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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Revolutionary Forgiveness

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Why is it sometimes so hard for us to forgive others?  Forgiveness is often the virtue we all believe in until we have to do it.  Sometimes we forgive readily. Other times it is very hard and seems humanly impossible.  Eric Wright the author of Revolutionary Forgiveness says it’s as if there is an ‘unforgiveness’ gene spliced into our DNA.

Without forgiveness, says Wright, our relationships become brittle and tattered — or non-existent. Forgiveness stifles the shrill voice of conflict, heals hurts and renews broken relationships.  What might happen to our lives if we could learn to offer forgiveness, receive forgiveness and celebrate forgiveness?  In Garcia Márquez’s book, Love in the Time of Cholera, a marriage collapses over the failure of the wife to replace soap in the bathroom. The husband exaggerated the problem. The wife refused to admit that she forgot. Since neither would ask forgiveness, they slept in separate rooms for seven months and ate in silence.

                What would happen to society, says Wright, if everyone could begin each day with a slate wiped free of grievances, bitterness, anger, failure and sin? Unforgiveness reveals anger and bitterness in our lives.  We easily become convinced that our anger is righteous and justified.  Our disappointed expectations easily become hardened judgments of others.  The Good Book tells us that our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure.  It is so easy to point the finger at other people and be unwilling to deal with our own baggage.

                 In the world’s most famous prayer, we say “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”  In effect we are saying to God “don’t forgive me if I refuse to forgive others.” Very few of us would consciously pray ‘Don’t forgive me’. We all want to be forgiven.  We all want peace of mind.  We all want to have the good night’s sleep that comes from a clear conscience.  Jesus on the cross prayed ‘Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.’  People who hurt us deeply often have no idea of their painful impact on our lives and families.

                When we forgive, we set the prisoner free.  Sometimes that prisoner is ourselves.  The Great Physician says that unforgiveness emotionally and spiritually keeps us in a torture chamber.  Our unwillingness to forgive are  like chains on our hands, heart and feet.  Life is too short to hang onto bitterness.  It is too short to wait for others to repent and say that they are sorry.  Often they never will.  Don’t wait for them to apologize.  Give your bitterness to the Lord.  Give your anger and resentment to God.  Forgiveness will set you free.  My prayer for those who reading this article is that each of us will have the courage to give our disappointments and bitterness to the Creator of the universe.

p.s. You can order Eric Wright’s Revolutionary Forgiveness book online at Amazon.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-an article for the September Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

 

- In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mailed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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“I Don’t Believe in God…”

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Today’s new atheism has been popularized by Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris.  Contemporary atheism reminds me of Alexandre  Dumas’ book ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.  You may remember Jim Caviezel/ Edmond Dantes’ cry while in Chateau d’If prison: “I don’t believe in God”.  Edmond had suffered so deeply and so unfairly for so long that he had given up on the concept of a loving and just God.  His ‘cellmate’ Abbe Faria poignantly replied to Edmond: “God believes in you.”

Alexandre Dumas lived through many French revolutions during which belief in God became distinctly out-of-fashion or even dangerous to one’s health.  Dumas experienced much disappointment in his life, and was frequently either breaking the heart of a female acquaintance or having his own heart broken.  Yet in the midst of many setbacks, Dumas had a fascination with the God question that comes across in his over 250 novels, travel pieces, memoirs, and theatre productions.  Best known as author of ‘The Three Musketeers’, ‘The Man with the Iron Mask’, and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, Dumas had a remarkable ability to touch deep into people’s souls.  As his friend Victor Hugo said after Dumas’ death, Alexandre “fertilizes the soul, the mind, the intelligence; he creates a thirst for reading; he penetrates the human genius and sows seeds in it.”

In the Dumas biography ‘Genius of Life’, we are told about young Dumas’ tragic loss of his father:

“Why should I not see (my father) any more?”

“Because God has taken him back”

“…I’m going to heaven”, said young Dumas, “I’m going to kill God who killed my papa.”

 

Dumas, being an avid reader, learned much sacred history from the Bible that later shaped many of his plays.  Dumas encouraged the studying of ‘the bible as a religious, historic and poetic book’. At one point, young Dumas was given funding in a will to go to seminary and become a priest.  This overwhelmed him, and he said “I am running away, because I do not want to be a priest.”  Receiving his first communion had a profound impact on Dumas: “When the host touched his lips, he became dizzy, burst into sobs, and fainted.  It took him three days to recover from this…Dumas would never again approach the communion table, except at the hour of his death.”

Our reactions to suffering and injustice can make or break us, turn us bitter or better.  So often we are insensitive to the deeper issues of life until we have personally ‘hit the wall’.  Edmond Dantes the Monte Cristo hero recalled that

‘the prayers taught him by his mother discovered in them a hidden meaning hitherto unknown to him.  To the happy and prosperous man, prayer is but a meaningless jumble of words until grief comes to explain to the poor wretch the sublime language that is our means of communication with God.”

 

Edmond Dantes miraculously escaped from prison and found hidden treasure on the Island of Monte Cristo.  Using resurrection language, Dumas commented,

“When (Edmond) was at the height of his despair, God revealed himself to him through another human being.  One day he left his tomb transfigured miraculously.

 

But Edmond was consumed by a need for revenge that threatened to destroy his own new freedom.  “I must have revenge, Mercedes!  For fourteen long years have I suffered, for fourteen years wept and cursed, and now I must avenge myself.”

Dantes admitted to Mercedes: “From being a kind and confiding nature, I made myself in to a treacherous and vindictive man…If you ever loved me, don’t rob me of my hate. It is all I have.”  She wisely responded, saying, “Let it go Edmond. Let it go.

Edmond’s reappearance after so many years in prison called forth this memorable statement from Mercedes:

“Edmond, I know there is a God above, for you still live and I have seen you. I put my trust in him to help me…Unhappy wretch that I am, I doubted God’s goodness… Cowardice was at the root of all my actions.”

Edmond responded to her deep repentance by saying: “you have disarmed me by your sorrow…God had need of me and my life was spared.”

At the end of the book, Edmond faces the Christ-like choice of mercy or revenge.  He painfully chose mercy which set him free from the root of bitterness that was eating him alive.  Mercedes commented: “I repeat once more, Edmond, it is noble, beautiful to forgive as you have done.”

Dumas said in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ that ‘the wretched and miserable should turn to their Saviour first, yet they do not hope in Him until all other hope is exhausted.’

My prayer for those reading this article is that we not totally exhaust ourselves before we finally admit our spiritual need.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

- previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

- In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Prophetic Words from Bonnie Chatwin

by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

 

Bonnie Chatwin

On April 12, 2005, I was feeling rather fragile in the midst of helping others work through all the trauma and loss around our congregation’s pending eviction.

While I was working out at our local Parkgate Gym, Bonnie Chatwin a very gifted Pastoral Counsellor phoned me by cell phone. She cautioned me against falling into the ‘bait of Satan’ , that of taking offense, resulting in unforgiveness and bitterness. And she poured into me excerpts from Paul’s epistles to Timothy: words that were to become the skeleton of my award-winning book “Battle for the Soul of Canada”.

1 Timothy 1: Warning against false teachers

2 Timothy 1:8: Do not be ashamed

2 Timothy 1:12 I am not ashamed

2 Timothy 1:14 Guard the Deposit

2 Timothy 2:1 Be strong in the grace…endure hardship

2 Timothy 2:15 A Workman that does not need to be ashamed

2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel

2 Timothy 3:5 Have nothing to do with them.

2 Timothy 3:10 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

2 Timothy 4:2 I give you this charge

2 Timothy 4:3 The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine

Bonnie Chatwin said to me:

“You are going through a prophetic commissioning. It’s a process, standing, enduring, getting through, not focusing on the visible results with the eye. Take on an attitude of humility, grace, but also of courage and strength. Do not take personal offense, or you will be taken out. There is no use arguing with your oppressors. You have been stripped of a crown of glory as an Anglican priest, now wearing a crown of thorns, one with Christ. You need to express an attitude of gratitude and embrace the counselor/the Holy Spirit, admitting your helplessness. You are not rebelling against authority, but rather just standing firm.”

 

Out of that prophetic encounter, I became convinced once again that Christian values lie at the very foundation of our nation, that the key to renewing the soul of Canada- the heart of my new book- is to be found in raising up Timothys, raising up the emerging generation of leaders.

 Who was Timothy? What do we know about him? Timothy was Paul’s irreplacable right-hand man sent into impossible circumstances to re-establish healthy foundations. To the troubled Corinthians, Paul said: “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”(1 Corinthians 4:17) Listen to what Paul said to the Phillipians: “For this reason I am sending Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like (Timothy), who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”(2:20-21)

How the local city church treated Timothy determined how healthy they would be in their future. Timothy, being naturally shy, could easily be put off by inhospitality. Paul, as his mentor and spiritual father, fought for his acceptance: “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.” (1st Corinthians 16:10).

In many ways, Timothy has the personality profile of Canada: gentle, somewhat insecure, and easily rejected. Yet Paul saw that this unlikely individual had the potential to be a great leader, even to be the successor after Paul’s assassination by the Emperor Nero. Canada, and especially the Canadian Church, has the potential for great servant leadership throughout the nations. We can be God’s Timothys, if we will only humble ourselves before the Lord (2nd Chronicles 7:14 )

A genuine Timothy is someone who seeks first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness in this profoundly self-centered culture. A genuine Timothy is someone sold out for God, passionate, committed, and visionary. Paul knew that Timothys need to first be discovered and then raised up. Paul knew that Timothys are a rare breed (I have no one else like Timothy), but they can change a nation. Timothys need to first go through a time of testing and proving. Paul commented: “you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” (2:22)

At St. Simon’s North Vancouver, we have been privileged to mentor and raise up three Timothys for the Anglican priesthood (The Revs. Peter Falk, Ken Bell, and Josh Wilton). It takes time to raise up Timothys. Mushrooms grow overnight; Oak trees take longer.

 Sometimes the Canadian Church has looked to committees to rescue Canada from its malaise. The Rev Sam Shoemaker commented, “Committees do not beget spiritual movements, any more than they beget babies. Inspired men beget them.” As one wag put it, God so loved the world that He didn’t send a committee!

My vision in the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada is to raise up and send Timothys all across our nation, and ultimately around the world for the healing of the nations. Paul said that he hoped to send Timothy soon. That is our passion and calling. That is the hope of our nation, to raise up Timothys to turn our nation back to God.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

- In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Leave a comment

Nothing Can Separate Us…

 

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My family and I watched ‘Tagged’, a Canadian movie on CTV about  Jonathan Wamback, a 16 year old boy who was mercilessly bullied,  beaten and left for dead. Repeatedly kicked in the head with steel-toe  boots, Jonathan’s skull was shattered, and he almost died three times on  the way to surgery. After spending his 16th summer in a coma, he  miraculously gradually recovered. When Jonathan was well enough, he had  this overwhelming desire to go back to the very high school where he had  been so badly bullied and rejected. This gripping movie ends with  Jonathan courageously walking back into school like a wounded bird that  would not go away. Nothing could separate Jonathan from his school.

Watching the re-enactment of Jonathan being kicked in the head brought  back vivid memories of myself being kicked in the head at the same age  while surrounded by a frenzied gang. Fortunately for me, I was able to  jump on my 10-speed Pugeot and escape before it was too late. But my  ears ached and rang for days after that. Ashamed, separated, and slimed  by that bullying, I never told my parents until years later.

Years later I now realize that I had nothing to be ashamed of, and in  fact could just as easily have ended up in hospital like Jonathan  Wamback. Bullying kills. Bullying shames. Bullying steals life and joy  from others.

I thank God for Jonathan Wamback who would not let bullies separate him  from his school and his friends. Bullying can so easily fill us with  fear and bitterness. It can so easily separate us from the most  important things in our life.

Until I could forgive my attacker, I was actually in bondage to him  spiritually and emotionally. Once I could begin to forgive him, I began  to be free. I learnt that unforgiveness and bitterness is like a wall  that separates people from our life. My desire for revenge created a  spiritual apartheid that left me cut off and shut down. When I met Jesus  Christ in Grade 12, I experienced such forgiveness and joy that my  family initially worried about me. Later they came to see that this new  inner peace was more than one more passing fad. The wall of emotional  apartheid, created by bullying, was gone.

This amazing inner peace has taught me that nothing can separate me from  those I love. Nothing can separate me from those who care for me.  Nothing can separate me from the things that really matter in life.  Nothing can separate me from my faith and deepest values. I am convinced  that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the  present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor  anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that  is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38). No bully, no bitterness, no  bigotry can rob me of love, can rob me of faith, can rob me of  forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

My prayer for those reading this article  is that nothing will separate us from the amazing love of God found in  Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s  Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

- In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Leave a comment

Why Pray when You can Fight?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Fighting makes us feel strong.  Prayer reminds us that we are vulnerable.  Fighting makes us feel in control.  Prayer reminds us to let go and let God.  Fighting feeds on anger and bitterness.  Prayer feeds on forgiveness and peace.

I became a Christian 42 years ago, after 17 years of spiritual hide-and-seek.  Being raised in church, I was taught to pray as a child but never really understood the intimacy of a real relationship.  As a teenager, my prayer life gradually faded into non-existence.  I never rejected God.  I just kept God at a convenient distance without even realizing it.

God to me was not untrue, but rather irrelevant.  I never rejected prayer.  It just slipped off my radar screen into oblivion.  I never rejected the Church.  I just found it painfully boring and obscure.  Though I was desperately seeking for the meaning of life, I had no idea that the Church would have anything to offer in that area.

When I was brutally attacked as a teenager by a gang member, I turned to martial arts in a secret desire for both self-defense and revenge.  Fighting made me feel strong.  I had no idea that prayer might turn out to be a more powerful weapon.  Within a year, I came to know Jesus Christ on a personal basis, and lost the desire to get even.  A few years later, I discovered that this bully had gone after someone larger than him who had kicked this bully’s teeth in and twisted a broken beer bottle in his face.  Hearing that story taught me that violence always breeds violence.  It was better to forgive because there is always ‘a faster gunfighter just waiting around the corner.’  Even with that realization, it still took me twenty years  before I finally parted company with martial arts.

When I met Jesus Christ 42 years ago, I was flabbergasted that someone was actually listening.  Prayer no longer felt like talking to the ceiling plaster.  It felt personal, real, and infectious.  I couldn’t get enough of connecting to this new best-friend.  There had been  an emptiness inside me that skiing, golfing, and parties couldn’t fill.  Through prayer, I felt a new inner peace and warmth that even my former drinking buddies noticed.

Going back to church, I noticed that church wasn’t as boring as it used to be.  While it may have changed, the big thing was that I had changed from the inside out.  I developed a new love and concern for people that I used to avoid and even look down on.  Instead of resenting life, I began to wake up looking forward to the next adventure that was ahead of me.

One of the things that troubled me though, as a new Christian, was the infighting between all the different denominations.  Why couldn’t the Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Presbyterians, etc learn to get along and stop competing?  Sometimes Christians reminded me of my old life as a non-Christian when I would rather fight than pray.

One of the wonderful gifts of living on the North Shore is that denominational bickering is at an all-time low.  Clergy and pastors speak well of each other’s congregations and even freely send parishioners to attend other churches.  There is a generosity among North Shore pastors that allows us to bless each other instead of cursing each other.

This hasn’t happened by accident.  It is the fruit of thirty-six years of weekly prayer by the North Shore clergy, first at Hillside Baptist . and now at Valley Church.  By praying together on the second Wednesday of each month, God has been teaching the North Shore pastors how much we need each other.  We busy North Shore Clergy have been learning that we are too busy not to pray.  By focusing on Jesus Christ, we have been rediscovering that we are on the same team.  Denominations are second.  Jesus is first.

Every denomination has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Instead of putting down another group for their flaws, we are learning to hold them up in prayer that they may become all that they are meant to be.  Presbyterians don’t need to become Anglicans, and Anglicans don’t need to become Baptists.  Our real calling is to love each other with the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.  Many churches have formed because someone was hurt.  We have been learning that it is time to forgive, time to heal, time to pray.  Why fight when we can pray?  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may rediscover the deep truth that the family that prays together stays together.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

- In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Making Love Last Forever with Gary Smalley

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the most encouraging books that I have read on marriage and relationships is by the best-selling author Gary Smalley, who has  sold millions of videos on how to strengthen our vital relationships.  John Gray, the well-known author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, comments: “If you want a lasting love relationship, I highly recommend Gary Smalley’s guide to forever love”.

One of the keys to his memorable books is that Gary teaches you how to fall in love with life all over again.  Everything he writes has to do with the age-old struggle between the life-giving principle of honour and the life-draining emotion of destructive anger.  The average person, says Smalley, has little or no idea how damaging that forgotten or ignored anger can be.  Worse yet, most people don’t even know how much destructive anger they have buried inside, much like unexploded landmines left in the middle eastern sands.  Once buried, our anger does its worst damage, wreaking havoc on our physical and emotional well-being.  Facing our anger is indispensable to Making Love Last Forever.

Anger, says Smalley, is a secondary emotion, not a primary feeling.  It arises out of fear, frustration, hurt, or some combination of these three.  Anger is actually a coping strategy to attempt to banish fear from our lives.  Sometimes our parents have non-verbally taught us that perfect anger casts out all fear, when the truth is that only perfect love casts out all fear.

Smalley comments that anger can be thought of as a sticky, bad-smelling dangerous substance that can be compressed and stuffed into something like a spray can.  Angry people tend to go around spraying their anger on other people.  The spray is felt by others as meanness, insensitivity, and general offensiveness.  Most angry people have no idea that their angry spray stings others like hydrochloric acid.  Unresolved anger is the No. 1 enemy of Making Love Last Forever.

Some of us as men pride ourselves that we are not as other husbands, who physically beat up their wives in drunken rages.  Yet even if our anger never turns violent or illegal, unresolved anger can still prove destructive.  All of us want to feel connected in our primary relationships.  But one of the most common results of deep anger is relational distance, an unwillingness and inability to let others get close.  It is as if we are living inside a relational box of thick plate glass.  Yet we keep wondering as men why our wives won’t become more intimate.

Unresolved anger, says Smalley, is not only destructive to our families.  It is also destructive to our personal health. Many of the backaches, neckaches, and headaches that send us complaining to our GPs are actually the outworking of buried anger.  Anger studies were done on medical doctors and lawyers over a 25 year period.  By the age of fifty, only 4 percent of the low-ranked easy-going lawyers and 2 percent of the doctors had died.  Lawyers who had ranked high on anger had a 20 percent mortality rate;  doctors 14 percent.  Studies are also showing that angry people are more susceptible to heart attacks – the leading cause of death in North America.  Hostile anger can boost heart rates, raise blood pressure and lead to increased clogging of the arteries.  What’s worse, says Smalley, is that the risk of heart attack seems to be greatly increased during the two hours following a bout with anger.

Why do we get angry anyways?  Smalley suggests that we get angry because either someone is taking something away from us that we don’t want to lose, or else we’re being denied something we want to gain.  By facing and grieving our losses, we break the power of anger to make our lives miserable.

Part of healthy grieving is the willingness to lay aside bitterness, the willingness to say like Jesus: “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Another key to grieving, says Smalley, is to search for “hidden pearls” in any offense committed against you.  The idea here is that some good can come out of any bad situation – if you’ll just look for it.  That’s why the Good Book says that all things work for the good for those who love the Lord.  Grieving our losses is an irreplaceable key in Making Love Last Forever.

I recently watched a most disturbing and enlightening movie entitled “The Field”.  It was about an Irish farmer who dedicated his life to providing for his family’s future.  But again and again his anger rose up to destroy everything and everyone that he loved.  Given my Irish heritage,  it was a strong warning to me that I had to face the anger in my life, or it would one day destroy me.

Unresolved anger can cripple us in so many ways.  Anger keeps us distant from the very people we want to care for.  In contrast, love builds bridges of trust and forgiveness.  Sometimes anger even keeps us distant from God himself.  Smalley has found that the greater the unresolved anger, the more difficulty that person has in developing a meaningful spiritual life.  Studies after studies are confirming that a healthy spiritual life in a marriage reduces divorce rates, increases marital satisfaction, and lowers the level of relational conflict.

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us may discover the keys to Making Love Last Forever.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church, North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-Ed’s brand-new sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.  Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version.

- In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier


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Removing Self-centeredness from Our Marriages

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdJanice and Ed gazing upward

My wife and I recently celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary.  It amazes me to think that I have spent eleven years longer being married as I previously spent being single.

Reflecting on what makes a marriage work, I was struck by how vital is the gift of forgiveness. My wife, by the way, is very gifted at forgiving, probably because I have given her so much practice. My wife is also very patient and persevering, as I have noticed that often in our marriage, it has taken me a while to really grow and change. The fact that she never gives up on me, and that she keeps on believing the best for me, is a wonderful gift indeed.

A while back, I read a fascinating book entitled ‘Men & Women: Enjoying the Differences’ by the best-selling author Dr. Larry Crabb. He commented that ‘self-centered living is the real culprit in marriages with problems. Other-centered living is the answer.’

Ed_Jan2Many of us enter marriage thinking that our spouse will meet our deepest needs. We then feel cheated when they don’t, and begin to close our hearts. How many of us enter marriage with the view that we are there to serve our spouse? How many of us see marriage as a way of serving God?

A marriage where both partners are committed to serving one another, to ‘washing one another’s feet’ is a marriage in which self-centeredness gets sidelined. What will it take, says Dr. Crabb, to realize that our selfishness is without excuse and that our first job, in our friendships and marriages, is to recognize our selfishness and learn how we can change?

One thing that men and women have equally in common is that we are all equally self-centered and selfish. Little growth in marriages take place, says Dr. Crabb, until we realize that the disease of self-centeredness is fatal to our souls and marriages.

Nothing exposes our self-centeredness more heartclearly than anger. Because our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we have an amazing ability to justify our own anger and bitterness towards our spouse, while simultaneously excusing our own bad attitudes. Being angry at our spouses can be very attractive, because it makes us feel both powerful and self-righteous.

Having counseled dozens of couples over the years, I am continually amazed at the self-deception of many who convince themselves that the problem is their spouse, and that their personal faults are far more minor and merely reactive. Self-centeredness is a cancer that blinds us from seeing that the problem is not merely our spouse; the problem is ourselves. Our culture is saturated with excuses for everything. It is not my fault. It’s my spouse’s, my parent’s, my government’s, or my boss’ fault. A.A. calls that ‘stinking thinking’.

Few of us are willing to do a thorough moral inventory of our own personal faults. The bible uses a short, unpopular word for self-centeredness. It calls it ‘sin’. Sin doesn’t mean that we are axe-murderers or child molesters. The heart of the word ‘sin’ is the ‘I’ at the middle. The heart of most marriage problems is self-centered sin.

Dr E Stanley Jones picture 2Dr. E. Stanley Jones, founder of the Christian Ashram, once said that ‘there can be no love between a husband and wife unless there is mutual self-surrender. Love simply cannot spring up without that self-surrender to each other. If either withholds the self, love cannot exist.’

A man and his wife were having painful marriage difficulties. The wife went away to a Christian Ashram, and surrendered her marriage to the Lord. When she returned home, her husband said to her: ‘Well, Miss High and Mighty, what did you learn at the Ashram?’ She replied: ‘I’ve learned that I’ve been the cause of all our troubles.’ She got up from her chair, came around beside him and knelt, folded her hands and said: ‘Please forgive me. I’m the cause of all our troubles.’

 At that moment, her husband nearly upset the kitchen table, while getting down on his knees beside her. He blurted out, ‘You’re not the cause of all our troubles — I am.’ There they met each other — and God. Each surrendered to Jesus, then they surrendered to each other and were free. Now this couple, instead of continually criticizing each other, are one in love and forgiveness.

My prayer for those reading this article is that many may find victory through surrender.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)

-author of the award-winning ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

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