Friday, 13 May 2011

Grudges - Nurse Them or Nuke Them?

In his work The Great Work of the Gospel John Ensor gives an excellent description of what it means to hold on to grudges.

Grudges love to be nursed, not nuked. Given enough time and fertilizer, our grudges will grow so big they will wrap themselves around our very personality and cover us like ivy covers a house. Grudges force us to play the role of victims, never victors. Holding on to grudges is like crying out for a life preserver while clinging to the anchor! We have to choose either one or the other. ‘If you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Matthew 6:15). Our grip on grudges must be released. Our very life depends on it.”

Life is a series of choices (now that’s profound). I choose how I am going to respond to external stimuli. I can choose to be happy or sad. I can choose to nurture a grievance or to be forgiving. My choices often have consequences associated with them. If I choose to be sad or if I choose to harbor a grudge for any length of time it can affect me physiologically. I might become depressed or experience some other malady. Holding on to a grudge has been likened to drinking poison hoping the other person would die.

As a general rule, no one can push our buttons like our husband/wife. No one can hurt us quite as deeply as our partner. To eliminate the effects of lingering hurt, Scripture tells us to keep short accounts. The book of Ephesians tells us “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

If you can truly overlook the offense of your partner, that’s the best thing to do. Can you give him/her the benefit of the doubt? Did they mean to intentionally hurt you? Are you primarily upset because you did not get what you wanted? Apply the “Three Day Shower Rule” (Peace Makers Ministries), i.e. if after three days you are taking a shower and you are still upset by what was said/done to you then you have not been able to overlook it and you must deal with the issue. Yes a bath works the same way. And, if you are still in the shower after three days you have a bigger problem.

If you are having trouble forgiving someone, take it to the Lord. Only the Spirit of God can help you forgive someone who has deeply wounded you, it is not something you have the power within yourself to do. The best example is the story of Corrie ten Boom and her ability to forgive one of the cruelest guards in the concentration camp in which she was interned. She did not do that and could never have done that in her own strength.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Feelings

Just the title of this posting will most likely turn off the guys. But wait there have been numerous moments in sports when some of our most beloved athletes have shed tears in front of national TV. Feelings aren’t bad; they have been given to us by God.

A recent blog that I follow had a posting entitled “Expressing Feelings in the Relationship. ” It went on to say,
Many people have difficulty identifying and expressing their feelings. Men, in particular, seem to have difficulty expressing feelings of sadness. Often, their sadness or anxiety seems to come out as anger. People may fear their emotions are a sign of weakness or they might think they are exaggerating a problem. Other people don’t take the time to evaluate their feelings prior to reacting. Not sharing feelings can cause resentment and angry outbursts.

When discussing a problem, it is important to be able to label the feelings you experience when this problem occurs. It is okay to experience feelings, whatever those feelings might be, and there is no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed by them. If you are experiencing negative emotions about a situation, it might be a signal that something needs to change.”



Labeling the feelings is the easy part. Now the work begins. You need to ask the “What” question and the “why?” question. What is God trying to teach me? Why do I get so angry when my wife says, “You are just like your father.”? Why do I get so upset when my husband says, “All you do is nag.”?

This could be like peeling an onion. I get angry because I feel like my wife talks to me like I am a little child. I feel disrespected and put down. My pride is wounded. Ah-ha you have a pride issue. The next step is to go to the Lord and ask Him (a) to forgive you for being prideful and (b) to help you to overcome your pride and grow. Next you go to your wife and say, “Please forgive me for getting angry at what you said to me, my pride was getting in the way. I allowed what you said to make me feel like a little child. I felt disrespected and put down.” At this point your wife may have cardiac arrest.

Here is where God comes in. A negative emotion is absolutely a signal that something needs to change. It is a red flag. What most likely needs to change is your heart. That is why it is important as the blog points out to “label” the feelings that you are experiencing. There is a very good possibility that God is using this particular experience to bring about that change.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Do You Have "IAD"?

I am coming to the conclusion that if you don’t have some letters associated with your name you are just not part of main stream America. To be certain there are specific manifestations associated with people who suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (ADD with hyperactivity) or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). These disorders can wreak havoc on relationships. Too often the disorder can become an excuse for a person’s behavior and/or becomes that person’s identity.

Enter a new set of letters. “IAD” (internet addictive disorder) is referred to as a disorder but in fact is an addiction similar to drugs and alcohol and can have some of the same disastrous effects on one’s work performance, or relations with family and friends that result from other addictions.

IAD may be even more insidious since computers are far more accessible to far more people for far less money than other addictions. And at first the addiction might seem harmless at first, a victimless crime at worst.

This disorder affects marriages in many ways. Pornography, an addiction of its own, is a subset of IAD. Video games, work, Facebook, blogs, chat rooms, and even ESPN often become so consuming that intimacy and even the care of children suffer greatly.

Symptoms of a computer addiction include both psychological and physical problems. People feel an inability to stop using the computer. They may feel irritable, anxious, or depressed when not on the computer. Their addiction impacts them socially as they neglect friends and family to spend time online. It may cause problems at work as well. The addicted person may call in sick or use paid work time to use a company computer for personal use. Physical problems may include difficulty sleeping, headaches, dry eyes, and carpal tunnel. People sometimes don’t eat regularly due to their computer use as well and they may skip meals altogether. Their hygiene may also become poor as they spend all the time on the computer instead of showering and caring for themselves.

Ideally couples should go to bed at the same time. If you or your spouse is regularly on the computer when it is bed time seek help consider reading Crossroads by Ed Welch is a very good book on addictions and/or seek counseling.