We live in a world where everybody wants a quick fix for everything. We are on a constant search to medicate ourselves from anything that makes us even slightly uncomfortable. We are on the pursuit of happiness. And because of that we have been conditioned as a culture to look at others and fix their problems as fast as we can as to not to inconvenience ourselves too much from our own happiness. If someone comes up to us with a problem our instinct is to solve it as quickly as possible. And that’s the advice we give them, to move on as quickly as possible (in essence, to find whatever will make them happy again). But no one really takes the time anymore to really listen to anyone’s heart and address deeper hurts that may be lying underneath. As a Christian it is frustrating for me because I find people are so quick to give me a “Jesus-bandaid” answer in hopes that will solve everything, but no one really takes the time to hear what I am actually trying to say. Let me explain:
I recently went through a really heartbreaking breakup. It felt like my world was crashing around me everywhere I looked, and in a sense it was. The life that I had planned for myself was no longer a possibility and it hurt. I spent many, many weeks and months looking for answers and looking for ways to make sense of it all. I would read books on getting over tough situations I would read my devo’s that talked about this, I would read my Bible and journal about it all, I would seek my friends’ advice. All of this kinda helped, but it never actually “got there” and fixed it. My biggest hurdle was when I would try to talk to my friends about it. They would listen and nod and then give me the best scripture or “Jesus-quote” they knew in hopes that would somehow be enough to medicate me. But none of them really listened to what I was trying to say. It seemed no one actually wanted to take the time to find out the root of my hurt. They all treated it like it was some high-school break up. The kind where the couple dates for a week, says ‘I love you’ after day 3, then breaks up and is in a new relationship the next week.
If we are going to be telling people to be seeking mature relationships that honor Christ, we CANNOT treat the ending of relationships as if they were flippant and immature.
It does not show sympathy to that person or to the REAL hurt they are going through. Heartbreak sucks. And giving someone who just got out of a serious relationship that was leading to marriage the same advice you would give someone who just broke up with their high-school bf/gf is inappropriate.
You see, I didn’t need to be reminded that there are still “plenty of fish in the sea” (and honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what fish have to do with human relationships… anyways) I didn’t need another scripture verse thrown at me telling me how much Jesus loves me, because I already KNOW! While I get where they were coming from and their intentions behind it, what I needed was to be shown by a friend, someone tangible that I could hold onto, that I didn’t have to go through this alone. I needed someone who would just listen to me rant about how stupid my ex-boyfriend was and not think I was crazy and judge me for it. I needed someone to just SHOW me they cared. I needed someone to take my emotions, the good & the bad, and not make me feel ashamed for having those real human feelings, to validate me that it was OKAY for me to feel this way. I had been wronged in a lot of ways and it was OKAY to be angry and upset. So often we assume that if someone is not doing “something Jesus would do” then it’s wrong and not okay.
“Sometimes the best way to remind someone that Jesus loves them, is there for them, and has a plan for them is not to throw another overly-quoted Bible verse at them, but rather to LIVE OUT that Bible verse to them.”
So often we just tell people to “get over it” and “move on” without realizing that perhaps them seeking help IS them trying to move on. It’s a struggle. Letting go of people you love is a struggle. It’s a back-and-forth kind of deal. Some days are better than others. It’s a process. Don’t just assume that just because it seems like they aren’t moving on that they aren’t actually moving on. I took a relationships class my sophomore year of college and in the book we were reading for that class was a section on breakups. It said that it can take 2 months for every month of the relationship for a person to get over it. So if someone was together for a year, it could take up to 2 years for that person to FULLY let go and move on.
The Bible tells us that we are to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2) and what is the law of Christ? It is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27) We need to understand that helping others comes at an inconvenience to ourselves. Bearing burdens doesn’t mean we had to go through exactly what they are going through. You can be there for someone and not be able to exactly relate. We’ve all had SOMETHING that has caused us heartbreak, so don’t belittle their experience just because you don’t understand it exactly. To bear each other’s burdens means to LITERALLY take whatever it is they are struggling with and bear it for them, and it order to do that we must find out what they are struggling with so we can take it upon ourselves. We need to stop treating heartbreak as if it’s not real hurt and we need to stop using Jesus as a band-aid, or quick fix to just temporarily treat people. I FIRMLY believe that Jesus can, does, and WILL heal ALL wounds, but He is NOT a band-aid that just sits on top of them. No, He is the CURE that penetrates our brokenness and heals from the inside out.