Thursday, July 31, 2008

"don't be down!"

"Don't be down!" seems to be the words of some to some of us who are down. I'm not talking at all about people like Nancy, who remind us to abide in Christ and in his love. But I'm talking about those who like Job's friends are long on answers and quote Scripture left and right, yet somehow don't speak the Lord's word appropriate and needed for the time. And on top of that judge one for being down. Again I'm not talking about a discerning, loving, helpful voice, which may say some things that are hard and unpleasant to hear. No. I'm talking about the voice which cuts down with the attitude, "Get over it!' And who has it all together themselves, though really, of course, they don't.

Well, of course, I speak here from firsthand experience. I know the kind of stoning Christians can give others who are down and out. They'll put them out of their misery, readily, because they're not on board with the program.

I will say that going through depths helps me empathize with others. Some are in depths of bitterness which spews out everywhere, and if one is not careful, can burn one's own soul as well. I feel for such, while not wanting to be dragged down with them. Many of us have coping mechanisms or ways we're neither facing the Lord or our real selves. I think this is all around us, and manifest in so many ways. It is good to find the person who is transparent in a simple walk of faith in God expressed in love for God and for others. Rare though, I'm afraid.

What would you like to add to hopefully, this gentle rant?

18 comments:

Mike said...

This attitude is something that really bothers me as well. Those who attempt to be "spiritual" and quote Scripture, I think are well intended but many times fail to understand. I'm sorry to say I've been guilty of this as well.

I won't quote a passage about empathy (although some come to mind quickly). But I do remember the depression David went through from time to time. It's obvious he was angry with God - all that while being deemed a "man after God's own heart". The line would have been crossed if he had blamed God for his trouble.

I believe God gives us "lows" for reasons. However, for me to simply have the attitude of "get over it" is condescending and unhelpful.

Rachel Mc said...

I can rant too. It seems to me there are two types of friends when a crisis hits. The first type wants you to get over "it" so they don't have to deal with you like this, and the second type will walk into your pain/anger/grief, etc without wanting anything, expecting anything and not judging you. I have one such friend who I have known for 25+ years and she is always the first to jump into my life and hold my hand. She never shies away from my pain, and I wouldn't describe her as an "outward christian" because she doesn't read the bible or attend a church regularly. But in her I have seen Christ.

preacherman said...

Great thoughts Ted.
I totally understand and relate to this article.

Martin Stickland said...

Goodnight Ted! Nice words and I am glad I made you laugh!

Dave J. said...

Ted, let me quote you a scripture about being down....joking. :)

I always fear saying 'yes, when I had that problem, blah blah blah' and not listen. Okay, I do make jokes to break the ice, too.

I need to listen, but I also struggle with asking the right questions so I get to hear the right stuff.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
I agree. And so many factors can come in. The complexity of our bodies with our inner being is one thing, for sure. Elijah needed more sleep. But some need special help over time, provided by counselors skilled in the word and gifted in counseling, along with counselors who have insights into the human problem and issues coming more from general revelation, but best when accompanied with the special revelation of Scripture, through which as a lens, all psychology needs to be evaluated. But I'm just thinking some on this, which is reflected here.

But yes, even those who truly love the Lord are sometimes out of sync with the Lord, and even can be in opposition to God. We must be aware of that. But we also must be ready for the right help. Of course some "help" is really no help at all!

Mike said...

The Lord takes us through dark times to make us understand.

You are right, it is rare to find transparent caring people. Lord, makes us one.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Rachel,
Interesting and good to hear of your friend. It's amazing that some of the most harsh and judgmental people I know are Christians. But many Christians I know are definitely not, and are gracious and loving and concerned.

I'd like to know how to give a loving kick in the seat of the pants when needed, but it must be the right time, and the person must know you love them, have no doubts of that. I am an encourager, and would just as soon step back rather than ever say the hard thing. That's not always right, either, of course.

