Loss & Pain & Redemption

About a month ago, I walked through a situation that I could only explain with one word: sad. So when I came to chapter 11 entitled “Boundaries with Sadness” in the book I’m reading (Boundaries For Your Soul), I was ready. 

Of my many highlighted quotes in the chapter, this was the most helpful:

It’s helpful to think of the causes of sadness in three categories: sadness as a response to the loss of something good, the loss of something bad, and the loss of what might have been.

Categories one and three I get and I’ve used to befriend my personal sadnesses recently. But category two tilted my head…until I read Maria’s story. 

Maria, a bright woman, dated an abusive, addicted man for four years. When asked, “What keeps you from leaving?” she answered honestly, “I don’t want to face the pain.” She had given four years of her life to loving someone who had hurt her repeatedly. A part of her didn’t want to accept the reality that she had wasted so much time on a destructive, dead-end relationship. So she was choosing the pain she knew over the pain she didn’t know – and was missing an opportunity to move forward with her life.

I instantly understood category two. Choosing the pain we know can be crippling. Most likely we don’t know this is what we are doing until someone or some happening makes it clear to us. The strength and comfort when we allow the Spirit of God to assist us in facing that unknown pain is worth embracing to free us to move forward and start over. 

However long it takes, the freed life-found by trusting God to help us face the unknown pain-awaits us. Rather than run from the sadness, we should turn into it. Why? Here’s a final quote from the chapter:

Pain becomes redemptive when it causes you to draw near to God and experience his power.

Living with Judas

10 Questions to ponder when you think you know a “Judas”:

  1. How am I praying for them?
  2. What role might I play in their redemption?
  3. Has anyone approached them with the truth?
  4. What is missing from my knowledge of their story that would help my encounters with them?
  5. What wholesome character traits are shown by their behaviors? What damaging traits?
  6. Has grace been offered? If so, is there room for more? When does the grace end?
  7. When will it be time to withdraw? What’s the line that when crossed severs the relationship?
  8. What may be the root of cyclical behavior?
  9. What choices do you have when no offense has occurred but their character indicates it’s just a matter of time?
  10. What does God want me to learn from this relationship?