It’s the day after Christmas. The new phone case I got from my brother is on my phone, the new peacoat and scarf I got from my mom & dad are on the back of my chair, the new book on the music of hymns which a mentor and friend gave me is on my shelf and I’m making good progress on a book about the Eucharist.
What does it mean to be reasonable? Google’s definition says,
(of a person) having sound judgment; fair and sensible.
That seems fairly straightforward…”fair and sensible.”
What happens when someone you know holds the opinion that they are, in fact, reasonable–when in truth, they are not? Is it loving to confront them? How often? To simply navigate the situation so that the fewest people are hurt?
What happens when the person accuses you of upsetting the way things are due to the fact that you’ve sought advice and/or counseling about them in the past? How does one love that person well?
What about when there’s emotional manipulation? What about when they push all of your buttons and say you have said things or think things that you’ve never said? What about when they act offended that you get angry at being misrepresented? How much anger is appropriate and loving? What about when that person does not see how much damage they’ve done and how much damage they continue to do?
What about when they tell you they “wish you were normal” and that you could “just wake up to all the pretty girls who are at your school”? What about when they want you to watch Duck Dynasty the next day with them? (Yes. This really happened.)
How does one not become embittered? I want to love this person. I want to have a real relationship with them. At what point does one say, “No, I want that but I can’t have it–not right now, at least?”
I pray. I seek counsel. I’ve got a counselor who is a godly man. I have grown up with the “shake it off” mentality and mostly what I’ve seen it produce is an environment where such carnage is allowed to flourish…so if you want to post a “man-up” comment, keep it to yourself.
I’m asking an intensely emotional and theological question here, folks: how does one follow the commandment to love one’s parents, family, and associates well when they are not lovable?
I am at a loss right now. This is all so far from reasonable I’m not sure how it ever could’ve been in the same zip code as what is going on.
It probably never was.
William Birch said:
I read you all the time but I rarely comment. The Duck Dynasty saga almost ruined our Christmas. Words were spoken, attitudes were flung, and I ended up at a medical center after three days of intense anger because my heart was beating out of my chest — I was thoroughly angry, frustrated, and hurt. After that incident, my parents and I sat down to calmly discuss this matter, and it was not at all easy. Though they couldn’t fully see my side of the issue, they at least listened to me, and we decided not to inflame the situation further.
How does one follow the commandment to love one’s parents, family, and associates well when they are not lovable?
I didn’t doubt my parents love for me, and I reacted in my own inappropriate manner, and they chose to love me through it all. I know that I can be unlovable toward God and yet He loves me just the same in and through Christ. I don’t fully understand the love of God, but I’m grateful for it. I don’t know that I or anyone else could offer you a fully satisfying answer to your question. I’m in your same situation, brother, and I just keep praying — at times in spite of my circumstances.
Thanks for the comment. I think there is a bit of difference of experience in that I just can’t take full responsibility for the situation when it arouses simply because my father’s get ruffled. I take responsibility for what my feathers do, but I’m no longer feeling responsible for the overall outcome since with some individuals there is no way to do conflict that they would ever see they’ve done wrong in this or that scenario.
William Birch said:
You are — so very tragically — right: there is nothing you could do that they would ever see they’ve done wrong. That reality right there just may be the most frustrating part of the whole mess — no foreseeable and viable change for the future.
One point that may help with loving those who are unlovable is that “love” is not the same as “like.” To love someone is not necessarily to have the “warm fuzzies.” We are commanded to love our neighbor — who is everyone. That can only mean wanting what is for their good, and providing for their needs as our circumstances allow.
At its most basic level, love isn’t a feeling but an act of the will.
Ben Mordecai said:
I wish I had some grand slam advice, but I don’t know the answers. All I can think of right now is that for now we only know in part and see in part. Due to our sin nature, we all have unique blind spots and insensitivities. When Christ is revealed in his second advent, these will all melt away because we will see him as he is.
Until then, we can only be contented in knowing that God is keeping all of our tears in his bottle. He sees it and he knows it. There will come a day when the redeemed of the Lord will know the right way to love one another, but today, we only see shadows and glimpses.
Praying for you brother.
It amazes me Gods timing on things. I have a friend of mine that I am working with, bisexual, non-Christian, and very immature. In his immaturity he has hurt me deeply many times. Every time I have asked myself, “what am I doing in this relationship, why do I put up with this behavior, where am I going to find the grace to forgive him this time and move on?” As I have poured my heart out to God what always occurs to me is, have a bled yet? Am I dying on a cross yet? Will it benefit me to get angry at him, vent to him, yell at him, tell him he should not act that way? What I have done most of the time is respond in grace, which, I might add, at times, has taken some doing. It is the way I want to be treated as well, for in the grace I am then willing to admit that I had some fault as well and am willing to change more easily.
I identified with your pain in the blog. I felt for you. I felt sadness for you and could so easily relate myself. Would I tell you to man up? NO! It hurts! Badly at times!! All I know is that grace is the key. Abundant, lavishing grace! It helps the other, and it helps you. One book I have found helpful is called, “the life model: living from the heart Jesus gave you.” In the second chapter it talks about maturity levels and stages. I found it so very helpful to understand where people are at in their maturity level and how to approach and deal with them.
I hope my comments are helpful and not judgmental, critical, or condemning! I really identified with your blog.
I’ll check out that book.. Thanks!