Share This Episode
Family Life Today Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine Logo

Bitterness or Boundaries

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
September 1, 2021 2:00 am

Bitterness or Boundaries

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1024 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

September 1, 2021 2:00 am

Unhealed hurt can often lead to bitterness. Lysa TerKeurst charts a path towards forgiveness by setting healthy boundaries, so that even when we are hurt, we don't have to live that way!

Show Notes and Resources

Weekend to Remember is back. Register today to get 50% the registration

Find resources from this podcast at

Download FamilyLife's new app!

Check out all that's available on the FamilyLife Podcast Network

Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz

So I once read about a wife and a mom who when her husband left her with another woman and this is been going on for a while and is finally the end, you know there's going to be a divorce and so her husband calls her, I guess, was a phone call and just literally says hey sell the house will split the profit. So this woman decides okay to split the profits you and telling this she puts her $500,000 house up for $67,000 and sells it and split that money with her husband despite him just to get you went that woman that was my mom and family life today where we want to help you pursue relationships that matter most and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if they we live or on our family life and his family life today to talk today about forgiveness and already talking with Lisa Turk cursed Lisa welcome back to feeling like today thank you so much. Wow, what a powerful story.

Yeah, it's a you know I did.

My dad's funeral. Years later, and guess who wasn't there. Mom never showed up.

She was still bitter for decades and that's you know that was a part of the atmosphere in my home and a sense there is that in our in our soul. I'm going to pay them back in his can feel good.

We go to movies and we stand up and cheer you nowhere.

And then Zell takes out the village you know you like yeah and it feels good and yet in life. When you carry that around.

It doesn't feel good, there's a there's some God called us to be Frisco forgiveness which again Lisa you're here because you wrote a forgiving, what you can't forget, and we talk this week about your journey and what a great title because there are things you can't forget, and you think I can't forgive if I can't forget. So we already talked much about that but welcome back with so glad to have your New York Times best-selling author, but we haven't even mentioned you is your wife and a mom hi kids writing yeah grandkids. Yes, we had three grandkids so it's a very full life and I'm super thankful I want to circle back about something you separate your mom, you know that she's in chapter funeral because she was that are sometimes I think it is possible to see a blessing inside a bitterness that this is going to feel very upside down and I'm not saying this to justify bitterness. I'm not saying it to defend your mom and everything matter, but what I would say is, she didn't chapter that funeral because she was so deeply hurt and she had unhealed hurt there that over time turned into bitterness which turned her into something that she was never meant to be and I think sometimes when we say the word better. Every cycle we recoil in me thinking out cool, a bitter person is a coldhearted person that never dealt with their issues and they have such a limited potential in their relationships, but actually, the opposite is pretty true bitterness doesn't often visit the coldhearted person who has limited potential in relationships, bitterness often visits that person who loved deeply. Therefore they got hurt really deeply.

It's that person that through their arms open wide and gave love every fighting chance. And then they got shut down shot out or shoved away and because they love deeply. They got hurt so deeply. And because they didn't know how to draw boundaries. They started putting up walls and that's the dangerous part about bitterness of the blessing of bitterness is, it actually shows that that person has great potential for loving relationships, but the burden of bitterness is that bitterness never sit still. It doesn't just want to be a feeling he wants to become your only feeling and it leaks out like acid onto everything that you touch so we don't tend to our bitterness, our bitterness will turn us into someone we never wanted to be. I really like they have the potential to really love and even to throw your arms out and be open wide and like I am running after this thing and I am fully in the think that what happens is if we can hurt if was gone into a relationship like that where were exposed and vulnerable.

We gave everything after we've been wounded or something is happening. We felt betrayed. Can we go back to that ever again. Well, it is possible to go back and I think we have to acknowledge what's happening inside of us, because it's not that you are a naturally bitter person.

