Does Scripture intersect with your life on a regular basis? I hope so. I’m referring to those times when you’re reading the Bible like you do most every day (because I do hope you’re reading it most every day — it just works best that way…) and something from It’s pages jumps out and tackles an issue that either you are personally going through or you’ve just read about or someone in your life is going through.
Those are the most personable, most intimate and most amazing encounters we have with God’s Word. And I think it can happen most every day if we’re really seeking God in the pages of His Word with open and eager hearts.
That’s exactly what happened this morning.
I had just read an e-mail update for the Happiness Project, a web site that I’m giving a shot, but haven’t really determined yet if it’s for me. Mostly I’m just keeping an eye on it to see how Gretchen Rubin handles our universal search for satisfaction, something I’ve studied and written a little bit on lately. But this morning she introduced me to another author, Ruth Davis Konigsberg, who has written a book entitled The Truth About Grief.
In her book, Konigsberg debates the validity of the five stages of grief as originally outlined by Kubler-Ross in On Death and Dying, published in 1969. Long story short, Konigsberg says that these long-accepted grief stages were based on poor evidence and don’t really characterize grief as experienced by most people. In fact, Kubler-Ross based her grief stages on people who were facing their own deaths, not those who were grieving the deaths of someone they loved and lost. And yet, most of us probably learned these 5 stages of grief sometime in a college psychology class and have assumed ever since that anyone who loses a loved one will experience them, including ourselves. The stages, largely held as factual stages by many counselors and psychologists, are:
- and acceptance.
I find Konigsberg’s research and book fascinating because it proves a sad point: that to often we base our expectations for behavior on faulty or dated information. Konigsberg’s book is not a Christian book, from what I can tell, and I don’t really know what her religious beliefs are, but I appreciate the fact that she was willing to test and defy a long standing theory because it just didn’t ring true with her.
But Rubin’s e-mail and Konigsberg’s theories got me to thinking further. As a Christian, do I really have to behave according to the patterns mapped out for me by popular psychology? The answer is a definitive “no.” In fact, much of the Bible expressly directs me, a believer in Jesus Christ, to think, feel, behave, and speak completely contrary to the ways that are natural.
I’m not debating the fact that grief is a process, but I don’t think our grieving process has to follow the same formula as that followed by most of the world. Nor do we have to follow the same processes when we’ve been offended, hurt, rejected, belittled, or mistreated. We don’t have to follow the same process as the rest of the world when we’ve been praised, awarded, and applauded either. We are, in fact, supposed to take a different path in almost every behavior known to mankind.
This morning I read: