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Monday, October 15, 2007

pain sucks

last year i found out my parents were getting a divorce, and as a knee jerk reaction i wrote a blog on myspace ripping my dad to shreds. it really hurt him, and it was unnecessary, so i removed it. since then i've been hesitant to write about anything really personal out of the fear i might offend someone.

but now my granny is dying.

the last few years she's been getting worse. when i got pregnant with ilya i was so excited to share it with her because she's really the only close grandparent i had. she didn't really understand what i was telling her, and that really hurt. the last time i saw her she didn't know me at all. that hurt even worse. but her condition has been deteriorating so quickly over the last few years that the prospect of her death, while still extremely sucky, isn't necessarily a surprise.

but it still hurts.

to add insult to injury, i had to find out through my brother zac. not that that in itself makes it bad, but rather the fact that my mother refused to tell me herself because she isn't speaking to me. why isn't she speaking to me? because art and i had the audacity to a) actually believe the bible and take a stand for that belief, and b) to care more about her soul than her feelings. after a lot of prayer and a lot of hesitation, we called her out on her actions and behavior since the divorce. she came to visit with her boyfriend, and stayed for five minutes total when she found out that we wanted to talk to her. then she left without saying anything and hasn't spoken to us since.

since that epic confrontation i've heard all sorts of opinions on the judiciousness, graciousness, etc., of our choosing to talk to her when she came to visit (instead of on the phone before she came). but regardless of everyone else's opinion, the bottom line is WE prayed about it, and WE felt like we were doing what God wanted. it's not like i, jenn grigoryev, am so hot to confront people that i just get in people's faces for fun. i hate it. with a passion. i can't stand to be looked at like some kind of critical weiner that enjoys being a jerk. but at the same time, when i care about someone i can't just sit idly by, seeing their stupidity, and in good conscience keep my mouth shut. i'd rather someone hated my guts and turned to Christ than thought i was just the best and died in thier sins. i've been fortunate to have a friend that has always, without fail, called me out when i was being stupid because she loves me. and that was our motivation with my mother.

and yet in this muddled, politically correct culture where absolutes and conviction are looked upon as archaic relics of a time long past i find myself annoyingly out of place. art told my mom's boyfriend that God loved him, and that he could turn to Christ at any time and repent and be saved. even writing those words now i feel the tiniest twinge of, "wow, that sounds so extreme and bible-thumperish." but why do i feel like that? either the bible is true or it isn't. if it isn't, then it's all a moot point. but if it is, oh if it is then what are we doing watering it down? making up asinine translations that muck up the meaning with vague and convenient euphemisms? the WORD OF GOD says that we are all sinners. in need of a savior. we are to repent, turn to God, give up our selfish desires and seek Him, to obey, to abstain, to be pure, to speak words that glorify God...and yet these things offend our modern ideas and ideals.

to say that there are absolutes, to claim that dating while still married is adultery sounds, to our ears, extreme. but it was pretty extreme when Jesus said that if you LOOK at a person with lust its the same as actually doing the deed. that doesn't mean we can interpret it in a softer, more manageable way because a literal interpretation offends us. my dad said that our way of looking at things seems not to take grace into account. maybe that is the case. i don't feel like it is, because God has been ridiculously gracious and forgiving to me for my horrible and selfish sins. i believe very strongly in the grace of God. but like paul said, we don't sin more so we can see more grace. we have to draw the line somewhere and say, "this is what i believe, and i WILL stand up for it." the truth is true or it's not--and the commandments of the Lord are not optional.

anyway, this is me just working out some grief and frustration. if my mom doesn't want to talk to me because i've offended her, i understand. i'm not going to apologize, not because i'm proud but because i'm not sorry. but my stance comes with a price, apparently. strangely, i don't regret it. but still. it hurts. and pain sucks.

4 comments:

contrarian 78 said...

there are many similar situations in my own life as there is to yours.

and of course this is nothing new....
this quote from pascal is especially comforting to me--

"What a Chimera is man! What a novelty, a monster, a chaos, a contradiction, a prodigy! Judge of all things, an imbecile worm of the earth; depository of truth, and sewer of error and doubt; the glory and refuse of the universe."

Heather said...

God always has a way of turning things around - all you can see right now is what's in front of you, but God sees the whole picture. You did the right thing. I'm sure reconciliation is in the horizon, but it's in God's economy, not yours. I'm sorry for your pain though, it really sucks.

Jonathan said...

Recently I read an article about a little girl who was concerned that her dad was going to Hell. He wrote to some "Dear Abby" type asking how to deal with the situation. The "dear Abby" responded by saying that the mother of the girl (the guy's ex-wife) was teaching her to be "diabolical and mean." Oh how Satan has twisted the truth of the situation! The girl was, in fact, showing her father love. The courage to tell someone that they're wrong is very difficult to summon. But she managed it.

Recently I've struggled with this issue. Jesus taught us to love others, but at the same time He taught that "all have sinned and fallen short," and that "no man gets to the Father except through (Jesus)." The idea that we need to show love and grace without becoming Pharisaical is an idea that resonates strongly with me. The whole debate about the Emergent Church has caused me to examine my own brand of Christianity. (Not that I'm becoming emergent, by any means.)

Recently I have discovered just exactly what being Pharisaical involves. Three things: pride, hypocrisy, and judgment. All three must be present. Here's why. First, as Christians we are called to "be wise as serpents" and to "encourage one another." This is, by nature, a form of judgment. We must judge when one of the body of Christ has fallen into sin so that we can be there to help. Second, we are all hypocrites. Every single one of us has sinned. Therefore, to judge one another is hypocrisy to some degree. But it takes one more element to make such a judgment wrong, and that element is pride. When someone is proud of their own supposed righteousness and passes judgment on someone to display their own piety, that is Pharisaical.

We must judge each other in all humility and knowledge of our own shortcomings. If we do that, no matter how much the other party may be offended, realize that they are taking offense with God's Word first and with you second. And, as much as it hurts, count it a blessing to be a part of His suffering.

Note: Realize that I in no way claim to have mastered any of that! It's just something God has been working on me and your post made me jump on a soapbox I probably should slowly back away from... :D

Perhaps, when I'm a little less busy switching jobs, I'll blog on this in more detail! Or maybe I shouldn't...

Steve said...

Jenn,

Shelly and I love you guys so much (and miss you)! My heart hurts reading this and knowing that the pain you have is from family - I'd say the deepest pain anyone could feel. You are right in your convictions, though, and you are right to stand by them and tell the people you love the truth, and not what they want to hear. It's hard and it hurts, I know... selfishness is so ugly because it's so... selfish. (Deep, hunh?)

We'll keep you guys in our prayers, especially for the healing of hurt and brokenness.