07 January, 2010

There is Hope

In recent days my family has been in a very strange place for us, dealing with some issues and things that we've never really had to deal with before. When you get to a place like this, it feels like the world is just spinning faster and faster and everything is getting out of control. Emotionally, we're on a roller coaster, literally going from extreme anger, to tears of a broken heart, then back to rage in a matter of minutes. As a husband and father, I want to just "fix it" but things just don't work that way in real life. I have found myself feeling so helpless and that frustrates me to no end. There really is nothing I can do about this situation, only to try to help change the future. All I can do is help give clarity to the situation so that future decisions might be better made, but the bottom line is, even that is completely out of my hands.

This morning I was reading my devotional and it struck a chord in my heart, and I wanted to share it here for others. There is hope, but it requires tough love.

The following is from "The Word for Today" Devotions:

"'...Arise and walk'?"

Matthew 9:5 NKJV

Misguided sympathy is dangerous because: (

1) It enables someone to feel sorry for themselves, yet take no action to change things.

(2) it digs the hole deeper, so they've less chance of getting out of it. (

3) it creates a 'learned helplessness' guaranteeing they'll feel even more hopeless.

Sometimes tough love is what's needed. Although Jesus had compassion for hurting people, He never merely felt sorry for them. Whenever possible He helped them to help themselves. Before He worked on their behalf, He often asked them to do something. And sometimes His instructions seemed radical.

To a paralysed man, he said, '...Arise, take up your bed, and go...' (Matthew 9:6 NKJV)

To the ruler of the synagogue who had been told his daughter was dead, he said, 'Do not be afraid; only believe.' (Mark 5:35-36 NKJV)

For a blind man, '...He spat on the ground and made clay...anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay...He said... 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.' So he went...and came back seeing.' (John 9:1-7NKJV)

How could a crippled man rise and walk? How could a man who had just received the report of his daughter's death be expected to stay calm? How could a blind man even see to get to a certain pool of water?

Instead of merely feeling sorry for people, Jesus moved them to action. He helped them to get their minds off their problems, and motivated them to do something about them. At times we feel like we're being unkind if we confront people who have problems, when in reality 'tough love' is what they need.