A Time to Tear

Indiana Statehouse w
The dome in the Indiana Statehouse

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Sometimes it is time to mend but there are times we need to tear ourselves away from a situation or a person.

When I was in high school I had a “friend” I  kind of got along with and had fun with in an OK sort of way but she wasn’t really someone I could spend a lot of time with. We had very different interests and very different friends and the friendship took a lot of work for me and quite a bit of compromise. If I spent some time with her, she always wanted more. Our lives were definitely headed in different directions and I wanted to stay on my path. She wanted me on hers.  I tried to explain that I needed some space but then she would threaten me with suicide. Man, that wasn’t a burden I was ready to bear so I hung around a bit longer until I could direct her to some help and extricate myself from the situation. It isn’t that I didn’t care about her life but that is a biggie and difficult to know what to do about at any age, let alone 16.

I had to tear myself away.

A friend of mine was recently telling me her story. Her husband had serious mental health issues but she stayed with him because of the kids. He refused to see any counselors. He was very controlling. After 25+ years she finally had enough and left. He begged and pleaded and said he would kill himself if she didn’t come back. He finally agreed to go to counseling. When she returned he was much nicer and tolerable for three months. Then he started buying new guns and new ammunition. When she talked to her counselor, they told her this was not a good sign and that this often leads to a murder/suicide. She made a difficult decision.

She had to tear herself away.

And thankfully she did. Unfortunately, he killed himself but she likely saved her own life by removing herself from the situation. And, of course, both she and the kids are left to process the tragedy.

Sometimes it isn’t a person who tries to have an unhealthy hold on you. Sometimes it is a habit or a tendency that we need to make a conscious effort to step away from. Sometimes it is more than that, it is a sin we are harboring and catering to and if we can’t simply step away from it then we need to tear ourselves away.

Make a break for it!                   

If someone or something imprisons you, please find wise counsel. Pray for discernment. Some situations are extremely complicated and dangerous and require assistance to be extracted from. Other times we only need the encouragement of a friend or the conviction of Scripture to come face-to-face with where we are and the road we need to take.

The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out. [Proverbs 18:14-15 NIV]

On the way,


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