker on the Last Day; we need to learn how to forgive and love more than ever.
People are gonna hurt you, Christian INFJ. People are gonna rake their claws over your heart and not seem to show any sort of remorse for what they’ve done. And, like Christ essentially told Peter, they’re gonna do that over
And treating them like they never existed; looking at them with eyes of unfeeling stone is murder. It always begins in the heart like our Saviour said and what I’m about to say isn’t pleasant but I pray it gets the picture across:
treating them like that is like plunging a knife into their chest while staring at them with a cold, steely gaze.
That’s something I have to remind myself of ’cause it’s sooo easy to take the easy road and cut people out of your life (whether in your thoughts or in your actions) after they’ve hurt you. But the easy road is seldom the right one and when Jesus said to forgive your brother up to seventy-times-seven, He meant infinity.
So take off that heavy load you’ve been carrying, dear, lovely human. You can’t do it alone; none of us can. But we know Someone Who’s done it and Who’s promised to do it again. He washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, knowing all the while he would sell Him to the Jewish rulers for blood-money. Jesus experienced a betrayal that lead to His death and none of us will probably experience that on such a scale in our lives.
It puts things into perspective. Looking at things in the light of Eternity always puts them into perspective. We’ve offended the King of the Universe beyond measure. Every time we sin, we spit in His face and yet, He loves us. If we’re Christians, He’s washed us in the blood of His Son and that…that changes everything. It’s a little easier to forgive and love a brother or sister in Christ when you think of what Christ has forgiven you.
So no door slams, lovely humans. No preaching about holding on to bitterness by refusing to forget. No excusing sinful behaviour by calling it self-preservation. He’s made us for more than that 🖤
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.
~ Philippians 3:13-14; 4:8 ~
:: we’re in a War, my friends, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines 🖤 ::
p.s. head over to Shantelle’s post on being a Christian INFJ if you’re interested in another Christian voice on this topic. she’s one of the few writers I came across who has a Biblical view of the subject 🙂