Wednesday, December 5, 2007


My favorite preaching-writer John Claypool has written a brilliant little book Mending the Heart.

Here's his wisdom about how to deal with your woundedness:

Preface: First, we must accept the fact that our parents often neglect or mistreat their children in an effort to have their own needs met. We are all prisoners of childhood, and must do the work of mourning all that.

1. THE WOUND OF GRIEVANCE: `Look behind you: the trouble with parents is that they had parents too! Look within: there's a stronger person with your name within you! Look ahead: what will you do with your grievance? Martin Luther King used to say that the logical end of 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is a blind and toothless generation'. Look up: Teresa of Avila asked God 'How can I ever thank you for all the blessings you have given me?' The answer came back: 'By showing love to those who are as undeserving of it as you are of mine.'

2. THE WOUND OF GUILT: Sometimes we deny responsibility for our bad stuff: alcoholics and other addicts know about this ('I don't have a problem with my drinking, you do!'). Face it, honestly: we do not break the laws of reality; the laws of reality break us. Or we blame others. Teacher to fighting children: 'How did this break out?' Child: 'It all started when he hit me back!' Or we punish ourselves: but remember God's willingness to forgive is greater than our power to sin. God is not a perfectionist, but a merciful nurturer.

3. THE WOUND OF GRIEF: John Claypool lost his little nine-year old daughter, Laura Lue, through leukemia. He was rescued from absolute despair in his grief by reading Gerhard von Rad's commentary on Genesis: 'I remember putting down the book that night as it dawned on me that Laura Lue had come into my life exactly as Isaac had come into Abraham's. I had never deserved her for a single day. She was not a possession to which I was entitled, but a gift by which I had been utterly blessed.' When something belongs to you and it is taken away, you have a right to be angry. But when something is a gift and it is taken from you, you use that occasion to give thanks that it was ever given at all. (You can read more on this in his brilliant book Tracks of a Fellow-Struggler.

And now his famous benediction (spoken when younger, as pastor of Crescent Hills Baptist Church):


Rowland Croucher

No comments: