Truth is Truth

"You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me." - Psalm 40:11 This is a sometimes monthly column concerning the truth of Christ Jesus and the issues that face our world as published in various newspapers and journals by Pastor Dave Seaford. You can return to the home page of the church by going to:

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Location: Redway, California, United States

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When Other People’s Crisis Bleed into Your Life

Have you ever noticed that your own mess does not bother you nearly as bad as trying to deal with other people’s mess? There are a number of reasons for this and if we are going to deal with these stressors brought on by others effectively, we will need to understand both the nature of, and our response to these crisis situations.

The fact is that the very thing we treasure so highly is the very cause of all of the stress in our lives. What is that precious treasure? It is man’s free will, our freedom to make choices in our lives. Now it is not so bad when the hardship that we are dealing with is brought on by a choice that we can correct and thus head off further destruction, but when that course seems to either be too long lived to do anything about, or in the hands of others that really have no desire to change, or just don’t care that you are going through what you are, it can seem devastating.

Probably some of the most destructive forms of this callousness is seen in alcoholics, drug users and even more blatantly those that would be so uncaring as to spread STD’s in their passion for power. In some sense all of the people involved in these kinds of activities are blind and/or numb to the dominos that they have put in motion. The pain and suffering they cause to all that are around them is real. But the pain and suffering of others does not seem to bother the “escapist,” the “devastated” or the “power hungry”. These are the three categories of people that cause the most destruction in their own, and other people’s lives.

The escapist is the person that just wants to “escape” reality at any cost. These are people that revert to alcohol, chemical and substance abuse. Somehow these folks are just unable to deal with living and they feel their only recourse is to attempt to escape.

The next group is the “devastated.” These folks having been devastated, receive that as an example for living and feel they have to give as much hurt as they receive, just to relieve the tension and the stress from their own life. These people sense the need to get rid of the pressure but just don’t understand healthy ways to work through the harm that was perpetrated on them. While we don’t have space here to go into detail, the very best way to heal the hurt in ones self is to help heal the hurt in others.

Lastly the “power hungry” are folks that have prioritized the acquisition of power over any acquiescence to people. In other words this person hungers for power and it does not matter that he may hurt people in the process. Its just all in a days work. The root of this issue is a self love that overshadows any form of genuine love for others.

Having been raised by an alcoholic and prescription drug addict, I have the credentials to speak to the subject with some authority. Further, as a pastor, I have personally witnessed many lives destroyed and many others left seriously wounded by those only focused on the next “escape” or the next “power fix”. Sometimes these situations are dangerous and people have to respond quickly and appropriately to protect themselves and others. Other times however people in typical knee jerk form move in nothing more than a “reaction” to resolve their immediate problem, without consideration of what the long term results may be. It is important to step back, breath deep and in an effort to remove yourself from that emotion, try to ask yourself how you would advise someone else going through this same circumstance. My advice is always the same: “go to the word of God.”

Most of us have in our possession, the great “Answer Book” and yet we will strike at the wind and do many other equally ridiculous things in an effort to both justify ourselves and get back at the one that has hurt us so deeply. As a result we add to the destruction and compound the problems in ways that we could not have imagined, when we recklessly CHOSE to respond the way that we did.

So here is the bottom line. Some things we can not control and those we must choose to deal with Biblically if we are to avoid the most common pitfalls of man. Others we can control and this is true 100% of the time with regard to how we respond to crisis. If we have brought it on ourselves, we can seek as best we can to set things right. The problem with this is that the longer the event goes on unaddressed, the harder emotionally it is to go back. But when it comes to the question of your pride or your relationships, it really should not even be a question. Sadly, the reality is that pride often wins out!

From the Christian perspective where are we to begin? First understand that Christ is with you always. Now if you really think about that, it is a daunting thought. But it is also a very reassuring reality if you have put your trust in Him for today. We live in an age where self assurance is honored, dependency is dishonored and where a genuine trust of Christ for the next move can result in guys with white coats and nets pursuing us.

Oh, it is true that if you are trusting Christ in the good time that others will applaud your great faith. But when crisis hits and all seems out of control the world will belittle and chide that faith as a failure if your health fails, your money gives out or your friends desert you. But hang on. Matthew 5:11 says “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and speak all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven…”. Keep the faith. Know that God can deliver you if that is what is genuinely best for you, and that He will keep you in and through all things in the palm of His most powerful hand.