My 14yo son was born with a rare birth defect. It has about a 50% survival rate. That same month, a friend of mine gave birth to a son who also had a rare birt defect. Her son did not live. Near what would have been her son’s second birthday she went to church one Sunday. As she walked out of church and shook her pastor’s hand, my friend was admonished to “get over her son’s death and move on.”
From the least to the so-called greatest of us, we believe there is a timetable to heal. As I have spent 47 years observing the behaviors and attitudes of people in the church I have noticed that the timetable we set up for others to heal is directly correlated to our level of compassion. Which in turn is directly related to our interpretation of Scripture.
Is our view of God’s words to us cruel and harsh? Do we believe that God created us for suffering and that the only way our hardened hearts can be changed is if God breaks us, crushes us?
Is our view of God’s words to us just that? God’s words to US? Do his kindnesses and mercies extend only to us and to people who act like us and believe like us? Does God shun those who step out of line?
Is our view of God’s words to us nothing more than words of encouragement for higher living? Is suffering just an upgrade to our next level of holiness?
All of these (and more I’ve left out) require a time limit to others healing.
We require a timetable, imo, because we don’t actually like parts of God’s words to us. We don’t like the times he says to weep with those who weep. We don’t like those times when he says to comfort the suffering and care for the outcast. And we really, really don’t like that we are commanded to keep the law by bearing one another’s burdens. In fact, I have come to see that this is the least favorite verse of most Christians.
When we avert our eyes from the social media photo from the mom who posted a “back to school” photo of an empty porch where her daughter should have stood, when we tell our friend who had a miscarriage that posting a selfie after the fact is probably inappropriate, we have determined a timetable for others to heal. A timetable that makes us comfortable…and leaves the broken even moreso.
We claim to love the portion of Scripture where it is declared I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But we refuse to do just that with others who need to heal. Or, worse, we use that verse as a weapon against them in their darkest hour. All because we lack the maturity we are commanded to attain. Instead calling conformity to our church maturity. No one ever heals in those situations. We just shove it down deep and pretend to be like everyone else.
Linking up with Five Minute Friday.