Impelled to respond to a recent spate of high profile suicides in the press, I wrote this piece published yesterday on :Everyone longs to feel loved and embraced by good. But sometimes this sense of peace can seem out of reach. When someone we love ...

 

Helping those who feel cut off from love - csmonitor.com and more...




Helping those who feel cut off from love - csmonitor.com

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Impelled to respond to a recent spate of high profile suicides in the press, I wrote this piece published yesterday on csmonitor.com :

Everyone longs to feel loved and embraced by good. But sometimes this sense of peace can seem out of reach. When someone we love feels that way, it can be hard to know what to do or say to help. How can we help others find hope and healing, even at overwhelming times?

In wrestling with this question, I’ve been inspired by an experience a friend shared with me that took place some time ago, when a student in her Sunday School class, whose mother had recently died, sadly and firmly said that he wanted to go be with his mom. The depth of his yearning for her company was understandable, but the way it was surfacing was clearly troubling.

My friend wanted to give her student an answer that would go beyond simply trying to console him about the loss of his mother, as needed as that was. To learn what she did and how it helped, you may go to the original article.


      
 

Righting wrongs

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Many years ago I was wrongly accused of mistreating someone at work. I was horrified because the accusation was the exact opposite of my character. I didn’t know the accuser personally, but she overheard an abusive conversation and believed I was involved. At first I felt helpless to correct a he said/she said scenario. Then I remembered that if one wants to resolve problems quickly, the Bible can offer helpful insight.  So I turned to the book of Matthew, chapter 18, which discusses conflict resolution that can apply to work as well as personal relationships. For example, I read verse 15  which says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” ESV

That phrase “between you and him alone” caught my eye. I wanted to scream my innocence from the rooftop, not keep it between me and the one involved! The accusation had spread quickly through the organization, and I wanted the world to know it was false. But I considered why Jesus might have put that initial condition of confidentiality in this step towards healing. I recognized that keeping the issue between the accuser and me would require great self-discipline, especially because my feelings were hurt, and self-justification and injustice were pricking at me. But I didn’t want a false sense of ego to cloud my judgment of the situation. So I prayed with a listening heart to hear what the one divine Ego or God reflects in all of His children. I trusted God to show me the natural innate innocence and goodness of  the children of God, universal Good.  I sought the Christ perspective – that is the true idea of God and His creation – that would uncover and correct the lie. 


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As I continued to study chapter 18 of Matthew, I found that Jesus taught another lesson on the importance humility and childlikeness in healing. Matthew wrote, “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” (18:1)  I saw that the Kingdom of heaven could be read as the kingdom of Truth, of righteousness, of good. For me the question became, “Who will ultimately be seen as right?” Jesus called a little child to him. And he said to the disciples: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:2-5)

I understood this to be a call to know myself as God’s child, as strong and pure and innocent and good, the way God makes me and makes all His children. And Jesus compels us to extend this healing perspective to include every person in our path, including the “one such child” we may have a problem with. Until we see ourselves and others as God's good children we will never be completely right. But when we see the good and innocence in others and ourselves as the image and reflection of God, divine Good, the only Ego, suddenly everyone is on the same team! This better perspective smoothes the path for conversation and other human footsteps that can lead to righting wrongs directly, privately, quickly, lovingly, with forgiveness and without a big fuss.

 
In my case, as I quietly spoke with the accuser one-on-one, the misidentification was uncovered, the actual culprit was found and duly corrected, and the case was kindly and harmoniously resolved for everyone involved. Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) ESV  Prayer that gathers “two or three together” in the correct spiritual view of man as God’s child, opens all parties to the healing Christ. I have found it often only takes one person’s prayer to accomplish this. One individual prayer can gather together the healing perspective necessary to redress a wrong.  

      
 
 
 

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