Sometimes I hear people say oh I'm just not naturally able to forget I'm not a forgiving person or I'm not someone who gives second chances, or sometimes she will just flat out say like you hurt me and were done that's it yeah and or they may even be bold enough to say you know I'm better. I admit it will be on Psalms component, bitter person. And the thing is like bitterness is not a name tag that we put on our self identity is not an identity what bitterness is, is an indication that there's unhealed hurt and it's probably limiting your ability right now to even embrace the other relationships that would mean so much and so in bitterness. If we build up these walls were not only shutting down that one relationship are those few relationships or got really hurt. We are imprisoning ourselves and keeping ourselves from the joy that could be experienced in other relationships instead of building up walls. What do we do because when we've been hurt. We do need some way to protect ourselves. We don't keep getting hurt over and over and over again. I'm utterly convinced that it's drawing boundaries not barriers are walls that can help. I think when Jesus gave us the teaching to forgive 707, which was one of those and I was sitting at the table studying forgiveness for over a thousand hours in the Bible and not because I wanted to be so theologically astute. It's because I was having such a hard time took me a long time and so one of the verses I had such a hard time with was in Jesus said forgive 707.

Sometimes we hit upon a verse, and we don't understand the meaning of it. It's really wise to go back to you.

How did Jesus live was Jesus a proponent of abuse. No did Jesus tolerate when the woman caught in adultery was thrown at his feet and other people were accusing her did Jesus tolerate their pride did he entertain you know their brutality now Jesus flipped the script and said he who is without sin cast the first step.

So in keeping with the character and nature that we see of Jesus, and we take it back to forgive 707. That was his command. We can better understand in that situation. Jesus wasn't saying stay in a relationship where you being brutalized and just accept it now. I believe what Jesus was saying is create enough emotional and physical distance with that person that if they never change. You will be able to forgive them 707 without being destroyed in the process we have to really take a step back from our typical notions of you know, if you're a better person. Your bad and if you've been hurt in a relationship like build a wall to protect yourself if you just take a step back from all of that and say okay we understand now that if you're struggling with bitterness, it's because you've been hurt deeply. So how do you protect yourself. Yeah it was really important for me to write these chapters in forgiving what you can't forget because just because you do the hard work of forgiveness. Just because you forgive someone does not mean that you need to give them free access into your life immediately or maybe not ever. What's interesting I thought this chapter on boundaries. I just was underlining everything in one of the things you say is that the people you think need to change the most wind up changing the least when your efforts are greater than their own efforts. What's that mean so if you've ever done life with someone with an addiction and I'm good at cut a laser in on this, even though there so many more examples but you can want that person to change all day long, but if you want it more than they wanted then you're going to work harder on them than they are willing to work on them and when you get into that kind of cycle you are not only doing them actually a disservice. But you are probably causing some extreme hardship in your own life and that was one of my issues. I was working harder on other people than they were willing to work themselves and I was becoming emotionally exhausted.

I'm just gonna say we women do this by deleting the problems with our kids are husband and we take it on. I think even like we men don't know but I don't have a confession heart as I talk to more women than men and were so relational that I think we feel so invested like help you yes want to help you.

And so we carry this like I am going to be there working to fix.

You will sometimes we see a problem and I agree it can be men to yeah it's that nurturing that comes out of us. You know, or for men. I think it be problem-solving, you fix it to fix it but you have a great quote about your throat talk.

I think it's something like this.

If I'm trying to get a person off the train tracks.

Yes, I want them off more than they want to get off were both targeted by the trade. That's right. If we are seeing other people's problems, especially people who are close to us when we see their problem is our personal assignment, then we have stepped into the role being Savior. Only Jesus is qualified to be the Savior and so you're right, I tell a story in the book about this thought I had one day I wrote this whole thing out because someone I love very much was struggling and it's a younger person and I kept wanting to tell them I'm not trying to be controlling or manipulative. I'm just trying to save your life that so many times so I have this picture of like every time you make a crazy decision every time you make a decision that I can see is detrimental or harmful or not in keeping with what's best for you. It's like you're climbing up on a train track, and you're just Lala Lala sitting on the train tracks. I can see the train coming and I am dumbfounded why you can't see the train coming you're screaming at them DCF train coming and so I will run up on the track and pull them off, but then they come back on the track and meanwhile the train is coming ever closer so run back up on the track and pull them off and run back up on the track and pull them up but at some point. The train has arrived. And if I climb up on that track and pull them off were both going to get run over by the train. This is never going to be a problem to solve.

It's good to be attention to manage because every circumstance is so unique and filled with nuances that only you know what the main point is acknowledging you cannot work harder on someone else, then they are willing to work on themselves because it doesn't work. I share another analogy in forgiving what you can't forget. It's kind of like CPR, CPR can save lives and that's where if someone is unable to breathe, on their own or their heart is not beating on its own. You can apply external pressure to hopefully jolt them back into a rhythm where their heart is beating and your breathing for them. So oxygen is getting in there and then you may even call in the professionals and then the professionals can do CPR and maybe they have even more stamina to do the CPR but at some point if that person does not have a heart that starts beating again and doesn't eventually start breathing on their own that professional will declare them dead. It's often not the professionals that have an issue with this. It's us because in our desperation to want them to live and to want their heart beat and want their lungs to you know operate correctly. We are applying so much external pressure on someone but CPR is not sustainable, long-term, and neither is us working externally on someone that they need to work on an internal reality that driving so much of the behavior that so alarming to us be addictions or whatever it is, and so I think that's good to keep in mind, you know that CPR may be good is good to sustain them in the short term, but in the long term. They've got to start making those decisions to work on themselves if it's ever going to be sustainable, so apply that to marriage with my spouse or to a parent with their son or daughter. And I mean how do we just say what it look like to stop doing the CPR well what it looks like is to draw the boundary. There's a couple things about boundaries that you've got to determine ahead of time you want to make sure your boundary is not a threat you want to make sure that it is not a control tactic or manipulation tactic, but what you want to establish is this boundary is not meant to shove the other person away. This boundary is meant to hold me together so that I can continue to live in honoring biblical realities about my character and about my personality and and just how God wants me to live. I want to be kind, but if I am working so hard another person and their exhausting me. My kindness is going to start to wane, and it it over time will turn me into somebody that I don't want to be in this relationship.

So boundary has to be well thought through in advance do you do that with people community church you can if there's a safe other person.

You know sometimes I'll work through it with my counselor or a really trusted wise friend and once I establish okay. There is a need for boundary here and I think through what the boundary is, then I think through how my gonna communicate this.

And I also have to think through what are the consequences if they violate the boundary because a boundary without a consequence is just a suggestion. What are examples of boundaries. Okay, so let's say that you and I are friends and we love to drive to Bible study together. I am more serious about the schedule and your concern is more may be hospitality want to show up.

And so to you. Your priority is that you want to make muffins before Bible study every week. My priority is to get there on time which really means 10 minutes early as I want to get him to get there when I get my place on a get all set up want to go the bathroom. I get something drink I want to sit in my place and I just want to like have a moment for even get started. But because of your love for hospitality in your priorities making muffins and the muffins are always making you run late and so every week. Yes, you have delicious homemade muffins but I come to pick you up because you want to ride together and you're like okay to just take me 15 more minutes and you're going crazy going crazy is about the time we get the bows that each week you're like flitting in on a cloud bubble of joy, a serving everybody muffins and I am seething with frustration and I'm like I don't even want a muffin because he muffins made me have to sit over here and get the whole thing is driving me nuts right over time like that. This seems like a silly example, but over time instead if I'm not drawing abound with you all start labeling you she's disrespectful she doesn't care about the relationship. She cares more about impressing everybody with her muffins than she does about my heart and I told her every time I am picking you up at this time and every time she violates that seek and see how my expectation becomes a premeditated resentment against you, and one of the number one reasons that relationships falls apart is simmering resentments and it's often not the conversations we have that makes relationships fall apart if the conversations we don't have the conversations in her head exactly yeah and so a boundary would look like me coming to you and saying I love you and I love writing Bible study with you and I appreciate the fact that you want to bring homemade muffins. Now here's my hardship on time. To me, means getting there 10 minutes. 15 minutes early on time to you is like Lena getting there. Whenever it happens to occur to you to get there right that doesn't make you bad and that doesn't make me good and it doesn't make you wrong in me right. It means we have different priorities so to honor the parties that I have is you cannot agree to the time and actually be in the car at the time, then we need to stop writing to Bible study together and it's not an indication that I love you less.

It's an indication that I need this so that I can keep from having simmering resentment in our relationship. Your saving the relationship really and so much of it is communicating instead of expectations its needs and desires. One time my counselor help me understand Lisa, you have all these expectations but is setting you up for premeditated resentments. So instead of saying I expect you to be on time to hear, the edge none. I need to be on time because this is a priority for me. Totally different because designing it is yeah what I look like in a marriage. Well, I think in a marriage. The complicating factor is sometimes you wait too long to have these conversations and over time in the depth of an intimate relationship even though you don't physically see relationship contract. The relationship contract is there and so what happens is if you change the contract of hay will just show up whenever we show up or hey now I'm expected to be on time. The minute you start changing the contract is the minute that there's can be resistance because that's not the way be done, and the longer you wait to have these communication opportunities about hey we need to communicate about this because I have a different need and desire than what's happening right now. The key is really communicating early and if it has gone too long and there's too much resentment build up you probably need to get 1/3 party in there and help untangle some of those realities, and then put the needs and desires of both parties on the table and see where the commonality can be cultivated for a follower of Christ boundaries have been a very difficult thing to enforce because we think this will be grace giver also.

So forgive just keep walking all over me key break in the art you known her since the vows we've made in our marriage, and that's okay because I'm going to forgive you, rather than as you said earlier's not to push you out of my life etc. protect Ray will think about it. Jesus was a perfect match of grace and truth. And Jesus had boundaries. He didn't give intimate access to the whole world he gave 12 that kind of access and even amongst the 12 he had boundaries were sometimes he only took three and then there other times he would just be one-on-one.

Also when we look at Jesus life and he got up early in the morning and it went to a place of solitude to he could spend time with the father.

He had boundaries me he had that he made a priority to spend time in prayer and so he wasn't allowing complete access everyone all the time. I think it's important to look if Jesus was perfect grace and truth and he was and even he established what was necessary for him and it's okay. He demonstrated it's okay to have needs. It's okay to have a personal desire, especially when it's a reflection of a priority.

That's really important is sometimes were beating ourselves up and were saying like I want to be a person of grace. Therefore, I don't have boundaries, you're actually contradicting yourself so many times it boundaries the most grace filled thing you can do because a boundary isn't set up to destroy the relationship boundaries set up to protect the relationship.

Hopefully God intervenes in because of the boundaries set up in the other person and it could be a turning point in their life, to say the train is coming.

How could I not see this. I didn't see it until so-and-so put up a boundary and said you're not revealed a walk into my life that way anymore. That's like right I often uses a self known he does and if we look at the Lord's prayer.

So much of the way Jesus taught us to pray whole the topic. This is the ultimate prayer he made almost half the prayer around forgiveness and confession and forgiveness is so many of the words of the prayer it's centered around keeping our hearts swept clean and therefore it just makes sense that if you are working through forgiving someone then you're obviously needing to communicate how to change that relationship. Forgiveness is not can instantly fix the relationship but over time, well communicated boundaries will because they established were the parameters of freedom are and I think we had to shift our mindset. Instead of saying boundary shut people out know a boundary actually welcomes them in and gives them a free space to run in the relationship, and everybody's communicating and it's actually one of the most wise and beautifully bonding things that can happen as we close up our time together and still struck by the fact that you spent probably over thousand hours studying in Scripture about forgiveness the way I visualize it is you had a choice we've been shattered betrayed crushed. I would say, in spirit, not only spirit but just physically you've gone through a lot with cancer with different illnesses, surgeries, and so your your crushed in your broken.

