Estrangements, divisions, separation, and rejection, now there’s a cheery subject!
So, I have had to deal with an incredible amount of relationship dysfunction, fractures, and family estrangements, to the point where constant rejection just became a way of life, something I couldn’t even see anymore because it became the very atmosphere all around me. Fish don’t know the water is wet, birds don’t realize flying is unusual, and so it goes.
My parents were divorced when I was 3 and of course the first thing they did was assure me that the other parent didn’t want me. So they planted some deep roots of rejection.
Their own families well, good grief, they are all about cancel culture, and I became the source of my parent’s dysfunction, therefore I was the cause of the problem.
I used to pray for restoration. I used to try to win people’s approval. I used to send everybody Christmas cards. I used to think I could fix it. Than I thought, Well, God can fix it. He totally could too, but He didn’t.
Something that really blessed me, the Bible says, “preserve the unity.” Unity is a given, a gift, an established reality. We are not called to fix it, make it, force it, or restore it. Our restoration happened 2000 years ago on the cross.
I spent years praying for restoration, for healing, for restored relationships. At some point God told me that restoration was already accomplished, that it was a done deal, that the only relationship we need to restore is the one we have with Him.
That’s some strong meat, that’s a tough one to swallow, or at least it was for me. Matthew 19:29 says, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”
Children?! I had a good fight with the Lord over that one for months. What kind of a God would ask you to let go of your children and put Him first? I get it now, but at one time I did not understand. In truth, the best thing you can do for your children is to put God first in your life. People who put God first in their life are healthy people. Relationships with them are easy. Love multiplies and expands, it radiates outward. The more you put God first, the more you prioritize your own relationship with the Lord, the more you have to give away.
The Bible also says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” I really like how that is worded. If possible, only so much as it depends on you. We are only about 1/3 of the equation. You can’t “make” it happen, because it isn’t all about you. There is another person’s will and God in there.
There’s some more tough meat, “it isn’t all about you.” I’m laughing here, but it’s really true and the path towards some peace in your soul. Those aren’t mean words at all, they are gentle and kind and designed to set you free.
At some point I have learned how to make space for estrangements and divisions. I don’t like it at all! Separation is painful and I don’t think it’s right. I think we were designed for relationship and connection, I think God gifted us with unity, but we put up walls, we stand on the garden hose and stop the flow, we fail to preserve what we have been freely given, both in our relationships with Him and with other people.
Eventually I have gotten to the point where I am grateful for some divisions, some estrangements. I have a sister who is pretty messed up, there has to be some strong boundaries there or she’ll knock me out. She is currently in jail which is a literal separation, a division, and also, jail is the best thing for her, right where she needs to be at this time in her life. A gift.
There are other assorted people, some toxic and some just needing space, and still others who are broken and wrong. Really wrong. The best thing I can do for them is to just stand in the truth. Yes, “for” them. That is how you minister to people who are really wrong, you stand like a lighthouse in the fog, so they can make their way to shore.
Or not, their choice.
There’s a huge difference between standing in the goodness of God, standing in His truth, His peace, and His restoration, versus just standing in your own ego. The truth is not a thing, it is not a set of doctrines, He is a person. “I am the way and the truth and the life.”