Monday, June 16, 2014

Reaffirming Love

Which one am I doing?

“I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you…..  Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him.  Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement.  So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”  2Cor. 2:5-8  NLT

I would have never thought that when I first held David in my arms that I’d be part of a family that personally is touched by one of their own being an UNDESIRABLE in society.  He was a “normal” child.  At least we thought he was. Looking back, there were signs of things to come.  Things started changing in his mid- teens.  At first we thought he was just hanging out with the wrong kids and/or making bad choices.  There was some of that, but this went a whole lot deeper.  As time progressed, and his Borderline Personality Disorder got worse, there was more and more trouble which caused more and more HURT.  Many people ran the other way when his Disorder manifested itself at their expense. 

If anyone knows even the smallest bit about someone with this disorder, there’s a lot of insecurity attached with it.  How does one decide when to let them fall, when to pick them up, who to tell, how to protect the rest of the family, and so on.  It’s a constant pray for discernment every day.

I remember one such time when David was down and discouraged.  He was in his 20’s and living somewhere in Waukesha with a new friend after a short time of homelessness.  He had little money and hardly any food.  I picked him up, took him to the food pantry, got him some groceries, took him to lunch, and just hung out with him for a little bit.  I felt like it was a pretty good day for both of us.  He seemed to be making some better choices.

A few days later I saw him again and he was already out of food.  He had sold some of the food to buy alcohol.  I knew how I reacted to this news was critical.  I was disappointed and hurt and realized that even if I didn’t give him money, he’d find a way to get what he wanted.  Why this surprised me, I have no idea, since David was resourceful to say the least.  Anyway, back to the story.

Instead of reacting negatively, I simply ignored the situation as if it didn’t happen.  I could tell David was not in a place to receive anything and he was quite discouraged.  Besides that, what would it have accomplished for me to come down on him?  He already knew how I felt and was feeling the guilt without me having to say anything.  We had some conversation, I did go with him for a few more groceries, and I tried to encourage him. 

One thing I always told him is that we all mess up, but that doesn’t mean to give up. 

If you notice the verse says “REAFFIRM your love”.  That tells me that the person that caused the trouble is someone that you know and love already.  When mental illness touched our family it displayed some pretty ugly stuff.  How our family reacted was very important to helping or hurting David.  It’s a huge responsibility that we never asked for and never thought we'd have to make.  

But it’s there and you and I have choices put in front of us every day. 

You can choose to give up or not.
You choose how you react to the situation.
You choose whether to discourage or encourage the person.
You choose whether to seek God every day and in every moment.
You can choose to forgive the person or hold it against them.

There are many choices set before you and me.  What do I choose?  What do you choose?
Prayer:  Lord, Help me to discern what to do or not do when I am hurt by someone I care about.  Remind me that I am no better, help me to make good choices, and help me to forgive and know how to encourage, comfort, and reaffirm my love for that person. 

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Photo courtesy of: ~ Stuart Miles, image 10095110

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