Monday, June 6, 2011

Repairs (Jeremy)

Our deepest problem is that we seek to find our identity outside the story of redemption.
                                                                                                        - Paul David Tripp

People that know me would never ask my opinion about home repair. I once attempted to patch a rather large hole in a wall with caulk. Cars are not my thing either. My wife still mocks me for the incredibly expensive "magic water" that a gas station attendant convinced me to buy when I had my radiator fluid changed. When it comes to problems, I prefer to deal with the arena of interpersonal relationships. But, I find two glaring issues in making a claim like this. First, no one wants to be fixed. Second, who am I to say that I can help?

These issues have surfaced in my mind following some remarkably painful stories that the guys have shared over the last few weeks regarding their pasts. From my experience, we are tempted to fill the wake of silence created by such confessions with one of two alternatives. The first is the quick fix. This is where I shrink another's problem to a manageable symptom of a treatable behavior. Then, I can give them some clear steps to eradicate this behavior from their lives. The second option is passing the buck. I may feel as if I don't have anything to offer so I refer this individual to someone who is more qualified to work with this type of person, thereby reinforcing the distance that this person already feels from those around him. In my mind, neither approach is a valid one. Instead, I think I'm learning that our approach must flow from a right understanding of the Tripp quote at the beginning of this post. Our responsibility is to help people find their story within the context of the redemptive work of a glorious God. While our role will look different in each person's story, the themes of dependence upon the Spirit, an awareness of your own brokenness, a turning towards God, a shared sense of pain and the commitment to walk beside should each be present in some form.

I ask that you please pray alongside us that God would redeem painful experiences, transforming them into a life-giving bridge that reaches into the struggles of others.

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