The following was written earlier today for my first speaking opportunity tonight with a small group from Cross View Church…
But before you read, check out a brand new endorsement at http://www.lesfergusonjr.com/endorsements/
When People hurt…
I suspect you know at least some of my story.
- It is graphic, horrific, shocking, disgusting… well, you can come up with your own words too.
- It involved abuse, betrayal, drugs, rape, and four bullets–two murders execution style.
- We will deal with the implications of what culminated on October 10, 2011 for the rest of our lives.
It’s not just the death of a wife, daughter, mother, and sister… It’s not just the death of a son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin.
- Those things happened. And they are far worse than you can imagine.
- The hardest part is not exactly dealing with the loss. Don’t get me wrong. The loss is hard. I feel it every day. Yesterday was my birthday. And nobody anywhere could have given me what I really truly wanted… to spend the day with my boy. To laugh and aggravate and tease…
Loss is hard. But living with the aftermath is hardest still.
- The easiest thing to do would have been to check out… to end the pain.
- The road forward is difficult. And for me, the ripples just don’t ever seem to end.
We lost emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally–those are things you expect.
But what do you do when the loss becomes so much more?
- When your financial stability goes away?
- When your health is affected?
- When your credit is destroyed?
- When your job and career are lost?
- When you realize people don’t care as much about you as what you do for them?
Even worse, what do you do when your children are rewired by tragedy and you have no ability to undo the damage?
And finally, what do you do when the very fabric of who you are is ripped away and you have to rediscover, recreate, reinvent a whole new life?
Welcome to my world. I sincerely hope you never have to join it.
As I walk this sometimes lonely path–please don’t get me wrong–I am very happy with my wife, with our family, with the life we are trying to build… But, I am in great need of patience. Because I can’t yet be where I once was, it sometimes feels very lonely outside the success I used to enjoy. I need to learn patience with myself–the rebuilding is not happening overnight. And I need others to be patient with me as I constantly try to keep my footing and find my way.
As much as I would like to believe I am the only person struggling, the truth is there are people in every direction who are hurting, struggling, and maybe even at the point of giving up.
You know people like that. You know people who are afraid to reveal just how much they hurt and struggle.
Chances are, you may be that person too…
What can you do? What can we do to help?
I thought you’d never ask…
Matthew 22:34-40, Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In my past life as a preacher, I always taught this passage in a simplified version: Love God; love others.
Loving God could only really be expressed appropriately by loving others.
How do you do that? Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action. So in any situation, you give, help, recognize, and meet the needs of others before yourself..
But what about when someone is hurting? When life has stuck a blow almost too hard to comprehend? What do you do when the pain is self-inflicted through bad decisions and wrong priorities?
Maybe we should also ask, if somebody is hurting, does it really matter whose fault it is?
No. The answer is no. Pain doesn’t differentiate and neither should we.
So what do you do?
For the most part, we have four choices.
The easiest to do is judging. And when we judge, guess what we try to do next? Fix it (because the person in pain obviously is incapable of doing it themselves). Guys, ask yourself how many times you tried to fix a problem for your significant other and judged them in the process?
Judging is easy until we find ourselves in the same place–and discover for ourselves that some things cannot be fixed.
So that leaves us with loving and helping. Loving may not mean anything else but sitting quietly and being available. If you put yourself in the position of loving, then a way to help ease the burden, not fix it, will make itself known.
I sometimes hear people say they aren’t very compassionate… I don’t believe it for a minute. However, if they could tamp down their inclination to judge and fix, they (we) might be surprised at just how compassionate they (we) can be…
I am trying to listen to my own advice… How can I help you?