Resolution or Repetition
"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well [made whole]?'"1
A Daily Encounter reader whom I will call Janice wrote, "I am at my wit’s end, please I need your help. I was sexually abused by a family member from the age of 6 years to 13 years old and then he died. I was always the child who was either fighting with the neighbors, my brother or sisters, and this led to getting a thrashing with a belt on many a night. I fell pregnant at the age of 18, a year out of school, and got married …."
Janice's marriage was a disaster—with abuse, rejection, affairs. She was divorced … remarried … another disaster … divorced again … married again … another disaster … another divorce … 'same man' only with different names.
While Janice's story is extreme, she is not alone. I have taught in divorce and grief recovery workshops for a number of years and have seen too many singles repeat the same mistake over and over.
As I said to Janice (and have written many times), what we don't resolve we are destined to repeat. We have two choices—either resolution or repetition.
We need to realize that we are basically attracted to other people (especially romantically) on the basis of who we are. The one I am attracted to is a match of me in that "the bumps on my head match the holes in her head." All too soon I begin to see the holes in her head, but fail to see the bumps on mine!
Because Janice was abused as a child and a teenager, she is drawn to abusive men—in an unconscious attempt to "make things right this time." It never works.
As painful as it is to admit, we are as sick (or as healthy) as the people we are attracted to. Until we admit this and look at the bumps/holes on/in our head and quit blaming our partner for our relational difficulties, and get into a healthy recovery program, chances are that we will continue to keep repeating the same mistakes.
The important thing to realize is not to look for the right partner but to become the right partner, for only happy, healthy people find happy, healthy partners. Furthermore, only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, actions, attitudes, and relationships become wholesome. Realize too, that while God wants us to be made whole, He usually works through others to do this. We were damaged in damaging relationships and find healing in healing relationships.
If you (or someone you know) can identify in some way with Janice, I urge you to seek wise counseling to help you face and resolve the issues in your life that are causing you to have failed or unsatisfying relationships. Life is too short to live in the constant pain of impaired and hurtful relationships. Such can not only destroy the quality of your life, but also take years off your life.
If you live in North America and need the name of a Christian counselor in your area, call the Narramore Christian Foundation for a counselor near you. The number is 1-800-477-5893 Ex 227. Or ask a local pastor you trust to recommend a fine Christian professional counselor in your area. Don't delay. Make that call today.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to grow and become whole in every area of life so that my life and relationships will be truly wholesome. May I settle for nothing less. And please lead me to the counseling I need to help me so that my life will become a living testimony of Your saving power and help. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. John 5:6 (NIV).