Friday, 16 August 2013

A Different Kind of Hoarding

My wife and I are in the process of getting ready to move sometime next year – the Lord willing.  We have already begun to sort things out, get rid of things that we probably never needed to begin with and figure out how we are going to dispose of what we do not want to move or store.

I know of a number of families who are either attempting to clean out the family home that their parents inhabited for 30 years or they too are in the process of downsizing.  One thing that seems common to all is that we have allowed “rubble to build up.”  Such is the case, big time, of those who hoard.  Hoarding has become such a prevalent addiction that television programs have been created, individuals have embarked on a business helping hoarders get rid of stuff, and some entrepreneurial individuals arrive in your home with dumpsters to help you dispose of your consumption run amok.  

It then made me think, how many of us have allowed rubble to build up in our marriages, to hoard unnecessary feelings of hurt, collected a storehouse of negative memories, or gathered junk from our past of which we have failed to rid ourselves.  These thoughts drain us of energy, they can lead to physical if not emotional decline.  These poisonous thoughts take up space in our minds that could be used in a much more productive way.  We hang on to the undesirable junk as though some day we will have a need for it.

If you have been harboring or hoarding or collecting negative thoughts about your relationship with your spouse begin to clean house.  Rid your mind of all that negative garbage.  In most cases it will require that you forgive someone for a real or perceived transgression against you.  

With all of our accumulated wealth in the US we have created some industries that are unheard of in other areas of the world.  In addition to the businesses that I have already acknowledged we are the world’s leader in storage facilities.  People pay money every month to store stuff in an offsite container or storage unit rather than rid themselves of stuff they may never need.  In these cases there is an actual dollars and cents cost associated with hanging on to these articles of furniture, clothing, so called collector’s items, etc.
When we mentally cling to negative events and thoughts of the past they too exact a cost for storing them.  The costs manifest themselves in broken relationships, divorce, children left without two parents, couples leading parallel lives, bitterness, anger and malice.

Start by sweeping out your negative mental trash with the “broom” of forgiveness.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

When Two Elephants Fight

I heard an interesting quote on my commute this morning.  The speaker said, “When two elephants fight the only thing that gets trampled is the grass.” This was an analogy suggesting that when parents fight in front of their children, the real casualties are the children.

This can certainly be a true statement, particularly in an era and culture where “happiness is king” and a “no fault divorce” is the law of the land. Most children probably know someone whose parents are divorced.  Arguing in front of them weakens their sense of security, fearing that their mom and dad may separate.  It can create anxiety and guilt, the latter in the sense that somehow they are personally to blame for their parents unhappiness.  Perhaps one of the worst consequences is that what they see their parents do becomes their paradigm for marriage.  Even if they are troubled by what they witness they will very likely replicate what they see growing up.

Change your child’s paradigm.  Make times of disagreement teachable moments in the life of your child.  First of all they should see that there is a difference in the way a Christian mom and dad resolve disputes.  It will give evidence that having God at the center of your marriage has a practical application for every day living.  The purpose for marriage is to glorify God, if the way you resolve disagreements doesn’t bring Him honor it is time to change your approach.


·       Understand that you as parents are both sinners saved by grace.

·       Accept as fact that the reason you are most likely having a disagreement is because you are both self-centered.  James 4:1-2

·       Before you begin your discussion start with a prayer, asking God to give you each clarity of thought, wisdom, discernment and understanding.

·       Work to truly understand your partner’s point of view before you concern yourself with being understood by your partner.  This is represented by a calm sharing of ideas and opinions.

·       Once you can each articulate your partner’s point of view decide to look at alternatives for resolving the conflict that will ultimately glorify God.  Remember husbands are to love their wives as much as they love themselves and wives are to respect their husbands.

·       Agree to try your solution for 30-60 days and then come back and review the results.

In this way not only should you bring glory to God, hopefully develop a satisfactory solution to your disagreement BUT also teach your children a healthy approach to resolving disputes that incorporates God ‘s influence.