Archive for November, 2015

Messy

Sunday, November 15th, 2015

he other day I was at someone’s house when they said to me, “Sorry about the mess.” I laughed and said, “That’s ok. You should see my relationships.”

I made a joke but I knew that what I said was serious; some of my relationships have been cluttered and messy. When a house is used things get left out and stuff gets messy. Relationships are the same way for everyone. Misunderstandings and issues arise just as part of life. Once in a while a living room, as well as a relationship needs to be tended to and things put away.

When a parent loses a child, relationship’s are one of the things that can become awfully difficult. This comes with the territory. Many of the families that I have spoken to that have lost children share the same struggles with relationships. The great sadness that descends when the child is gone seems to somehow re-wire the brain.

Grief is isolating by nature. No one really can relate unless they have been through it. The prolonged nature of it (As in the rest of your life) creates many situations where expectations can be disappointed, beliefs can create chasms and misunderstandings can abound.

I heard a statistic that somewhere over 95% of marriages where a child has died end in divorce. I can understand why this happens. The desire to escape the pain can be great. Not knowing what to do can often cause a person to look to the other person. To place expectations on the other person to meet needs is a problem for all marriages. The need for relief can push that temptation to new levels and when both partners are feeling so weak it can be devastating.

People are not meant to be used just to meet needs. This is true of spouses, friends, family, children, everyone. When my needs and wants are not met this is fertile ground to be offended. The hard thing to admit is that in grieving, the need to be whole can NEVER be met by people. Peace cannot be found by others doing things different. Pain cannot be quelled by anyone. It just needs to be endured, felt, and processed by the person.

In this time 1 Peter 5:8 is quite true; “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” In nature, a lion will hunt for the weakest of the flock to kill and devour. The same is true, Peter says, of the enemy of our souls. I have seen his handiwork found in many grieving parents. His favorite trap in one word; Offense.

We build walls around our hearts when we become offended. Love stagnates and nothing comes in. This results in selfishness, betrayal, and hatred. Offended people justify their behavior rather than repent of unforgiveness. Jesus did not take revenge on those who did Him wrong. He repaid evil with good and trusted in God to judge righteously. We need to follow His example.

I did not notice that these patterns were found in my relationship with my wife, that is until we sought counseling and it was pointed out to me my own selfishness and efforts to get my wife to meet my needs. The last year and a half we have been unraveling the ways in which we placed unfair expectations upon each other and the funny thing is that as we have let go we have found that we both naturally meet those needs much easier. It has been an amazing process of transformation that we unravel a little bit more each day and each day we both feel freer.

In listening to sermons this week on offense I am recognizing a heart of offense in other relationships. I did not realize that I was offended because it doesn’t look like I expected. The signs that pointed to it was how I avoid engaging with anyone and keep to myself. I think I have used the fact that I am grieving to justify my heart. You know, saying, “They just don’t understand.” This is true, they don’t understand, however God did not give me the license to harbor offense toward anyone, even though I am grieving.

So soon I will be contacting a few people to work through a few things. I will pray for a few days first and talk about and release my feelings to GOD. I’d do it right now, but I’ve got to get my jacket and shoes out of the living room..they’re cluttering this place up.