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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Judgmental or perceptive?

Sometimes it seems so difficult to know how to best love others. It’s difficult for me to have an “acquaintance”. I listen too hard to what people tell me. Maybe it’s that I listen with intent. She really needs help, there’s no doubt about that, and I think she needs more than my family and I are capable of giving. What troubles me is that she has a family, two grown children who by all accounts are doing very well, as well as a brother who lives near by. I asked her about them and I think she confessed to me that pride prevents her from seeking help from her family. Could it be that I made that judgment against her?

Me: “Do they know you’re having all these problems?”

Her: “They don’t care”, followed by a lengthy justification for the condemnation.

In so many words I explained that my opinion was that it is their responsibility to help her but they can’t be expected to read minds. Okay, so there’s my opinion but how do I love her? At present we’ve done all she’s asked of us and much more (excluding one request for transportation) but her needs are growing exponentially. There is no doubt in my mind that as long as we are there to provide for her she will refuse to contact her family. My present thinking is that I should condition any further involvement with the proviso that she allows me to contact her family first. What is wisdom?

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22 Comments:

Blogger Seeker said...

It's natural for us to hope that a person's family would want to be involved and help. I don't see it as judgmental on your part, even though she may have perceived it that way(?)...
Since you haven't talked with the family, you know only her side (or her perception of "they don't care"). I would be in favor of contacting the family. What we expect from people isn't always what we get. You may be surprised, or disappointed. But at least you will have a better view of the situation.

6/17/2006 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Karen. I really want to do right. It would be so easy to just tell myself it's not my business but when it involves my family and me then doesn't it become my responsibility to be certain I'm not promoting a further division in her family? Most of my experience is with much younger people so this is new ground for me.

6/17/2006 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

It is good to see you again, Kc.

It is very difficult when people become accustomed to getting aid from others. She does need to know there are limits as to how much help she can expect.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

6/17/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
I agree that you should help only if you are able to contact her family. People with problems, all of us, tend to only give our sides of the story. Part of the point of Christ is getting us to look at other people's side of the story instead of our own. She is not doing that, but seems to be... and I say this with limited knowledge, seems to be using you because she is in control of the situation. If you contact her family, then she loses control of the situation. People who are needy in an unhealthy way, definitely want to be the ones in control.

Take her back to the cross when you tell her this. She needs to be trusting Christ, not you or her family.
OK, this is my two cents worth... I hope that I have been helpful. It really is difficult given the information.

It's good to see you back up and posting... I was getting worried.
Blessings
Timothy

6/17/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger curious servant said...

I am probably wrong about what I am thinking, since I haven't anything more to go by than your post...

There are elements of what you shared that echoe experience I have had.

Rather than giving direct advice, or a view that is certainly to be skewed, I would like to pose some questions.

Does she seem to need attention? Are the things she's is asking a part of a litany of woes she is sharing that draws people to her so she can feel loved?

Does she seem like a giving person? (Not in what she tells you, but by what you have observed.) Does she seem o be living a life where shetakes joy in helping others, or only in receiving?

Can you see lessons the Lord may be trying to teach her in her circumstances? Is there somethig about her life that is being tested and how she responds is important (or is it beyond her ability to cope on her own and needs the humility of the help of others [or her family])?

How does the Golden Rule apply to you here?

How does the Golden Rule apply for her?

Lastly, look at I Corinthians 13. Apply that chapter to yourself and to her. It always helps me see clearly.

God bless.

(and thank you for your comment this morning on my blog.)

6/17/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger audrey` said...

Yeah!
Our brother is back once again :)
It's so good to see you, KC.

6/17/2006 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I am not wise.

6/18/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Wise words all.

Matthew thanks so much. I think you’re right about expectations.

Pastor I’m sorry for your concern and as always appreciate your counsel. I’ve confirmed there is much conflict in her account of things and there’s no doubt that control is a major issue for her. You’re so right about keeping the focus on Christ.

CS, thank you so much. Your questions have helped me see beyond the difference in her age from the younger people I am accustomed to. In short she has proved herself an actress, a storyteller and a lawyer. She will re-write the script at will to suit the part she wants to play and the lawyer justifies every deviation from the original storyline.

Yes, she craves attention and no, she is not giving but rather draws everything and everyone to herself. I have many suspicions concerning the lessons here for all involved and I’m convinced that if I maintain my focus on love that God will direct in all in spite of my perceptions. ;-)

In my heart I am satisfied that I have followed the golden rule to date and my concern at present is in continuation of that. I find it difficult to believe that she would want her actions to be returned to her but I cannot know with any certainty if the problem is in her perception of herself or in the intent of her heart.

I think prayer and patience is needed now and nothing more until God allows a door. When He does I will be certain to take the time to measure my motives and actions against 1st Corinthians 13.

