Participants: Karen Thomas, Dwain Esmond
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000062
00:02 ¤ ¤
00:30 Welcome to Issues and Answers. Today we're going to be talking
00:34 about what it feels like to be hurt when someone
00:37 that you've loved and you care about
00:39 has experienced the loss of a loved one due to
00:43 violence. Or perhaps someone in their family has been hurt by a
00:48 stranger that has robbed something, youth, emotions away
00:51 from someone, and yet they're your friend and you want to
00:55 reach out and help them. Or maybe you have experienced this.
00:58 We're going to talk about that today. What do you do when
01:01 you're in a situation where violence has come straight to
01:05 your front door. Today we going to talk with Dwain Esmond. He is
01:09 the associate editor for the Message magazine. Welcome to
01:12 the program, Dwain. Thank you Karen, thanks again
01:15 for having me. This issue of violence is near and dear to my
01:23 heart and it concerns me because as I look back on my life it's
01:30 been impacted a little bit by a violent episode. I didn't kill
01:36 anybody, by the way, just to put that out there. But I remember
01:43 when I was a teenager, one of my cousins, a close cousin of mine,
01:49 as a matter of fact, was killed in New York. He wasn't involved
01:55 in anything illegal. In fact he was driving a moving van at the
01:59 time with some other friends and they were coming over into New
02:04 Jersey and had stopped at a light and someone pulled up who
02:09 had a problem or some kind of altercation with one of the
02:15 other young men in the vehicle and just began shooting and he
02:21 was killed. And I remember the feeling of losing someone you
02:28 really loved, really cared about and all of a sudden they're just
02:32 gone. My brothers and I were at the funeral. We carried his
02:37 casket. He was just near to us, just very close to us.
02:41 I remember the pain that his mother felt, his sisters, two
02:46 little sisters who were bereft of their brother. His father.
02:50 It was just a very trying experience. And this experience
02:56 is replicated many times in our society. I bet most of our
03:01 listeners today know someone who's lost a loved one to
03:07 violence. Or someone whose family has been touched by a
03:12 violent act that stole the life of another. You can imagine the
03:18 feelings that come as a result of that. What do you do as
03:23 someone who is relational or conversational with this family
03:29 that has had this tragedy happen to them? What does someone who
03:33 is close to that family, or in the area or an associate of that
03:37 family, what can you do to be of service in their great time
03:43 of need? Before I begin, I want to begin with the word of God.
03:48 I am not a preacher but I'm going to put on my preaching
03:52 voice for this little text of scripture. The book of Psalms,
03:57 And again Psalm 13. This is one of my... I like the psalmist
04:02 David because he is like me. He has fallen and as Donnie
04:08 McClerken says he has gotten up and I like that about his story.
04:14 But in chapter 13 in particular of the book of Psalms, he is at
04:20 a low point and he asks this innocuous question of God in
04:26 verse 1. How long wilt thou forget me, oh Lord? Forever?
04:32 How long
04:34 wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel
04:41 in my soul having sorrow in my heart daily? How long shall my
04:47 enemy be exalted over me? It's like he reaches up to some great
04:52 door in heaven and hits his fist against the ceiling and says
04:57 Lord open up. I want to talk to you and how long are you going
05:01 to keep this thing shut and you're not going to talk to me?
05:04 I have a problem. I'm in need of some help here. How long must I
05:10 talk to myself, until I'm blue in the face? When will you deem
05:15 my situation bad enough for you to intervene? I believe that
05:22 many people who lose loved ones face that wall in their lives.