That's when a lot of us. We can feel like God you've left me to you haven't you haven't answered my prayers. I'm living a life that I never wanted to live in.

So I think a lot of people can run from Jesus. But as you said you spent these hours with him, you're praying in the middle of the night. How would you encourage people to go there to run after him. Instead of running away from him. Would you say to those listeners. Well, first I would say you're not alone and please hear me I don't do this perfectly, just because I've written up called forgiving. We can't forget it doesn't make me a forgiveness expert.

It makes Mia a forgiveness sojourner in I'm on this journey with you and so I understand. I still have some of those metal than I think this is in a fix all Band-Aid that suddenly makes everything okay. But remember, when we cling to the promises of God. A lot of times we only want the promises that feel good to us, but we also have to remember Jesus said it was almost like a promise in this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world. Because of that. It's almost like pay attention to what Jesus was saying here.

He promised he said in this world you're going to have trouble so instead of letting it catch us so off guard.

Remember that he also provided for us even in the midst of the trouble even in the midst of the hardship he provided us a pathway to peace and good, you won't always feel it and you will get angry and hurt and frustrated and mad. But here's the secret just because you been hurt doesn't mean you have to live hurt just because somebody has made you angry doesn't mean you have to live angry just because you feel disillusioned doesn't mean you have to live disillusioned. Maybe the pain placed on us was not our choice and often times it's not.

But it is our choice where we go from here, and it can truly make us more compassionate work and make us more hardhearted and it's that part is our choice and oasis IQ. These programs in your book your life, your honesty or vulnerability is given.

People given us of a roadmap with Jesus to healing and to be a healer and Beaufort River. Forgiving people forgive people we can do it without him. So thank you you're welcome. Are you living are you living angry are you living with disillusionment as Lisa triggers just said that's the choice we make. Even if we been hurt you. But if someone is provoked angry. Most the decision of how organ loop is a decision that rests with us. We may need prayer. We may need help.

We may need coaching or guidance to know how to get there but God through his word and by his spirit can bring us to the place where were living with freedom and with joy. Lisa talks about this in the book she's written called forgiving. What you can't forget Discover how to move on.

Make peace with painful memories and create a life that's beautiful. It's a book that were making available this week to family life today listeners you can order it from us on why the family like or you can call one 800 FL today to get a copy of the website is family life recall is one 800 FL today, 1-800-358-6329 to get a copy of Lisa Kirk Hearst's book, forgiving what you can't forget.

If you find yourself needing help with knowing how to forgive them how to bring healing into your life and in your marriage. Let me encourage you to carve out a week of this fall and join us at one of our upcoming weekend.

Remember, marriage getaways, this 2 1/2 to get away for couples has been attended by millions of people over the years who have told us you gave them the help they were looking for them hopefully needed for their marriage. Most of the couples who come would say there in a good spot in their marriage.

They're coming to do some marriage maintenance, but there are couples who are coming who are stuck and are looking for biblical help to know how to move forward in their marriage relationship and they find of the weekend. Remember marriage get away.

So wherever you are in your marriage. Whatever your circumstances are. I know what kind of a year and 1/2 two years it's been for many of us get away right about now, so it's really good again. We got 30 events happening this fall in cities all across the country.

If you sign up today for an upcoming getaway you and your spouse will save 50% off the regular registration fee so there is no better time than right now for you to register for an upcoming weekend. Remember, marriage getaway, you can do that are mine of family life or you can call one 800 FL today register over the phone.

We hope you will join us this fall at one of our weekend. Remember marriage getaways note tomorrow Dave Wilson is going to share with us how we can make sense of some of the confusing and sometimes controversial things we find when we rediffusion chapter 5 the passage on marriage that talks about things like submission and laying down your life for your wife, Dave Wilson unpacks all of that tomorrow.

Hope you can tune in for that on behalf of our host Steven M Wilson on Bob Lapine see you back next time for another edition of family life today.

Family life today is a production of family life ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime