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A good time to heal relationships

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

If things go as planned, you will be reading this just after Christmas and before the New Year.

Once you get past the controversy and political maneuvering, this can be a wonderful season.

It can be a time of renewing relationships and family ties.



The concept of God becoming a reality through the virgin birth and being willing to suffer and die at human hands gives an incredible picture of forgiveness and love.

Let me say that the water into which I am wading here is extremely deep and wide. My observations come from personal experience and certainly don’t deal with the whole issue, but they are core principles.



Can we assimilate that concept and apply it in our relationships?

Begin with forgiveness, which is sometimes difficult but is incredibly healing.

The more difficult and painful act is to ask forgiveness. The healing that occurs is worth the effort.

This season can also be emotionally stressful because it brings to the surface things that we have suppressed that hurt deeply, such as the loss of close friends or relatives that are no longer part of our emotional support.

Many of us suffer from broken families and bitter losses. A young lady of my acquaintance just died, and there is no known family and no support group. People that knew her are taking an offering to pay the death expenses. What a bitter way to go.

In other scenarios, selfish parents have left frustrating and bitter futures for their children.

This might be a great time to look in the mirror and see someone who can restore joy and peace.

Pain is an interesting resource. In our bodies, pain is the fire alarm that goes off and tells us that something is wrong and needs to be dealt with. We can tough it out and hope it will go away. We can take pain killers and forge ahead.

Neither of those tactics really solves the problem.

In a similar manner, pain in relationships signals a problem. Just like physical problems, relational pain can signal something that may turn out to be very destructive and may be even fatal.

Relational pain can be dealt with in many ways. The first way is blame and a claim of victimization.

Another technique is distancing. Move as far away as possible and start over.

A third idea is to retaliate. Make life as miserable as possible for your opponent.

There is also the medication plan; like taking aspirin or ibuprofen.

There is Xanax for depression or you can go the simple route and medicate with alcohol, “medical” marijuana or stronger stuff.

The last and most desperate measure might be self termination of your earthly existence.

All of these efforts to handle emotional/relational pain are basically selfish.

The first step to healing is to recognize and admit to the collateral damage you have done. All of the aforementioned techniques just increase the pain of the others in the personal network. Real healing begins when you take ownership of the source of the pain.

The next step is to identify the people that are sharing the pain.

Finally, search for a process of real healing.

Now I have come full circle. Christmas can be a time of healing. A time to reach out to estranged family.

Maybe it is just a communication problem. Do they know you care? Do they know you are willing to forgive and/or be forgiven?

God sent Jesus Christ to solve a communication problem. Now you know he cares. Now you know he was willing to suffer and die to prove to you how much he cares.

The price of healing relationships and restoring communication might be high, it might be painful but it might be worth it.

A new year lies ahead and times may be difficult, but there is great peace in having healed relationships.

This might be a great time to accept the healing that the birth of Jesus brought and to work it into your relationships.

Now you have no excuse for not having a Happy New Year.

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.


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