When you can't recover
The whole premise of this blog is to examine moments in our lives when we are convinced that "your life is over". This can take shape in a crisis of faith, relationships, and mental health. They all have been topics of my experiences in the road to following the Messiah. Often, people will not share openly about their flaws or hurts because vulnerability seems to be a sign of intimacy we are further and further abstaining from in more circles. It seems we have more groupings of acquaintances than a refuge of a few trusted friends.
When I consider the tone and type of relationships we are to have in the church as the Word shares, I desire to put into practice what I read and what is to be found in our community. I have been specifically camping on Colossians 3:13, NIV: "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.".
Verses like these are difficult because it means that we, out of a clear view of Christ's call and command to love one another, must face the vulnerable and intimate places with other people who we have yet traveled down the road of a deepened bond.
Here are three ways to identify to know it is time to move on in relationships if it seems like you"can't recover" from some form of fall out or relational strain.
They haven't adopted the command of the Gospel
Cutting to the bottom line here is that when there is a resistance to practice the tenants of faith in real practical moments, there is still parts of the heart that haven't come under the obedience of Christ. This is different than if they are saved or God loves them. This is the area where their character is showing a distinguished likeness in these opportunities to apply kingdom best practices.
Have you been offended and so that is reason to run and cut off a person who in reality is your brother or sister by the blood of Christ? Perhaps the offense is from a point of view without two things you have to overcome the issue;
a) enough courage
b) enough information
Otherwise, the inability for people who claim to love God and serve him by adopting a faith in Christ have no place to write another human heart off. It is saying to one degree or another, they are not redeemable. Wow, that is quite a bold way to maneuver in life.
They have people mislabeled
I sort of gave this one away with the lack of courage and information above, but beyond that, the labels that people give usually help them to regain some sort of control in an effort to not deal with strain or fall out where they themselves may have been a contributing factor. This also allows one to have further distance from that person so it is easier to do one of the nastiest things people of faith do to others, demonize each other.
Being a tall guy (6'4'') I have had to be aware how my size can be seen in a threatening way if I am loud or excited. so I try to care for others in a way of being self aware. However, there are times when I have been accused of being something worse as benign factors are from a distance in the relationship, shaped to fit the picture that one choses to carry out. It is such a bondage that others put on one another and really just distracts us from doing and being whom God called us to be (his righteousness).
They are not capable One dangerous move people can make is read a book, article, or obtain some form of education and start to classify and diagnose from this point of view without a sense of working through their hang ups or identifying toxic behavior of their own. There are many helpful people out there who use their talents, spiritual gifts, and experiences for building up others.
Yet, there are those who don't seem to be capable of working through issues that seem to arise over and over again. Being aware of tendencies is one thing, I realized at one point I have to be careful to not let people feel I am communicating with them to get a task done. Not able to see the need for change is at times a fault in itself.
When we encounter people who are not capable to grow through fall out, pain, or even receive accountability, the challenge is to love, forgive, and not let them have space in your mind that deviates from doing everything you can to live at peace. Beyond that, it is time for a boundary, an emotional conclusion, and the maturity to not chime in if another raises similar issue (that's that real test).
In the end...
Some of the most difficult areas for me (because God made me this way) is to see a relationship end. It feels like a death and it also seems silly if they are people in the Church. I want to just say "I'll see you in front of the throne kneeling next to me in Paradise". So why not make every effort to live in peace is Heaven is our aim and Jesus' ethic of love is our way of life?
May we see God bring recovery where we aren't able on our own, for that is will and my hope as a growing disciple!
Keep Looking Up!