NaNcY said...

hi ted,

i like you when you are up, when you are down...or even if you were inside out or backwards.

i know that i like to be even keel and feel good enough to do the main things in life. there have been times when i was not able to do that. i had to be in a quiet place, so i most often had to cut myself off from other people and life as i knew it. i found out that God was there and that i needed Jesus. i have been at a pretty even keel for awhile for the most part, and lately i have been able to abide in His Love, which feels like a drink of fresh, cool water.

i know that there are not usually any instant answers to these kinds of things.

there are times that i feel helpless about someone's troubles, that i want to have an answer, i want to be able to do something that will help the process, i want to just make things all better for them. but, sooner or later, i am reminded that i am not in control of their walk. i am not even in control of my walk in Jesus.

it is this lack of control, and wanting things to go smoothly that can make people do and say some really strange things, that they can later regret having said or done.

it can be really hard to wait and watch someone go through hard times. it is hard to believe that prayer can be helpful.

i suppose we sometimes are in a depth of something, caught in something harmful and might not even realize it for awhile. something that can be harmful to our walk.

speking of coping mechanisms, i think that we do indeed have them, and sometimes they are what is needed to protect us from things that we can not handle at the time. things that are put on hold until our mind is ready to handle it, or maybe until our heart is ready.

sometimes i think we say things like, "get over it" as a kind of reflex action that is a lot like a coping mechanism. we are so conditioned to protect ourselves and in wanting to be in control of life, that it can just jump right out of the mouth before you can blink and eye.

it is hard to let go and move on.
it would be nice to find a nice place to settle down and be all comfortable and happy. but, we all must continue down the road. the good thing about that though, is that with and in Jesus, we get to see more of God.

i pray that you are given wonderful moments of the rest and peace of Jesus, and that you will be lifted into His Love.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Kinney,
Good to hear from you. Me too, or else I wouldn't have written it!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Martin,
You do have a gift of humor. My wife loves British comedy. She likes "Keeping Up Appearances". I like some of "Red Green". I wonder if you're familiar with either. Some of your suff is just as funny as either, or funnier.

I have to admit, that was a needed laughing time for me. We need that gift from God operative in our lives, regularly.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Mike,
Yes, the dark times are the kind of anxiety of faith (see "Jesus Creed" today) that is needed for true faith now, I believe. Of course there's a bad anxiety which stops us in our tracks in the walk of faith.

Amen.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dave J.,
Excellent points! Yes, I've been so very guilty in blabbing on and on, without having sufficiently listened. I think I've improved significantly and am trying to keep growing as a better listener. And asking the right questions, or good questions is so very important and good, as well.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for all your thoughts. And prayer.

Yes, it is good to try to understand why people including ourselves, do some of the counterproductive, or mistaken things we do. Thanks for that insight, along with the rest.

NaNcY said...

what i ment by let go and move on ...is letting go of control. wanting to make things right that need time.

sometimes it is hard to know if it is something that needs time, or something we should do something about.

i am taking anti depressant medication, i was in a place that i was so bad that i could not function. it is a hard to know what to do or what is best for certain situations. so i guess we should be very patient with eachother and allow each other enough space to go through good and bad times in the walk yet still being there with them.

in that, i think that everyone is able to see more of God.

not that we all do the suffering and walking beside someone very well, but, it is part of the walk.

NaNcY said...

sometimes even the word "anxiety" can cause me problems.

it must be the visual way my mind works. not a good letter mixture at all. maybe it would be better if the word ment something else, i don't know. i am rather sensitive about the strangest things sometimes. always a good time to concentrate on Jesus.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for sharing with us your use of anti-depressant medication. I'm glad it's helping you, or rather that you're getting God's help through that.

I took anti-depressants for a time, but Prosac wore off, and Paxil gave me splitting headaches when I was exerting myself. So I went off of them.

I like your point both here, and in your original comment, bringing up the control issue. A most important issue, for sure! Wanting to be in control is a hard lesson to unlearn, I would guess. And your point about knowing when to step in and when to just pray and let it go, another big, important, and hard issue. Important to try to be led by the Spirit, I would think. And just be there present for them, as well as in prayer for them to God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
I'm guessing then you'll find my post on anxiety I'm nearly finished with for tomorrow, interesting.

Yes, it could conjure up unpleasant and even nightmarish memories, I'm sure.