Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

How Time Heals

July 7, 2010 2 comments

Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a recovering self-help junkie. 

Henri Nouwen again, from a daily email I receive…

“Time heals,” people often say. This is not true when it means that we will eventually forget the wounds inflicted on us and be able to live on as if nothing happened. That is not really healing; it is simply ignoring reality. But when the expression “time heals” means that faithfulness in a difficult relationship can lead us to a deeper understanding of the ways we have hurt each other, then there is much truth in it. “Time heals” implies not passively waiting but actively working with our pain and trusting in the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Categories: faith, God, relationships, religion Tags:

Perfect Love

June 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a recovering self-help junkie. 

A follow up to my last post…

“Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.

In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God’s unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within us.” ~Henri Nouwen

Lord—help us trust your love, help us love like you, and help us appreciate your love no matter who else loves us.

Categories: relationships, Uncategorized Tags:

Love Can Bite You and Leave Teeth Marks

June 12, 2010 1 comment
Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a recovering self-help junkie. 
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love.” ~Mother Teresa
I’ve spent over half of an average lifetime to get here and it isn’t quite where I had planned to be at the marker called my mid-life moment. That is, where I sit tonight staring at this computer monitor, writing once again. But I’ve learned more lessons than I’d anticipated, traveling the road to this street I’m parked on named Right Now.
I’ve learned that what you thought was love can turn up empty, and that the people you never guessed would love you can. I’ve learned that those you were sure as death and taxes would love you, are just as capable as anybody of failing to. I’ve learned that love is never devoid of risks, and love involves risk if anything.
Heartaches may not await the faint of heart when it comes to love, but the faint of heart inevitably die of a lonely one. 
I’ve also learned once again that while love can be deep, life is fragile and can turn on a dime. I’ve had my precious writer friend and new found mentor sucumb to his sudden bout with terminal cancer, my best buddy from high school hang himself after losing the fight of his life with depression, and a close comrade fall prey to a longstanding battle with infidelity and in turn found myself on the other end of the phone as I listened to his wife of 30 years weep tears of agony and sorrow in return. All this—within the last three months. Friends I have loved and hurts that have followed.
It’s these types of harsh and puzzling happenings that feed my fears and fuel my doubts about love. Because had I never loved, I wouldn’t have been hurt. And when I am hurt the questions surface.
C.S. Lewis writes, “To love is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of coffin of your selfishness.  But in the casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.  The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
Lewis continues, “If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not.  We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering  hem to Him; throwing away all defensive armour.  If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this way in which they should break, so be it.”  
It’s safe to say that a life spent trying to protect oneself from being hurt will turn out to be a life which never knows the joy of what it is to love or to be loved. And you can take this to the bank—if you want a love that puts a spring in your step and makes your heart skip a beat it’ll never happen if you’re not willing to risk being hurt and love first.
Yes, love can bite you and leave teeth marks.
But only love can heal you.         
Categories: relationships Tags:

All the Wrong Worship

February 24, 2009 Leave a comment


Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.  ~Augustine

If I see her image on Yahoo News one more time when I log into my email I am going to explode.  The sickening fascination with Angelina Jolie is maddening.  I can’t imagine that I am the only one who doesn’t care about whether Jolie and her jet-setting husband prefer a bidet to compliment their traditional toilet.  It’s insane. 

Worship at the alter of Hollywood is unprecedented.

We worship our bodies, our sports, our entertainment, our money, our hobbies, our pets, our houses, our sex, and even our kids, before we do God.  Man and all his trappings get our attention over a loving, holy, and all-powerful God.    

Disease of every sort and every ailment known to man abounds—with the worst being a poverty of the soul that only the worship of God can satisfy.

So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!

Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.  ~Romans 1:24-27, The Message

Loving Me No Matter

February 20, 2009 1 comment

…before I get labeled as “metrosexual” by my buddies, let me explain first.

This video is a little on the girly side I will admit. But the lyrics speak to me. When I bumped ino this song a couple years back I was really wrestling with doubts about God’s love for me. I was all alone. I had just went through the coldest spell in my life—I felt terribly abandoned and forgoten. Tossed aside and unappreciated. And I realized during that season that I needed to reawaken to a love stronger than any I had ever experienced on earth.

It is this love above a human love—that defines, empowers, and carries me.

And while I may not build an argument theologically based on these lyrics, the message is powerful nonetheless. 

This song kind of details the sort of love I am talking about.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My Friend Nate Larkin

February 20, 2009 Leave a comment

The following clip is hardcore.  I don’t mean the content is x rated, it’s what Nate talks about that might be shocking for some of you.  Nate is a dear friend of mine, and he, with a group of fellow pilgrims, has launched a movement that is spreading like wildfire across the country the last several years called Samson Society (friendship and discipleship for men). 

Mind you, not every guy in the group battles with pornography, it might be some deep-seated insecurities one is struggling with.  So, while our issues concerning recovery may differ, all of us have our own set of personal demons to face and deal with. 

Starting With Forgiveness

February 9, 2009 5 comments

2245880137_b7dc95bcc6_oIn the world, forgiveness is the end of a process. In the church, it is the beginning of a process.  ~Dr. George Grant 

Investigators picking through the wreckage of broken homes more often than not conclude that an unwillingness to forgive is the usual suspect.  Like a smoke detector that “looks” like it is in perfect working order but is as broken as a shattered mirror, a forgiveness that is in working order means a great deal more than saying “I forgive you.” 

Genuine forgiveness means extending a mercy that is neither earned nor easy to give.  It means starving your ego and putting your pointed finger in your pocket.  It means rolling out the red carpet for a scoundrel instead of jerking it out from underneath of a dirty rotten nobody.  It means letting the guilty get off scot-free as far as it concerns you.  Forgiving anyone, especially someone close to you, can be quite excruciating actually, and even humiliating when you really forgive.  But the joy found in forgiving a guilty party far and above outweighs the embarrassment you might suffer in offering it.

If you have practiced any semblance of the kind of  forgiveness God extends to those who trust in his mercy, you know exactly what I am talking about!

When the imperative step of forgiveness is skipped when it is necessary, disaster is close around the next corner for any relationship.  Forgiveness is so vital that doctors have dedicated endless hours to the study of what effects it has on a person when they fail to forgive.  George Grant, who I quote above, walked a very treacherous stretch of road with me, a road I veered off a number of times.  At a time I couldn’t barely lift my head high enough to see above the rim of the emotional dumpster I felt trapped in, George was a constant voice for grace.  When all I felt like doing was cursing, George would remind me that, although not forgiving was an option, it was not an option if I was going to follow Jesus. 

At one point in the middle of a disastrous divorce that had me feeling as though a very possible option might be ending it all, George calmly told me, Ken, there is always the gospel.  You see, the message of the gospel is soaked in forgiveness if it is anything—a forgiveness from God towards us, and a forgiveness extended from us towards others.  Seeing that God has forgiven us for punishable crimes against his holiness, we have no right not to forgive our brother, our sister, our neighbor, our landlord—or even our sworn enemy.  No matter the offense, you and I have no claims on holding a grudge towards anyone.  Bitter pill to swallow I know—and do I know.    

God extends no clauses in scripture about any prerogatives on our part to harbor unforgiveness.  

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously (Jesus, Luke 6:27-30, The Message).

I think I will write in the coming days about the journey of forgiveness God has been taking me through.

See  Relationship Glue” over at Nullus Extra Cruem for more.

Whenever we refuse to forgive we can plan on a broken relationship every time.  The road to forgiveness inevitably begins with forgiveness.