Kyabram Free Press
Don’t fool yourself about denial
Denial: it’s a word we hear often, but would you admit to it? If you’re like me, you possibly reject the matter with a shrug of the shoulders.
After hearing it used in regard to COVID I had a long think about it. Asking myself “what am I in denial about?”, with no-one listening to what I was thinking I got real honest and made a list. A long list. A shockingly long list. Lockdown of course made it longer.
So back to my list. I’ll mention just a few here.
I always think this lockdown will be the last lockdown. I am in denial — I just don’t want to believe there could be another, and that “we should have this under control by now!”
Weight gain. I brush it off with that ‘shrug of the shoulder’ denial as “just a bad day”. Until at the end of a week when it’s still there — and more besides!
Stress. I like to think I am a calm person. Until stuff surfaces that frustrates, annoys, makes me sad or I don’t manage very well (time especially). One small thing and I can snap. I deny, deny, deny how I feel and what actions I am taking.
The good news is denial is not sin! So I am good to be in the land of denial all I want. Right?
Wrong. Denial is a dangerous thing. We can really do some damage if we are not honest about how we feel or how we behave.
Luke 22 of the Bible has some interesting denial stories. Judas denied his actions and feelings and it led him to suicide; Simon (Peter) feels intimidated and denies he is a disciple of Jesus, the guilt overwhelms him; and the council of elders (chief priest and teachers of the law) are afraid to lose their power and position, so they deny that Jesus could possibly be more important than they.
Denial is not the problem. It’s the motives behind it that cause our problems. There is no short answer as to what lies behind our denial. However you want to describe it, it is where the truth stops and we choose an unfortunate path. We can be in denial about our responsibilities, emotions, feelings, circumstance or behaviours.
Truth revealed is a powerful thing. It brings about the changes we need in our lives to stop the hurt and harm denial brings us. Sometimes it’s not easy to be real or honest, but it is the necessary starting point.
1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV) says this: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
My honest denial list included ways in which I was hurting myself, my spouse and the people around me. I have a new list now — things that will change. If you are denying your loved ones a safe place (including shelter, food or protection), responsible parenting, financial or emotional support etc, would you be willing to take a fresh look at what you can do to take a better path?
Captain Jacky Targett
The Salvation Army