Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.
One advantage of growing old is I’ve learned to waste less time being hurt by others. Everyone has feet of clay and sooner or later everyone is going to let you down. This is axiomatic, like the reality that if you jump off of the Empire State Building you will hit the ground. Stupid gravity. I don’t believe in it. No. Gravity doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. It has the power to overcome your unbelief. Being upset that loved ones hurt you is like being upset that the sun came up this morning at the wrong time. Like you have power over the sun. What a complete waste of time being upset about something you have no control over.
I’ve certainly wasted my time being too hurt by others. Sometimes I’m a little perturbed at myself for my own frailty of heart. It’s understandable that I might be hurt and I’m not trying to explain it away. I try to put it in perspective. As my dad has said many times:
In light of eternity this is no big deal.
In light of eternity. That is, if you believe in eternity. If you do, the hurt you have today might take on a little perspective. If you don’t you’ve got all your eggs in one basket and if this is the only basket than, well, yeah, you are going to be bummed for a long time.
It’s my job to give people a different perspective. In fact, when I was starting my therapy practice I toyed with the idea of calling it “New Perspective.” My mother-in-law even gave me a kaleidoscope for my office to symbolize the idea of looking at your problems differently. I still have it in my office and occasionally a client will ask about it and pick it up and look through it. You have to look at it with light in the background. It doesn’t work without the light. It’s the perfect therapy metaphor.
Sometimes people come to see me because they want a new perspective for themselves. Often it’s the other way around: they want me to change their spouses’ perspective! Sometimes a wife will come to see me because she wants me to affirm that her perspective is right. She wants to get me to tell her husband that he’s off his rocker, that his perspective is wrong. Sometimes he is off his rocker. Sometimes he wants me to convince his wife he’s right. Mostly they both could use a different shade of color in their kaleidoscope. Once in awhile they don’t like my little suggestions and they fire me as their therapist. As one client said in a huff and stood defiantly:
Well, this certainly is not fun
and then she left in a huff, too, while her husband sheepishly paid his bill. Well, no. Therapy is definitely not fun. I don’t have emotional novocaine either. We try to clean out the wound so it can heal. I’m good for that. But fun, no.
Here’s an example of a new perspective:
One of the most difficult things after an affair is over is answering the “why” question. It’s really an unfair question. The short answer is because of sin and selfishness. The longer answer is because of sin and selfishness and because the person having the affair is self-absorbed. Sin, selfishness and self-absorbed. That explains about 100% of the affairs. No, your spouse wasn’t thinking of you. That’s the whole point of an affair. If your spouse WAS thinking of you, he wouldn’t have had an affair! So, no, it’s not your fault. It’s not because you were too fat or too skinny or too bitchy or too much of a pushover or too busy or too lazy or too loud or too quiet or too controlling or too mealy mouth. If your spouse told himself that that is why he is having an affair, it was just one other lie he was telling, this one to himself.
Nor did he have the affair because the marriage was in trouble. No, no, and no. The punishment does not fit the crime. Look:
-the Hebrew scriptures pronouncing the death penalty for adultery didn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of losing one’s marriage doesn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of your children looking upon you with derision and not wanting to have anything to do with you for years, maybe ever, doesn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of getting a life threatening disease and even spreading it to their loved ones doesn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of losing ones’ job and being fired in disgrace doesn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of being a national or state disgrace or a mockery in one’s own community or church or school or job doesn’t keep people from doing it
-the threat of losing one’s one integrity and dignity and poise hasn’t kept people from doing it
so if you think your 20 extra pounds is going to cause your spouse to sell his soul to the devil you are realllllllly mistaken.
NO, NO and NO. So look, if you are going to heal from an affair or any other affront of humanity upon your own personal dignity and grace, I’d suggest you get a new perspective from a higher vantage point:
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.
If your spouse is all you have to live for and your spouse has an affair, you will be a disheveled mess. If you have the LORD to live for and your spouse has an affair, it still hurts like crazy, but there is something bigger to live for. There’s someone there to help the healing. There’s someone else to lean on. You can see this hurtful little moment as part of a larger whole. It’s part of a bigger picture. It’s not the sum total of your existence. It’s a snapshot on the movie of life. It’s a reminder to hold your kaleidoscope up to the light.