And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11
Denial can be good. After a severe loss our mind and emotions cannot handle the onslaught of sorrow, so we don’t feel our severe pain until we are ready. Sometimes, denial can be helpful, but most of the time denial is unhealthy, especially if we deny having any issues with denial. Our delay in acknowledging and accepting the truth on a matter, actually makes matters worse. We may downplay the reality of an illness, a financial problem, a relational fracture or a job at risk, only to be unprepared for a disaster. Denial keeps us from properly preparing for real life issues.
Reality can be a hard teacher. Perhaps it's time to stop giving a college student money because it is funding their addiction. The credit cards need to be cut up for a season because they make compulsive shopping too easy. Abstaining from alcohol or dating might be required because of the disruption your dependence is causing. Unless you and your spouse get professional Christ-centered counseling, separation is on the horizon. Better to embrace reality early and escape denial’s detrimental affect. Ask those who love you most how you may be living in denial.
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth” (James 3:14).
How can we help others who struggle with denial? What is our role as a friend or family member? Patience and prayer are necessary as we seek to comfort and care for them. Unless they are on the verge of a life threatening situation, we need to refrain from being too aggressive. But if they are endangering themselves or someone else, an intervention may be required. People they respect can meet with the person in denial. Clearly, lovingly and compassionately share the facts of the situation and provide supportive solutions.
Above all else, make sure you don’t deny the existence of God. He is your personal and loving heavenly Father who wants His very best for you. His son Jesus died and rose from the grave to forgive your sins, giving you eternal life with the Lord. Embrace the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the dangers of denial. Walk in the everyday reality of a growing relationship with Christ. He will free you from fear. Yes, the best reality is God’s moment by moment love we experience by grace through faith.
“The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith free me of unhealthy denial and help me embrace Your reality.
Related Readings: Psalm 10:4; Luke 1:34; Acts 24:24-26; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 6:7
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