Sadness, grief, deep sorrow; these are things that make us uncomfortable. We’re quick to call for healing both in ourselves and in others because we don’t want to deal with the painful emotions involved in a time of grief. But the reality is, when we’ve suffered a loss, whether as a result of a death, or a betrayal, or any other sudden life-altering circumstance, a time of mourning is a natural and NECESSARY part of any TRUE healing process. To minimize its importance is to cripple the mourner. It’s not the way God responds to us, and it’s not the way He calls us to respond. If healing is our goal, we have to learn to handle grief as He does.
We’re learning to communicate God’s way as we work our way through a series intent on finding the areas in which we ruin marital communication, and re-aligning them with God’s desires. Today we’re going to discuss the importance of listening. Really listening. Not just to each other, but to God as well. Honestly, if we could all master just this one area of communication, what a difference it would make! But alas, we are a society that has forgotten how to listen. So, we must re-learn this lost virtue, and who better to learn from than our Creator?
This week we’re looking at the first half of Ephesians 2 and will be stepping back a bit to re-examine more deeply some of the truths we learned in week one – Who we were without Christ, and what it means to have been made alive in Christ. Today, we’re going to learn to understand what it means to be a new and beautiful creation in Jesus – His masterpiece!
The Bible tells a story of a woman – a widow who persistently sought justice from an evil judge. Jesus encouraged us to approach our Heavenly Father with that same kind of persistence in prayer, knowing He will surely grant us justice – and quickly! This is the story of my own persistent prayer.
Before we get into the specifics of communication, let’s prepare our hearts. It’s essential that our intentions as we proceed be in line with those of our Heavenly Father. This begins from a place of humility. It is only from there we can approach our spouse with any hope of improving our communication.
It’s human nature to read the kind of stuff we’re going to be addressing “for” someone else. Instead of taking the opportunity to honestly evaluate ourselves, we look for ammunition to load into the arsenal of judgement we’re building against our partners.
Friends, our goal is healing. The only person we have any power to heal is ourselves. So, with that in mind, let’s dive into our passage for this week.
A good place to start when we’re looking to re-write our identity is with an understanding of the nature of our existence. We need to know whether we’re just some cosmic accident, or the result of an intentional plan because the answer to that question will define our purpose.
All praise to God who tells us we are not, in fact, some fluke of nature. We are His own special creation: Chosen by Him before the beginning of time, purchased out of our state of slavery to sin by His very own blood, and adopted into His family forever. Let’s think about the ramifications of those three simple realities.
Being triggered is a very real, very natural, and very agonizing aspect of recovery from betrayal (or any other) trauma. The term refers to the moments when we are very suddenly and unexpectedly reminded of our pain and upheaval in a way that propels us back into the crippling state of shock experienced at the onset of the traumatic experience. Most of us didn’t expect the triggers, and therefore find ourselves completely unequipped to deal with and move past them. But there is hope!
Terrible communication is likely one of the most common roadblocks to healing in broken marriages. Unfortunately, we’re just really, really bad (like as a people) at communicating with each other. We’re selfish, we jump to conclusion, we’re rotten listeners, we assume and presume like nobody’s watching, we manipulate and lie, we spend all kinds of time looking at the faults of others while rarely looking inward to our own faults, and we’re just plain mean to each other. Often times, before we can even think of addressing the larger underlying issues in marriages, we have to first learn to start communicating according to the standards God has laid out for us in Scripture.
There are a million steps we have to work through in order to recover from intimate betrayal, but I believe the first (and most critical)…
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own desire to be right, we miss out on being a part of God’s mercy. We choose judgement and misery over excitedly taking part in a miracle because we’ve forgotten how merciful He’s been to us! There is much we can learn from the Biblical account of the prophet Jonah.