John: Please explain what you mean by the “Golden Triangle of Freedom,” a concept which you take from Os Guinness, that inspired you to write this book.
I hear white Christians blaming the problem on the immorality and breakdown of the family in urban America. And blacks see racial discrimination everywhere from the justice system to education. And there are elements of truth in both camps. Human nature is such that we tend to find evidence to support the views we already hold. And at no time was this form of confirmation bias more obvious than in the O.J. Simpson verdict.
But if I hear one more politician, or new commentator say, “It’s time we have a national conversation about gun violence and racial discrimination by police against black men,” I think I’ll scream! We’ve been having those conversations for years, and intensely ever since the Trayvon Martin incident in in 2013, spawning the Black Lives Matter, movement.
Please don’t misread me; I’m all for discussions and conversations, even at the national level to address these problems. But, we can learn from environmentalists who coined the phrase “Think globally, but act locally.”
So, what does “act locally” actually mean in this context? It means that although you and I alone can’t change national policy, we can and should be far more proactive with our own family and friends. So here are six ideas to get started;
I’ve sat with men and women, months after the death of a child, spouse or parent and have been asked “will I ever find closure?”
My honest answer is “probably not, and I’m not sure you truly want closure.”
Closure works well in some areas, like the closing of a real estate transaction. But the term closure does not apply well to the human heart. It might not be possible, or even desirable, to permanently close the heart on a deep relationship, ended by death.
Are you sure you really want closure?
I loved my mother deeply. When she died unexpectedly more than 15 years ago, I would not look at her in the casket. I wanted to remember her the way I’d last seen her, watering flowers at our cottage on a bright June morning. She was one of the great loves of my life!
Several family members said I was in denial. Perhaps I’d never get closure, they said. I didn’t want closure. I don’t want closure even now. Yes, of course I wanted the pain to lessen, and it did surprisingly quickly. But if ever I went a month without thinking of her, sometimes with sadness but mostly with joy and gratitude, to God, something good would be missing from my life. I don’t ever want closure until I meet her in heaven. Then ironically, there will never be closure!
“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
It’s not over
In losing someone, it’s important to remember that the relationship is not over. Death can rob us from the companionship of a loved one, but not from the memories of their life and love. And why would we not want to remember that, even at the risk of some tears?
Not only are there those risks, but in most cases one or both of the spouses have remarried. “So, Clare even if I wanted to reconcile with my ex it is impossible.”
Surprisingly, it isn’t. At least, not the kind of reconciliation I’m encouraging.
So what follows is the advice I gave to a divorced man recently that you may want to pass on to a divorced friend, or anyone at odds with another believer.