The “Oswald Complex”

By Dave Henning / December 13, 2013

Today author Stephen Mansfield (Healing Your Church Hurt) presents and discusses the fourth question in this series.

4.  What did those closest to you do when you went through hard times?  Stephen notes that by answering this question we can tell a great deal about ourselves.  Crisis, however, can test the dearest of friendships.  Some psychologists refer to this as the “Oswald Complex”- defined as “the natural tendency of people to pull away from those they have committed to defend when danger approaches.”

Perhaps during  and following the devastation of our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, our friends didn’t know what to do or retreated into safety because they were unsure.  On the other hand, some friends remained true.  And others we barely knew unexpectedly stood by our side and took a stand with us.

The author notes that David and Jonathan provide a model for true friendship.  Jonathan was so devoted to David that he warned him of Saul’s evil intentions.  Jonathan also surrendered his rights to the throne in order that God’s plan would be fulfilled.  However, we can only have a friend like Jonathan if we’re first a Jonathan to the Davids in our lives.  Stephen concludes:

“Friendships . . . must also be about destiny, about helping each other find strength in God, and about lifting each other to the high calling on our lives.”

Today’s question: How have your dearest friends stood by and supported you during your desert, transition time?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Celebrating the struggle”

About the author

Dave Henning

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