Over the decades, I have experienced pain. I am guessing you have as well.
We have often talked about how the worst bosses or those above us in our jobs, have always been the christian ones. We have left congregations never wanting to return to those building, or denominations, or any other ones.
Dee Brestin has an analogy of roses and alligators. (in her book The Friendships of Women) There are people in our lives who are roses. There are thorns with roses, but for the most part, we are willing to over look the thorns because of the beauty they bring to our lives.
Then there are alligators, they are the ones who are basically out to just get you in a death roll.
Recognizing who is safe, and who isn't, having healthy boundaries is very important. However I had gotten to a point where I treated every one like alligators. A tiny brush of thorns and I was out of there.
By trying to live open and vulnerable lives, which sounds sooo scray, we invite others into our lives. We also open ourselves up to pain. G-d is able to use our pain to help others, for their experiences to help us, and for us to be able to move forward together.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Mary Demuth uses the community of the Lord's Prayer to show how to bring your hurts to His feet for healing, not just of ourselves but for all involved. Watch the book trailer.