05:28 They come to that point where they wonder about God and that
05:34 is an opportunity for people to be a witness; people who know
05:41 the Lord, who know his healing salvaging power. It's an
05:48 opportunity for those people to stand up and be counted. It's an
05:56 opportunity. A great writer once wrote that the best lack all
06:03 conviction and the worst are filled with passionate intensity
06:10 meaning the people who know what is right, the people who have
06:17 learned what is right, sometimes lack the conviction to act what
06:23 is right. But the people who don't know what is right have no
06:28 inkling to do what is right, they're out there acting with
06:33 passionate intensity doing wrong We have got to be agents of the
06:39 right and we have got to put our belief system to work. If you
06:45 know that God is a healer, that God can help in times of need
06:50 and you have proved him in your life, that is not just for you
06:56 to keep to yourself. God has equipped you for ministry to
07:01 the people who are really in need of help. So what do you do
07:07 if a family has lost a loved one or if a husband is beating his
07:11 wife, for instance? A little bit before this show began you and
07:16 I were talking about domestic violence, a problem that is
07:21 wide-spread in our society. Suppose you are a friend of the
07:26 husband or a friend of the wife? How do you intervene in a
07:33 situation like that on behalf of God? That problem of domestic
07:40 violence in particular has a clinical aspect to it and it
07:44 requires a certain kind of preparation to truly intervene
07:49 and be of service. However, that said, there are things you
07:53 can do to be a minister, a light to this family or to one or two
07:59 members of this family as God allows you to be. The first
08:04 thing I want to talk about is the fact that you have to divest
08:12 yourself of self and say to God empower me, prepare me, give me
08:20 the tools I need to meet the need of this family.
08:25 Amen, that's right, because our own ideas can botch the whole
08:29 thing up. There are people who say, honey
08:32 you need to go back. I don't know why you're leaving.
08:34 Or honey you need to go.
08:35 Or honey you need to get out.
08:37 I wouldn't put up with that.
08:38 I wouldn't... And they have no concept, they're not led by the
08:42 Holy Spirit in saying that and they have no concept really of
08:48 how the thing will turn out if she goes back only to be killed.
08:53 She leaves to be impoverished. To forgo the change that came
08:59 one week later in her husband. Those kinds of situations are
09:03 complicated. Very complicated. And unless we have the light of
09:08 the Holy Spirit and we ask God to equip us to be ministers in
09:12 this home, and really you're not doing anything. God is working
09:17 through you to be of service. You've got to be willing
09:20 channels to be used of God. I think that's the first one I
09:23 want to mention. The next thing I think that's absolutely
09:28 essential is you've got to be present. If a family loses a
09:32 loved one that is not the time for you to be far away from them
09:38 That is the time... Now there may be situations where you may
09:43 not be able to be there right on the nose of the event and
09:48 they may wish for some time to pass, but sooner or later you
09:54 need to be visible. We've got to be visible. We've got to be
09:59 present so that they know we're on the spot.
10:02 Very often the hardest time for a family dealing with grief is
10:06 after the funeral when all the relatives have gone home.
10:10 Everybody's gone. Everybody's gone. You know everybody came
10:14 over and baked the pies and cooked the food for us and
10:18 everyone sat around and held our hand, but now the funeral is
10:22 over, Susie is in the grave and everybody goes back home.
10:25 Or when a person comes home from the hospital and they don't
10:28 have the care that they received in the hospital.
10:31 Where is everyone? Where are the calls. Where are the notes.
10:35 Everyone goes back to their life. We've got to be people who
10:39 are present. One woman tells a story of a child who was very
10:45 badly injured and, in fact, died She came out of the emergency
10:52 room where her daughter perished and outside she saw the doctor
10:59 who delivered her child. He showed up. He thought it was
11:06 important enough that at the time when this child leaves the
11:12 earth that I be there since I was there when she came in.
11:17 I think that kind of an experience, the mother said it
11:22 meant everything to her. He took time to do that. So we've got to
11:26 be present. I think that's one of the first things we've got to
11:31 do. Another important point is that we've got to be resourceful
11:35 This person is really in a very difficult situation and by
11:41 resourceful I don't mean that we've got to necessarily go find
11:46 a bunch of things that they need. I think we need to be
11:51 resourceful in the sense that we find the resources that will be
11:55 the best help for them. For instance, the word of God is a
12:02 tremendous antidote to trying situations that we face. This is
12:08 a great time to introduce them to the book of Psalms. I read
12:15 from a Psalm that is perfect for people who lose a loved one and
12:21 don't really know what to do. Especially if they lose a loved
12:26 one to violence. Because David, while he was fleeing from Saul,
12:32 was in a very violent atmosphere His men were being killed, his
12:36 live was in danger constantly. So when he says in chapter 13
12:42 how long Lord will you forget me? Why are you allowing my
12:48 enemy to be exalted over me when you know he's doing wrong? That
12:54 speaks to the situation that these people are in. They're in
12:59 trouble. The word of God's got an answer for the trouble. At
13:04 the end of the story the rest of the story as my friend Paul says
13:09 on the radio, the rest of the story is that David's God came
13:15 to his rescue and we've got to somehow communicate that during
13:20 this trying period. Another important point that must be
13:25 mentioned, you've got to be available for these people.
13:30 You know, If they need certain things at certain times, can
13:34 they call on you, or is there a time when your answering machine
13:41 is off? Can they call on you? Can they depend on you when they
13:47 really, really need you to be? One woman tells a story of a
13:52 friend who showed up at the hospital during a very tragic
13:58 time with a big bag of coins because this friend knew that
14:02 they would have to make tons of calls everywhere from the
14:07 hospital. They just took that strain right out of their mind.
14:12 It requires thoughtfulness, it requires sensitivity, another
14:17 point I'll mention later, but we've got to be people who feel
14:22 the moment, who sense the moment and who can say OK it's time
14:26 for God to get some glory. This person's been killed; it's time
14:30 for God to get some glory in the situation. We've got to be those
14:36 kind of people. Another amazing and wonderful way that we can be
14:40 of service to people who hurt or lose loved ones is we've got to
14:45 be nonjudgmental of them. They're going to say some hard
14:51 things during this period of time. They're probably numb from
14:57 the event, disillusioned by the event, maybe going through some
15:04 denial about the event. They're at a point where they're at the
15:09 end of their rope and they're trying to tie a knot that just
15:13 won't resolve itself so that they can hold on. And you have
15:18 got to grasp of the rope up a little higher and they're
15:22 hanging on to you and their little piece of the rope. At
15:26 that moment that's not a time for you to say sweetheart that's
15:31 not Biblical. You know this unbelief that you're
15:37 expressing about the God we serve. Where is he? What's he
15:42 doing? There is no God. When a person begins to speak like that
15:46 that's not a time for you to pull out the Bible necessarily
15:50 and say you know but here in 4:29, 50 and 54 whatever the
15:54 Bible says this. We've got to be nonjudgmental in the sense that
15:58 we hear them out. There will come a time when you'll be able
16:01 to pull that Bible out and you'll be able to say, here's
16:05 what God says. But you've got to let that storm kind of pass for
16:11 a minute and then come back to that. Another essential way that
16:16 we can touch people during this crucial time in their lives is
16:20 we've got to be listeners and that goes along with being
16:26 nonjudgmental. Now I'm rambling on here and whenever you're
16:32 ready because what I'm about to say may come right back to me.
16:37 But some people talk a lot and the art of listening is like a
16:42 lost art in our society. You know, people put up their own
16:47 web sites just so they can speak to the world. Everyone speaks
16:52 everyone speaks. There is an art to listening.
16:57 I know when I was going through graduate school we had to go all
17:00 the way through the process of listening, communication,
17:04 learning how not to talk when other people are talking and
17:07 want to express themselves. How can you possibly know what their
17:09 problem is or whatever it is that they may be facing if
17:12 they've not had an opportunity to express in their own words
17:17 what it is. And they may never got to it.
17:18 They leave even more frustrated than when they came to you
17:23 because they took the time to bare their soul before you about
17:27 something that's really difficult and really hurting to
17:31 them and you talked the whole time away.
17:34 And see one thing about all the recommendations that you've
17:38 given do not cost any money. You don't have to go to graduate
17:41 school to be a good friend and a good listener.
17:44 None of them do and that's the wonderful thing about the
17:49 balms and salves that God gives, they don't cost anything.
17:54 Jesus paid it already. He's got the power.
17:58 Amen, Amen Karen. Jesus paid everything. We've got to be good
18:02 listeners so we're clued in to where people are. I think
18:05 another important point is we're got to be sensitive. We've got
18:13 to see the folks really where they are and be sensitive to
18:19 their condition. For instance, if this family has lost a loved
18:24 one or your friend has lost a loved one and you want to send
18:30 them a sympathy card of some sort, don't just buy a card
18:35 necessarily and sign your name to it and send it. You and your
18:42 friend have personal time together. Some folks say you've
18:47 got some road together, you know you've gone down some roads
18:54 together. Perhaps the person that was lost, your friend's
18:59 loved one who is now dead, perhaps the three of you shared
19:04 some special experiences together. It would be so much
19:09 more real and
19:11 so much more of a blessing to them perhaps if you wrote about
19:14 one of those experiences and talked about the impact this
19:19 person had on your life, how they touched you, how their
19:24 ministry or how their spark or their sparkle or their calm
19:28 temperament was a blessing to you at a certain time. That is
19:34 just so much more meaningful in a time of need than to perhaps
19:39 buy a cookie cutter card and just mail it out to them. You've
19:44 got to be sensitive to what may really be a blessing to them.
19:49 I think another important point to mention under that moniker
19:55 there is people tend to think because I've lost a loved one or
19:59 because someone has lost a loved one they don't want to talk
20:04 about it. Not necessarily so. They might want to talk about
20:10 it. Can they talk about the person with you? Are you still
20:14 open to really expressing if they want to just come and
20:19 relate experiences. Some people will stay away because they
20:23 think if I talk about it I'll remind them of the person. Well
20:27 maybe they want to be reminded.
20:29 And there's a process to all of this you know. You can't rush
20:31 a person through it. No you can't. It takes time and
20:34 the person goes through different stages and there'll
20:36 come a time when they'll say, you know I remember when Todd
20:40 was this way. Do you remember that? And they want to live it
20:44 all over again. Now they might shed a tear at the end but
20:47 that's OK, let them cry. Let's remember the good times. So you
20:52 got to be sensitive to those kind of things. One of the final
20:57 points I want to mention is you've got to be patient. Now I
21:03 think we can spend some time on this issue of patience. So
21:09 many people, so many of us, tire of other people's stuff. They
21:16 haven't been in the situation where you may be trying to help
21:21 someone or you may be trying to be of service to someone and
21:26 their problem just gets intertwined with your life.
21:32 You mean like a drama queen? Or a drama king? Those are
21:37 labels people get, you know. But there's a
21:39 ministry to them too as time goes on. You've got to have...
21:44 I like that. Drama king and queen. Now my wife and I say
21:48 that all the time. I don't mean just be belittle.
21:51 I'm talking about the folks who have may be dealt with serious
21:54 violence situation. I mean people who... I mean you can
21:57 start small here; the people who just chronically are having
22:00 things going on in their lives that just seem to spread and
22:04 permeate the lives of others around them, you know. Jesus
22:10 kept his 12 didn't he? It is very difficult at times to
22:16 deal with some people's stuff. That's why, again, we have to
22:19 go back to the fact that we've got to rely on the power of God
22:25 to not only help them but to really give you the strength to
22:30 kind of deal with the stuff. Some people who have lost loved
22:35 ones may show up on your door step at three in the morning.
22:40 There's a Bible text about that, the friend that was knocking
22:44 at the door and because of their importunity they were let in and
22:49 got the bread, right. So there is an example of that; there's
22:53 a Biblical principle for that. The person who's coming in
22:57 search. And also Jesus said a less more
22:59 invasive one was if you just gave him the coat to begin with
23:02 rather than have him knocking at the door all the time.
23:04 Give them two you know I mean there's some thought into this.
23:08 If you know they needed one coat give them two that way hey it's
23:11 benefit to that. At least they have some more time on their own
23:15 before they come back again for those that are concerned in
23:18 that regard. So what Jesus is saying is get
23:21 out there and go the extra mile in a sense. Give them some
23:25 second mile service so they won't, I mean not so that they
23:29 won't come back, but so that perhaps they won't have a need
23:32 as quickly as they probably usually do.
23:37 And there's nothing wrong with not wanting to have people
23:39 dependent upon you because it easier and better, I'll say it's
23:43 easier but it's better for people to rely upon the Lord,
23:47 then some times we've got to be that human agent, right?
23:50 Yeah, we've got to be God's hands, the hands that are going
23:55 help these people. We have a kind of a calling to be that.
23:59 But when these things get intertwined and the problem
24:03 seems intractable and difficult and
24:06 far-ranging, I think that's the time when God is really forging
24:11 our character. He's forging it. He's like OK let me see how far
24:16 Dwain can go with this thing. OK. This person keeps coming.
24:20 At what point is he going to just yell at the person and cut
24:25 them off and let them go, or is he going to demonstrate what I
24:29 think he's going to demonstrate and what I believe he can
24:32 demonstrate and what I have empowered and equipped him to
24:34 demonstrate and that is my love. Is he going to do that. It's a
24:38 testing time not only for the person in need, it's a testing
24:43 time and an opportunity for us who may not be in need. Because
24:49 rest assured at some point every one of us has a moment that
24:55 will just tear the very foundations out from under us.
24:58 My wife hates when I say that or when I make comments to that
25:02 affect. You know some things may happen that are not wonderful
25:06 and beautiful. Sometimes bad things happen to
25:09 good people. Bad things happen to good people
25:12 but the God we serve understands that and in helping others we
25:19 help ourselves in time of need because we're equipped and God
25:24 says man you know Karen stuck her neck out for her friend when
25:30 it was inconvenient at that moment and she went the extra
25:35 mile. Well how can I not do it for her? That goes with our
25:40 stuff doesn't it? Oh yeah, oh yeah. He sends
25:44 somebody away. I really feel like the Lord is
25:47 leading for us to pray for people, pray for ourselves,
25:51 as well as for those that maybe watched the program that
25:55 actually are living the situation. We'd like to take
25:59 time and have prayer. Why don't you have a prayer and I'll pray.
26:04 Absolutely, that sounds good. Heaven Father we are honored
26:10 first of all to be in your presence. You're a high and a
26:17 holy God, yet you take the time to come among men, humanity,
26:23 fallen, sinful and sup with us. We're unworthy but we thank
26:30 you. I pray Lord for all of those listening, all of those
26:35 watching. I pray that you would please touch anyone in our
26:40 audience who may have lost a loved one. Empower those around
26:44 who may know of others who have lost loved ones. Empower them to
26:48 meet the need, to share the love of Jesus Christ in a fresh and
26:52 new way at this very trying moment. In Jesus name we pray,
26:58 Amen. Dear heavenly Father, I pray in
27:01 agreement with Dwain's prayer for every soul, for every person
27:05 that is watching this program. Lord may we be willing to allow
27:08 self to die and allow Christ to live within our hearts so that
27:12 we can love others, and minister to others as you would want us
27:15 to do and that would bring glory to your holy name, we pray in
27:19 the name of Jesus, Amen. Thank you so much for this very
27:23 important topic. Thank you very much.
27:26 And as always, we'd like to offer to our viewers resource
27:31 material. If you are dialing a cell phone, if you are watching
27:35 3ABN dial 800-752-3226. If you're watching via the web,
27:39 we have materials that we would gladly send to you on these
27:45 topics: www.3ABN.org. If you would like to know about some of
27:49 these social issues and research that's been done one this,
27:54 contact Message magazine at messagemagazine.org. Until next
27:59 time may God bless you.