I once knew a woman who complained of her new therapist (she had been in therapy for years) that after thirty minutes he had interrupted and told her that her real problem was that she was trying to be the child in the relationship with her children and husband and she needed to face that her role was to be the adult. As she complained loud and wide about the therapist everyone she complained to thought “gee, that is the truth.”
The truth was essential knowledge that she needed to have. But telling her was not productive at all, it was not helpful, all it did was build resistance in her to change. The same mistake was made by the guy who told the Narcissist that his misfortune in having both of his ex-wives have their only episodes of mental illness, rather unpleasant borderline personality divergences, while married to him, was not bad luck but a direct result of the narcissism.
There are other things that are powerful, essential and yet pointing them out doesn’t always help. That is especially true of the gospel.
For example. It is an important truth that you resent those you have wronged. If there is resentment, no matter what happened, part of it involves a wrong by you. That is the core message of the Arbinger Group, btw, and the key to their miraculous successes in the past in reconciling parents and children. Having resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Yet delivering the message the wrong time and in the wrong way can make things worse, especially for victims of random assault or violence where the only wrong may well be the resentment itself. Resentment is sometimes the most lasting harm done to a victim.
Another example. Blaming others and refusing to accept responsibility for your problems guarantees failure, it keeps you helpless. You may not be legally, morally or esthetically responsible for the past, but only you control how you react to and create the future. Coming to that understanding is a core part of recovery from grief, loss and life changing disaster. Yet presented the wrong time and way all it does is make the harm to victims worse.
I think of things like this when I deal with those facing a recent loss of a child or other tragedy. There are times when these spiritual truths heal. There are times they only hurt and make things worse.
The point is that I think that as God deals with us, He has truths that are essential to us, powerful in their reach; yet, not always things that will help us at this instant time.
What do you think? What have you experienced in the way of spiritual truths you feel are essential truths, powerful in their scope, yet not always helpful, that you can appreciate now but that if your younger self had been told them it would only have slowed you down? I’d love to hear back on the perspectives and experiences of others because I am convinced that this is part of our being children of God, not yet grown beyond that status.