Most times I fail to find any words I think are of any value in reply to your post and my humility is so often brought to question by your articles. That leaves me silent but edified and I feel a debt to you that I cannot repay.

Audrey my dear sister thank you so much for your encouragement and support. Your continued devotion to all of us here as well as to those I know you serve in your family are a great inspiration to me.

Adam your wisdom is far beyond your years and I envy you that. ;-)

6/18/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger Cinder said...

This is completely off topic, but I hope you had a very Happy Father's Day Kc...blessings to you and Corry!

6/18/2006 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Zeke said...

I'm not wise either, but I'm married to a wise woman. She thinks that the family needs to step up to the plate.

6/19/2006 02:46:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Cinder, thank you sis! It was a great day. I hope your walk went well too. ;-)

Zeke, you guys live the example. I think wisdom runs in the family. ;-)

6/19/2006 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Zeke I'm so sorry for your loss dear brother. May God bless and comfort you all.

6/19/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Contact the family. :~)

6/19/2006 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Cinder said...

Hi Kc,

The walk was a great time...I did realize that I might be getting too old to stay up 31 hours without sleep and still be able to funtion well in the days to follow...but it was worth it!

I was too tired to comment yesterday, so now I'm back. I think her family probably should know, at least eventually, what's going on, in terms of knowing where she's at and what her needs are.

But I think the most important thing to do, is to put it to prayer and let Him guide you. Only He knows what He wants to transpire through this. We can't know what He wants to take place and as I've learned in the past, He'll reveal it to you in His perfect timing!

As Curious Servant said, look to 1 Corinthians 13...I've been looking to this chapter a lot the last few months and it does help to give clarity to each situation as well.

Blessings to you!

6/19/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rose, clear and to the point as always.

Thank sis. ;-)

Cinder, 31 hours?? Best not to make a habit of that even if you are young and capable (grin). I'm thankful it went well.

Thanks so much for your thoughts. I think I've come to the conclusion that prayer and patience are needed. I don't have any means for contacting her family outside of her providing contact info and that seems unlikely at present. I'll keep praying for a door and waiting for it to open. In the mean time I'll do what I feel is good about helping her. ;-)

6/19/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Welcome back KC.

Like Adam and Zeke, I am unwise. I think the others have given you enough to think about.

Although if it was me and i had to make a decision, I think I would have probably went on vacation, the unwise coward that I am.

6/19/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

My mom says I'm a 'wise-guy' and sometimes calls me a 'wisenheimer', but I don't think that's the same.

Some will tink this is lam advice, but I suggest taking time in prayer (which I'm sure you have). After that time in prayer (asking for wisdom according to Proverbs 3 & James 1), make the conscious choice to continue helping her. Then pray some more.

After that time of prayer, make a conscious choice to call her family. Then, one more time, pray.

After that time of prayer, choose to abandon her.

With each choice, ask yourself which brought you the most peace... and let peace be your guide.

(Sorry. I sound like Dr Phil. But my real advice is let the Holy Spirit's peace be your guide)

6/19/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Pastor Josh said...

First of all have you prayed for her and her family. Pray that the bonds of pride be loosed from the family. Then sit her down and pray over her that her pride and her love for her own kids would recindle in her heart. Agree with her that it is important to have family. Just have her look at your family. How when a family is in unity how much greater a family can be. Then tell her that her and her family need to get together. Set a time and a place. Where they can talk. Make sure they talk about the hurts and pains. Becuase when that get's out. Then the true healing will begin. Let her know that the means that you are helping her with is going to diminish little by little. Not because you don't love her or that you don't want to help her. But you are doing those things because you do lover her. And that you know how important it is to have a strong family. Incourage her that she can talk to her family, and that everything in the long run will be great. It might be hard at first. But at the end she will have peace again. God Bless.

6/19/2006 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, sooo great to see your post again ;) I think healthy boundary is needed, as much as it's hard. Brother, you are a wise man, and I am sure you know what to do from the Lord.

6/20/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris I know you are neither unwise nor a coward but let me state that clearly for others who might be unaware and thanks. It's good to be regular again. ;-)

Jeff I really like your approach, or at least the idea of casting the bread out on the water but I agree that in the end it will be day by day as His Spirit bears on my conscience. Thanks brother. ;-)

Pastor Josh thanks so much for your wisdom and I really appreciate your emphasis on prayer. My authority in this situation is limited to my own effort and at present she seems unwilling for me to contact her family. I will trust God to guide and open doors. ;-)

6/20/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kitty that's so true. I have to respect her authority to make determinations for herself and accept my own responsibility to be a good steward of those means that God has blessed me with. Thanks for the encoragement as always. ;-)

6/20/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Kitty Cheng said...

Kc, sooo great to see your post again ;) I think healthy boundary is needed, as much as it's hard. Brother, you are a wise man, and I am sure you know what to do from the Lord.

6/20/2006 10:15:00 AM  

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