Disciple Up #170
Reaching the Breaking Point
My commentary on my July Column of Parker Stripped
By Louie Marsh, 7-29-2020
I’ve been thinking about writing this column for quite a while now. But I’ve kept putting it off. In fact I actively looked for reasons not to write it. But it keeps coming up in many of my conversations and I see it all over the place, nearly everywhere I look in fact. So for better or worse I decided it was time to talk about the proverbial elephant in the room.
I say elephant in the room because I’m far from the only one who’s seen this. But most of us don’t seem to want to either admit to it or deal with it. So what am I talking about? Just this: The impact from our national shutdown, isolation from others, national unrest and the shifting “facts” we hear from day to day are taking a huge toll on almost all of us.
And its well past time we admitted it and began dealing with it.
Let me take just one recent conversation I’ve had as an example. A friend of mine had been commenting on how the people he worked with seemed have much shorter fuses than they used too. They were kind of grumpy and tense and just generally below par. This led to them to act in ways that a few short months ago he was sure they wouldn’t have.
I told him I’d seen a lot of that. Not only in other people but in myself as well. I said that being cut off from real, in person, socializing; not being able to hug or touch our loved ones and friends, was beginning to warp people in bad ways.
I don’t think any of us are thinking as clearly as we should be. Many of us, especially those of us who live alone, rarely if ever get to hug or touch another human being. We’ve been told for years how important human touch is and now we are finding out just how right all that information was!
This warping applies to our emotional states. Some people I know are more aggressive (if you don’t believe me just review your Facebook or Twitter feed, if you have one, and you’ll see what I mean). Others are quieter and depressed at their inability to do what we’ve always taken for granted. Like go to a store or hop on a plane or just visit friends.
If you still aren’t sure I’m right about all this try this little exercise in depression – try doing some long term planning. Good luck with that! (I confess that’s one of several things that really bugs me!)
Our world has changed in so many ways so quickly that we can’t really keep up. On top of that we have no trustworthy assurances when things will get back to normal, if they’ll ever get there at all! This uncertainty hangs over all our heads like (here’s another old cliché alert!) the Sword of Damocles. And like that fabled sword we don’t have any idea when it will fall, how it will fall or where it will fall.
To many of us it seems to be falling right now.
So what do we do about this on a personal level? How can I respond to this and, hopefully, find some much needed relief from all this pent up stress and pressure? Below are a few ideas to use as a starting point.
1) Admit that this really is bugging you. You are being affected and this is a real issue for you. (Starting a 12 step program for those dealing with 2020 Syndrome might not be a bad idea.) You can’t deal with any kind of problem or issue if you refuse to admit that it’s there.
2) Give Grace to everyone around you, including yourself. So we aren’t at our best right now. Instead of blaming or shaming or lashing out why not take a different approach? Why not offer some grace, some forgiveness, some understanding to others and yourself? We all need it, so we should all be giving it to others.
3) Make a life for yourself. How you’ll do this depends on your opinions on a variety of issues like masks and vaccines and a whole list of topics I’m not going to discuss here. My point is use your creativity and find a way to do meaningful, important activities and strengthen relationships in spite of all the road blocks strewn across our path.
4) Take the long, historical, view. For many Americans this will mean you’ll actually need to read some good history books. Remember we aren’t the first people to face a pandemic, and we certainly won’t be the last. Our ancestors faced far worse plagues with far less to fight them with, and they survived. If we can learn to look at life from a longer and wider perspective it’ll do us, and everyone around us good.
I realize it’s easier to write these things than to do them. I also know they are just a start. But everything has to start somewhere, so why not start now to deal with all of this and see where that road takes us?
VERSES WE NEED TO TAKE SERIOUSLY:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 (ESV)
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:13-20 (ESV)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1-6 (ESV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:7-12 (ESV)
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