Creating distance: a two-edged sword

By Dave Henning / July 7, 2012

Brian Jones begins Chapter 3 of Getting Rid of the Gorilla with this insightful quote from noted author James Baldwin (Notes of a Native Son): “I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, that they will be forced to deal with pain.”

Jeff Manion (The Land Between) refers to that pain as “redemptive pain”, a pain that will free us from attitudes and habits that will derail our transformational growth.  But when pain or adversity comes into our lives, we need to distance ourselves from the hurt.  Consider the words of Proverbs 4:23- “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Brian Jones says that there are two ways we distance ourselves to allow healing to begin:

1.  Geographically- the space we create can be as small as one seat or as large as an entire state.

2.  Emotionally- disconnecting from the person causing us pain, even though physically we may remain in the same environment.

Pastor Jones concludes by reminding us that while creating distance is a good thing while we’re hurting, forever keeping our distance turns our emotions inward and harms both body and soul, much like anger turning to rage.

About the author

Dave Henning

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