The secret history of our enemies

By Dave Henning / October 2, 2018

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In Chapter 14 “Boundaries with Challenging Parts of Others”), the concluding chapter of Boundaries for Your Soul, Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller talk about a well-developed internal parts detective.  This detective possess the skill to identify when someone speaks or behaves from a hijacking protector, or overwhelming exile.  Or when emotions like anger or fear eclipse a person’s Spirit-led self.

Therefore, your internal parts detective prompts curiosity about the emotion, rather than wrangling with that part.  As a result, Alison and Kim note, you assist others who are hurting as you:

  1. de-escalate tense situations
  2. set external boundaries
  3. create opportunities for deeper connection
  4. work wisely and discreetly
  5. grow in understanding

For the rest of the chapter, Alison and Kim discuss five ways to establish healthy boundaries with others.  Today they present the first way.

1.  Responding to others in need.  Although we desire to care well for others, often our loved ones’ struggles trigger our own troubling emotions.  Hence, that makes it difficult to give real help.  In addition, the following responses, while common, aren’t always the most helpful:

  • Agreement – you join the other person in blaming someone else for the problem.
  • Pep Talk– you encourage the other person to recognize that he/she doesn’t really need to feel that way.
  • Minimizing – to avoid facing a painful reality, you downplay the problem.
  • Fixing– you offer a quick-fix; but, it’s a complicated problem.

Yes, there’s a time an place for the above methods.  However, as our Spirit-led self leads, we can become, as Wayne Miller writes, “Sabbath for one another.”

Finally, as a friend, our presence includes rest and reflection.

Today’s question:  If you knew the secret history of your enemies, how would grace direct your response?  Please share.

Special note:  Yesterday, October 1st, Crown hosted its 400,000th visitor!  Praise God!

Tomorrow’s blog: “Every single one of us – a masterpiece”

About the author

Dave Henning

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