Archive for November 23rd, 2022

Beware of the False Lover


Written by Os Hillman, a contemporary speaker, author, and consultant on faith at work.

When a measured assault enters our life, we often respond in two different ways. The pain caused by the assault drives us to a place of either embracing the pain or we embrace anything that will make us feel better. That becomes the entry door to a false lover. Men and women each seek to avoid pain in different ways. Larry Crabb has summarized these two unique strategies often used to avoid deep pain: All of us are trapped by addiction to a desire for something less than God. For many women, that something less is relational control. “I will not be hurt again, and I will not let people I love be hurt. I’ll see to it that what I fear never happens again.” They, therefore, live in terror of vulnerably presenting themselves to anyone and instead become determined managers of people. Their true femininity remains safely tucked away behind the walls of relational control. More common in men is an addiction to non-relational control. “I will experience deep and consuming satisfaction without ever having to relate meaningfully with anyone.” They keep things shallow and safe with family and friends and feel driven to experience a joy they never feel, a joy that only deep relating can provide. Their commitment is twofold: to never risk revealing inadequacy by drawing close to people and, without breaking that commitment, to feel powerful and alive. Power in business and illicit sex are favorite strategies for reaching that goal. Many times, we seek to deal with our pain through various forms of addictions designed to resolve the inner pain we feel. All addictions represent a counterfeit desire for genuine love and intimacy. We conclude these lesser desires are legitimate needs instead of band-aids of our fleshly soul. These addiction lovers become isolation chambers created for ourselves designed to mask our pain. Every human being has a desire to be loved. When we do not feel loved because of some event in our lives we seek to reconcile this emotional pain. So, if you are fighting any kind of addiction–over control of people, sex, drugs, alcohol, workaholism, shopping, overeating–you are seeking to fill a void only God can fill. Pain has a useful purpose in our lives. Facing it, rather than medicating it, allows us to move to a place of discovering a capacity for a different kind of joy. That is the purpose of pain. We must let inner pain do its work by experiencing it fully. It feels like a contradiction to embrace the pain, but it is the only remedy for moving past it so it can yield its purpose in our lives. Otherwise, we remain unaware of our deeper desire for God and be driven toward a false lover.


Today’s prayer is from the “Carmina Gadelica,” six volumes of prayers, hymns, blessings, songs, proverbs and literary folkloric poems from the Gaelic speaking regions of Scotland.  Compilation of the works began by Alexander Carmichel between 1860 and 1909.

Father beloved of every naked one, from Whom all gifts and goodness come. Our hearts illumine with Thy mercy, and in Thy mercy shield us from all harm. Without Thy divinity there is nothing. In man that can earn esteem; Without Thyself, O King of kings, sinless man can never be. In succor Thou art of all the best against the soul of wildest speech; Food art thou sweeter than all; Sustain and guide us at every time. The knee that is stiff, O Healer, make pliant. The heart that is hard make warm beneath Thy wing; The soul that is wandering from Thy path. Grasp Thou his helm and he shall not die. Each thing that is foul cleanse Thou early. Each thing that is hard soften Thou with Thy grace. Each wound that is working us pain, O Best of healers, make Thou whole! Give Thou to Thy people to be diligent To put their trust in Thee as God, that Thou mayest help them in every hour With thy sevenfold gift, O Holy Spirit generous! Amen.

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