Stretch Out Your Hand

 

When a person refuses to discuss his or her grievances in person and/or refuses to hear the other side of an argument that has developed during a conflict that has arisen,  what can be done?

I don’t think that anything can be done until the person refusing to talk it out is willing to sit down and discuss the grievances that exist.  Silence is not a solution.  Staying angry, playing games of trite types of communication (e.g. emailing someone, getting a reply from that person, then not replying back for several days or weeks) isn’t helpful; it’s harmful.  Continuing to ignore the requests for conversation with the hope for conflict resolution with the people involved is not a solution.

Someone I know tried to re-establish communications with her son through her daughter-in-law.  Apparently, both of them have been ignoring her plea (as well as the pleas from her husband and their daughter, the son’s sister) for dialogue for five weeks now.  The mom thought that if she could touch the heart of her daughter-in-law, maybe her son would consider speaking with his mom again.  Here is what she wrote (with name changes as requested):

Dear Aurora,

Since Carey has blocked me (on text, email, phone calls and Facebook) I am appealing to you to encourage him to talk with us.  His request to avoid “unhealthy communication” and to not cross certain “boundaries” can easily be discussed and resolved, but not when communication of any kind is completely cut off.  In the spirit of the celebration of our dear Savior’s birth, it is my prayer and hope that you and Carey can forgive us and be willing to start healing.

I pray you will join me in claiming 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18.  When people intentionally or unintentionally hurt us, as Christians we are not to repay by hurting them back, but rather to “always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”  Verse 5:18 says, “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

God bless and hope to see you and Carey soon.

In Jesus,

Mom 

Unfortunately, the mom thinks that maybe her daughter-in-law also blocked her on email, phone, text, and Facebook; so that message didn’t make it through.

What can be done when there is no modicum for respect left for this mom, dad, and the rest of the family?

The term “anger” appears in the NKJV of the Bible 233 times in 228 verses.  In the New Testament we are told:

I think that one of the most interesting accounts regarding “anger” and one that can be a lesson for the “hardness of hearts” that can happen within family disputes, is in Mark 3:1-6. This portion of Scripture is about Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. Take special note of what the Pharisees did as a result of the healing.

Mar 3:1


And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.

Mar 3:2
So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

Mar 3:3
And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”

Mar 3:4
Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.

Mar 3:5
And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.[fn]

Mar 3:6
Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

The Pharisees hated Jesus, and despite the miracle that they had just witnessed, their anger towards God’s Son made their hearts so hardened that all they wanted to do was to plot how they might destroy Him!  See how easily anger can be turned into sin?

David Guzik’s commentary on this portion of Scripture gives us more insight.

Here is a relevant part of the commentary:

Quote:

a. A man was there who had a withered hand: “The man’s hand was withered, but God’s mercy had still preserved to him the use of his feet: he uses them to bring him to the public worship of God, and Jesus meets and heals him there. How true is the proverb – It is never so all with us, but it might be much worse!” (Clarke)

b. They watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath: The critics of Jesus expected Him to heal this man with the withered hand. By their expectation, they admitted that Jesus had the power of God to work miracles. Knowing this, they watched Him closely… so that they might accuse Him. They knew what Jesus could do, yet their knowledge didn’t draw them to Jesus. It was as if a man could fly, but the authorities wanted to know if he had a pilot’s license.

i. The religious leaders watched Jesus closely but with no heart of love for Him. They knew about Jesus, but they did not know Him.

ii. They also knew Jesus would do something when He saw this man in need. In this sense, these critics had more faith than many of us, because we sometimes doubt that Jesus wants to meet the needs of others.

c. Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill? In His question to the religious leaders, Jesus emphasized the truth about the Sabbath: there is never a wrong day to do something truly good.

i. According to their Sabbath traditions, if you cut your finger, you could stop the bleeding – but you could not put ointment on the cut. You could stop it from getting worse, but you weren’t allowed to make it better.

d. He had looked around them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts: This is one of the few places where Jesus is described as having anger, and He was angry at the hardness of men’s hearts.

i. Jesus was angry because this was a perfect opportunity for these critics of His to change their minds about Him and their traditions. But they refused to change their minds, and rejected Jesus instead. In this we can see that Jesus deliberately used this occasion to provoke a response. Jesus could have done this the next day. Jesus could have done it privately. But He chose to do it at this time and place.

e. Stretch out your hand: In this, Jesus commanded the man with the withered hand to do something impossible – to move his paralyzed hand. But as the man put forth effort, God did the rest. God never commands us without enabling us.

i. “This man might have reasoned thus: ‘Lord, my hand is withered; how then can I stretch it out? Make it whole first, and afterwards I will do as thou commandest.’ This may appear reasonable, but in his case it would have been foolishness. At the command of the Lord he made the effort, and in making it the cure was effected!” (Clarke)

f. The Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him: Jesus did nothing but a wonderful miracle. In response, two parties of former enemies (the Pharisees and the Herodians) agreed together in one cause: to destroy Jesus.

i. “The Herodians were not a religious party; they were a group of Jews who were sympathetic to King Herod and supported his rule.” (Wiersbe) /unquote

*******

So, how does this relate to the anger of the son towards his family for “unhealthy communications” and crossing “boundaries?”

In this way.  The son, just like the man with the withered hand, must make the first move to reap the rewards of healing.

Note, again:

e. Stretch out your hand: In this, Jesus commanded the man with the withered hand to do something impossible – to move his paralyzed hand. But as the man put forth effort, God did the rest. God never commands us without enabling us.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “Stretch Out Your Hand”

  1. On Family Loyalty and Christian Discipleship | Talk Wisdom Says:

    […] I had written in the case of Aurora and Carey, outstretched hands and the willingness of communicating with estranged family members requires […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: