Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bewildering Advice and Warped Beliefs

Ok, back to the bewildering advice.... 

I was hoping to do a more legible entry on what I thought and why I disagreed with this professional who stated that I should not tell him anything of what is going on as I would be "cursing my marriage" and responsible for destroying it.  This was said in answer to an honest question I had about two things:

1. How am I to respond in moments when I face the explosion anger that is out of control?  How to I react then in a godly way that is helpful and could possibly neutralize the situation?

2. How do I deal with the pain from the things he has said in previous times of anger?  I am finding that those horrible things he has said (and never apologized for later) come to my mind when he is angry again, and hurt all over again.  I wanted a way to know how to deal with that build up of pain.

In order to do this, I would have needed to give a few examples of what has happened in an anger situation, and what types of things have been said.  Without those, this professional would only be working on "my husband get angry" and not have the whole picture.  Then his interpretation of "gets angry" may be widely different than mine, and he may give me such useless advice as "try to submit more to what he wants" and "just to keep the house cleaner, and I am sure things will be fine".  (Sadly, both pieces of advice I have been given during my attempts to find help.)  When you have a man so angry that he will tell his wife that the world is a better place without her, telling her to "try to submit more to what he wants" is singularly unhelpful!

Yet, he stopped me right away after those questions when I wanted to say what is really happening.  He told me, "No.  Stop.  Do not say what he has done or what he has said.  The power of life and death is in the tongue, and you will be cursing your marriage and destroying it.  You need to only speak blessings about your marriage and speak good of your husband.  You need to spend more time praying for your husband, only good things, and thanking God for his wisdom in choosing this man to be your husband and for the blessing he is."


I doubt God is deceived even if I only speak good things.  Don't get me wrong, there are many good things about him, and there are things to give thanks for.  But there are also serious issues to be discussed, too.

I told the man that I do pray blessings on my husband.  He flat out told me, "I do not believe you."  Why?  Because I was going to tell him something bad, and he believes that if I am going to speak about the bad that has been done, I could not honestly be praying blessings.


I took a quiet deep breath to calm myself and calmly informed him that I do pray blessings on my husband and that his belief or lack of belief does not alter the truth.

He didn't believe me and sent me on my way with a warning not to seek any counseling if it meant I was going to tell someone what was going on as then "I would be responsible for destroying my marriage."


I took some time to think on this - interrupted by quite a few deaths.  Then I got the man's report that he planned to send to our field director.  It had quite a few errors where he wasn't listening.  At one point I had said that on one occasion when I was a child a certain person had touched me once.  He wrote in his report that I had had an on-going, two year long sexual abuse from this person.  It left me scratching my head.... huh?  He had asked about my childhood fitting in with my peers, and I told him I had friends and was sociable.  The only time I had problems was when I was in sixth grade, I came back to the US and went to a school that believed children should play within their grade level, and they were always scolding me for not playing within my grade level.  The problem was, I was two years ahead in school, so I was not 11, I was 9.  The sixth graders were all discussing boys which I thought was absolutely disgusting, and I wanted to play on the slide - with other nine year olds!  I could never figure out why the school could not understand that I was actually acting appropriately and playing within my AGE level.  Well, sure enough, he wrote down that I was playing with children two years younger than me and it was an issue.

Sigh...  well, it did tell me that listening was not his strong point.  There were some other issues regarding my husband's level of anger that he had wrong, too.  So I wrote him back a very simple, factual correction of those mistakes, all easily cataloged as to where to find them in his document (my time spent editing years before.)  These were mistakes he made on a session which he had with me individually and assured me of confidentiality.

You know what he did next?  He thanked me for the corrections, and sent that thank-you back to me, AND to my husband ALONG WITH the letter I had sent him with confidential information in it - that he had promised confidentiality on.  And, no, it was not a mistake, because if he had only hit reply, it was from my personal account.  He actually had to ADD a second recipient of my husband.

I was appalled.  Ok, it isn't as if I have great secrets in my past that no one knows.  I am fine with telling anyone about those... but it was the fairly open remarks that I had made about the level of anger - remarks that I would have never made in front of my husband because I would be afraid of the consequences.  True comments, but when one lives with anger, one walks carefully.  Those are the issues that became an issue.

I am beginning to think that there are no good Christian counselors out there in the world.

I thought about why I disagreed with his comments about never speaking bad that is happening.  He used one verse.  Just one.  The Bible also talks about the truth setting us free, about walking in the light, about nothing being hidden.

But there is more.  There is truth in what we say has power.  Just like there are truths in many beliefs people have, but if those truths are carried beyond what they were intended or emphasized to the detriment of other truths, you have a warped view.

What we say does have power.  But we are not God, and our words are not some magic spells.  It seems that some believers have taken the truth that there is power in our confession and power in our prayers to an extreme.  I don't know what the official name for it is, but privately I call them "speakers".  They are always speaking good, even good that is not yet, and refusing to ever say anything bad in the belief that if they don't say bad, that it won't be.  I've seen one friend running a fever and with a awful flu saying clearly that she is healthy and whole and God has given her a spirit of power and health to her bones.  I told her she looked sick, but she said, "don't say that, so I won't be."

My words have power as long as they line up with God's actual will... My words do not have power if I find a verse that I like how I apply it to my life and then keep speaking that loud as if it will have magical power on my life.  Sometimes, even if we do not like it, God allows His people to suffer, to get sick, to be imprisoned, to be killed.

I lost a number of friends in a deliberate murder on the mission field.  They died.  Even if I had been there and refused to say that they were dead and spoke life and healing over them, they were still dead.  God allows evil - not because He is evil, not because we do not believe enough, not because He is not strong enough, but He does allow it.  I'd love to understand all the why's, but I don't and I doubt any of us do.  I know that when we chose sin (as all of us did), we allowed evil in this world, and we all live with the consequences.  I know that God gives us all a free will.  We are allowed to make our own choices - even bad ones.  So I know that no matter how many blessings and positive things I speak aloud over my marriage, I serve a God who respects our right to make choices.  He will not force my husband to do anything.  When I am tempted to be angry about that, I chose to remember that this is the same God who did not force me to heal, but allowed me the freedom to chose and was gentle with me.

So while I firmly believe in blessings and understand cursing, I do not believe that my words hold the final power in the world, and I believe that truth, spoken carefully in the right settings, will not curse or destroy.  In reality, we have to start with truth.  God says that those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.  

Thinking about it, I think about what I told the professional - that his belief or lack of belief (about me praying for my husband) does not alter the truth.  I think it is the same with us.  Our belief or lack of belief does not alter God's power.  God may chose to act in response to our belief or He may chose not to act in response to our unbelief, but our belief or unbelief itself does not alter God's power.... or His love... or His character, come to think of it.

So I will move on, and I will attempt to seek some counseling (on my own!) which can answer those two questions I have because I think they are what is key to me being able to do two things - survive well, and be of some help in the situation.

I actually told my leadership today that I am finished with joint counseling at the present time until I have time to heal and learn the answers to my questions.  If all joint counseling is going to be is "bashing me with an audience", it is not helpful.  I come out of it emotionally battered and bruised, and nothing has been accomplished.  I don't know what they will think of that, but in the end, it really doesn't matter.  I need to know how to respond to anger and how to deal with pain before I can be a constructive person in this process to hopefully bring healing.

And yes, that may have to include a time or two where I give an example of what has actually happened and what has actually been said.

No comments: