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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Secrets to a Healthy Marriage

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

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.

I recently 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.’  Many 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 clearly 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, 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, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The 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 paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Curse God and Die

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is a time in every life, comments Stephen Lawson, when all hell breaks loose.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  Cataclysmically.  All hell breaks loose.  One day, life is sunny. Calm. Clear. Predictable.  Your job is secure. Your children behave. Your health is good.  Then out of the blue, like a violent, angry thunderstorm blowing across your landscape, tragedy strikes.  You’re hit hard.  All hell breaks loose.

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why does tragedy strike those who love God the most?  Why do the good die young?   One of the most famous sufferers on Planet Earth asked all these questions.  He suffered so deeply that his wife couldn’t stand it anymore.  She said to her husband Job: “Curse God and die”.  In other words, get it over with.  It’s no use.  There is no future.  You could almost see Job’s wife as the first Euthanasia advocate.  Yet rather than choosing suicide, Job clung tenaciously to life.  Often human tragedies like the loss of career, family, or home leads to an even greater tragedy – the denial of any meaning to life.  This was the great temptation that faced Job, and that faces each of us at least once every 18 months on average.

Job went through horrendous suffering for 42 chapters, and yet he never once gave up.  He was tormented by insults from his friends, harrassed by their insensitive advice and browbeaten into admitting wrongdoing that he never committed.  Under attack, Job groaned, he wailed, he doubted and fell into deep depression, he lashed out like an infuriated animal….but he never cursed God.  No matter how discouraged he was, he clung to his integrity.  He never gave up his rock-bed conviction that he was not to blame for his terrible illness.  Thousands of years later, we modern, scientifically-sophisticated people are still often blaming people when they become sick.  Even in 1997, we can too easily be just like Job’s three comforters who just made their friend feel worse.  “Oh, you’re sick in hospital with cancer…Obviously you are not thinking enough positive mental thoughts, or jogging enough, or eating enough granola.”  One way or another, we can slip into psychosomatically blaming others for their illnesses.

Job was covered from head to toe with putrid boils that never stopped itching.  His feverish body hung limp on its frame, his eyes sank back into his head, and his ribs protruded from his skin.  Job’s three friends lacked the courage to feel Job’s pain, and respond rather than just react.  Job didn’t need a lecture from his three friends; he needed love.  He didn’t need a sermon;  he needed sympathy.  He didn’t need criticism; he needed comfort.  When we are struck down by tragedy, we need to know that our friends really care.  And we need to know that God cares, God really listens, and God will never leave us.

Why is it that so many famous writers, poets, philosophers, and scientists have turned time and again to the book of Job?  Perhaps because it easily takes its place among the masterpieces of the world’s literature.  The author of Job was a poet of rare genius who powerfully expressed our deepest feelings and thoughts.  Sooner or later, we all identify with Job because suffering is part and parcel of life.  We are bonded to Job through our common experience of pain.  Many reject God, but no one rejects Job.  Simply by suffering so greatly and hanging on for dear life through it all, Job has won our hearts.

As Stephen Lawson puts it, heaven is often silent.  In such times, the only answer God gives is a deeper revelation of Himself.  We learn that He is the answer we seek.  Ultimately we must not trust a plan, but a Person.  There is something about our questioning minds that longs for answers.  If we only knew, we reason, we could handle our pain.  Yet placing God’s infinite wisdom into our finite brains would be like trying to pour the Atlantic Ocean into a Dixie Cup.  It just wouldn’t fit.  It’s too vast and deep.

Job’s faith wavered.  He mourned.  He cried.  He protested.  He questioned.  He even cursed the day of his birth.  But he never cursed God.  In the face of adversity, he remained firm in his only hope – God.  When our world falls apart unexpectedly, we must  not dwell on why but on who.  Only God’s disclosure of Himself is powerful enough to heal the heart and relieve the pain.

Job in his sufferings, said Mike Mason, resembled Jesus on the cross.  The only person who has ever endured more than Job was Jesus of Nazareth. We do not need to have nails driven into our hands and feet to know what a cross is.  A cross is a cross.  To be crushed is to be crushed, and we all have had a taste of this.  Job in his suffering was looking for what could only be found in a manger, on a cross, in an empty tomb.  The key to Job’s sufferings, and indeed to life itself, is the cross.  Jesus did not rise above suffering; he went through it.  Jesus let himself be captured by soldiers, tried by legalists and bureaucrats, condemned by a mob, scourged by mockers, and finally pinned and exhibited like a specimen insect… No amount of suffering could shake either Jesus or Job from their rock-bottom clinging to God.  Though he slay me, said Job, yet will I trust in Him.  We can either curse God and die, or bless God and live.  May we choose Life today that we and our children may live.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The 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 paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– 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’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca