For those in the first few months of the storm,  the devastation is emphasized because of the lack of understanding of what is really going on. Even now, 10 years after the storm started, I still gain new insight and understanding into the mind and heart of the lost person.

The one left behind finds themselves in a world of confusion as suddenly everything has been turned upside down. The heart cries out for answers; something to make things make sense.

The advice that is given is “Get your eyes off them, and onto God. Stop looking at the details. They are lost and they are not your enemy. Let them go and let God work on YOU.”

NONE of this is what the New Stander wants to hear because the heart is looking for understanding and validation. They are seeking vindication! They don’t want to heal by changing themselves, they want to heal through the mess-making some sense which will ease all the blame that was just placed on them.

When the spouse left, they heaped a whole lot of blame on the Stander. Telling them everything that they did wrong, or they left and said NOTHING, which leaves an open door for the enemy to heap a whole pile of condemnation upon the Stander.

Those first few months are a battle with shame, guilt, condemnation and trying to balance the truth with the lies. There is always some truth, and then there is an exaggerated truth. There is a truth that sets us free, we repent and change, but then there is the enemy taking a truth and condemning and trapping us with guilt and shame.

One of the ways a Stander deflects this and tries to ease the wounds of pain is through validation and vindication. There is a relief for their damaged hearts when they are able to sit and talk about their spouse and all that they did to them.

When they can vent, gossip, complain, point out all their shortcomings; hearing our own words brings vindication and makes us feel better, temporarily. BUT it brings NO HEALING.

You cannot heal yourself through vindication.

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 54:17

God must speak to you about what you can’t see or understand. He must open your understanding with the truth about what is really going on. This is why we try to help the Stander understand there is no real help and growth when they get stuck in the trap of being fixed and focused on the spouse’s actions, words and the path they are taking.

The only real healing comes with validation and vindication when the Stander is able to hear God. When they WANT to heal and change more than they want to be vindicated. When they are ready to let go of the enemy’s condemnation and come out of the bondage of shame and guilt.

This is a process and one the new Stander must go through. And from experience, it’s something they may have to grasp over and over again because sometimes the enemy will trap them more than once with condemnation, especially if the spouse keeps blaming them for the past.

It takes time to mature and grow into a place where you start to recognize these traps. When you understand that talking and being fixed on the problems only enhances and makes things worse. They won’t heal you, but being fixed on the Healer will! We all get to a place of being weary (inner bitterness) and it no longer gives us vindication. We start to recognize how it covers us with a helpless and hopeless negativity and we vow to stop. That is the beginning of understanding. In time, you will let go completely of needing to validate yourself as God vindicates you.

Trust in His process!

Standing with you,
Sheila Hollinger