Fragile people. We all know at least one. Most of us want to treat them carefully, kindly, with lots of TLC.
But the problem is that sometimes fragile people are so rocked by their previous hurts, rocked to their core, that they are continually on the look out for where the next attack will come.
And we find what we look for. Yes, people will attack and be hurtful. But not all people, and not all of the time. However, people who don’t mean to attack or hurt are not perfect, and they will make mistakes. Mistakes that hurt others.
The fragile person scouting for trouble does not have the bandwidth to assume the best in others when those people make mistakes. Instead, they immediately assume a defensive posture and fire warning shots – not to hurt- but to stop the perceived threat.
Their warning shots may not wound the friend who made the mistake; but nonetheless, damage is done.
People who make mistakes need forgiveness and grace. Period.
The fragile person does not have the bandwidth to offer grace and forgiveness, so the fellowship is broken, or at least weakened.
It is difficult to be in a long term relationship with a fragile person because they are constantly scouting for trouble every where. I think the idiom is “they have a chip on their shoulder.”
It takes fortitude to stay, wisdom to stay, forgiveness to stay. And it all must be done without any acknowledgement or apology from the fragile person.
Unless we work diligently to stay in community with fragile people, they will become isolated, without ever even knowing why. But fragile people, maybe even more than the rest of us, need community. They need faithful friends….
And yet, people are not robots. We make mistakes and hurt the ones we love.
It’s a careful dance that only the Lord can choreograph. Bring it all to Him. Each situation is unique, so one cannot draft a master template that says ‘when A happens, then B.’ Stick close to the Father. He knows the way.
And as I write this, I recognize that I am the fragile person quite often. Lord, in addition to helping me carefully and lovingly dance with fragile people, please fortify my soul in You so that
- I will cease and desist from firing warning shots to protect myself
- I will instead overflow with abundance, able to extend grace and forgiveness when another person makes a mistake.
What a terrific reminder to study God’s Word and to be intentional to spend time with Him daily, if not hourly. Father make it so.