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3 Reasons to Stop Grieving!

Earl Middleton No Comments

grief, grievingYou don’t have a relationship with one of your parents and it hurts. I know how you feel. It’s like the grieving goes on forever. Will you ever heal? Will it ever get better? Will they ever show you the love you so long for? It’s almost as if your grief is the only thing you have that connects you to them, the only thing that reminds you that you really care, the only thing that gives you hope that they might finally embrace you one day.

Grieving is essential for growing through your loss, but the sober truth is there’s also a time when you have to stop. At some point you’ve got to complete your grieving or it will become counterproductive. As important as it is for you to learn how to grieve productively, it’s probably even more important for you to learn how, when, and why to stop. So many people who have been rejected by a parent remain locked inside their grief far too long and it drains them of the vital resources necessary to own their present days and future lives. This is why many ancient cultures have a structured time for grieving embedded in their death rituals. In Judaism it’s 30 days up to one year. In Islam it’s 3 days up to four months and 10 days. In Hinduism it’s 13 days or 40 days. In the Caribbean it’s 9 nights.

The grief process was thrust upon you and began involuntarily (because you didn’t choose to suffer the significant loss you have, you didn’t ask your parent to reject you),  but if you’re ever going to enjoy the following three necessities of a satisfying life then you must decide to take control of the process and determine its endpoint. You’re going to have to decide to put and end to your grief.

1. Joy. Grief and joy are mutually exclusive. Grieving turns our full focus to our loss and invests all our attention and energy on processing that loss. Many people mistake joy for a feeling, but it’s much deeper than that. Joy is full presence and participation. When we are grieving we are unavailable to be fully present and participatory in anything but our own loss. In this way grief is isolating, the very opposite of joy, which is full on engagement. If you’re ever going to fully engage your life, you’ve got to decide to put an end to your grief.

2. Strength. The ability that the Holy Spirit gives us to be fully present and engaged,  the joy of the Lord, is the thing that grounds us and gives us traction, our strength. We don’t have access to this strength, this ability to stand against resistance and endure on our course, when we’re in full on grief. That’s why we need to complete one step before we move on to the next in the 5 GRACE steps. We’re not ready for forgiveness until we’re done grieving, because forgiveness requires the joy of the Lord. And that joy gives us the traction, the strength, to let go. If you want the strength to achieve your goals in this life you’re going to have to decide to put an end to your grief.

3. Pleasure. Grieving is active and deliberate, with a goal and an agenda. It includes weeping, self denial and flagellation, refusal of tasty foods and sweet drinks and anything pleasant to the senses, and forceful expression of energy. Grieving is not fun. It never was, and was never intended to be. Grieving calls us to a life of suffering, to asceticism masquerading as piety, to a commitment to struggle without a real cause. I surrendered so much pleasure in my life and denied myself so many good feelings because I was grieving and didn’t even realize it. If you’re going to enjoy the pleasures that this life has to offer you’re going to have to decide to put and end to your grief.

Divine Failure

Earl Middleton No Comments

failure3Jesus came to his own, and his own received him not (he was sent to be rejected, God knowing he would be rejected because His people, Israel, were still blind and not ready). So to as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to become sons of God. [Jn 1:12]

Jesus often referenced this by saying, “I’m sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Later, Peter would also be sent to Israel, to feed and shepherd the converted, not win the lost ones.) MAIN TRUTH HERE: Church people say there is no failure in God, and scripture suggests that God always gives His people the victory. But my bible also shows me that just because God sent you doesn’t mean you will succeed! At least not always on the first go round. Sometimes embedded in the core of your call and commission (and hidden from you) is your penultimate rejection and failure. We can’t always judge the validity of the commission by the fruit of the mission.

Jesus didn’t get much fruit in Israel, but instead plenty of contradiction and rejection. I experienced the same thing in the baptist churches I was sent to, plenty of contradiction and rejection, and very little fruit. That doesn’t mean I was not sent, or that I messed up. It means it was a Jesus Mission, doomed to poor numbers and high frustration from the start!

And Jesus Missions are just like Jesus’ mission: short lived! There is no glory in a Jesus mission, only failure, and in the end, a cross. A shameful, painful conclusion to a launch that held such promise of great things. BUT, if you can remain faithful on your Jesus Mission and submit to the cross, glory WILL come…AFTER! On the other side of every Jesus Mission is a resurrection, and a second coming!

According to Rudyard Kipling, success and failure are both impostors we should treat the same. Don’t let an impostor define you! Instead, know who you are and expose the impostors in your life for what they really are! When God sends you on a Jesus Mission (a suicide mission, a D-Day mission, a 300 mission, a charge-the-hill-knowing-you-will-be-killed mission) it’s because He 1) trusts you; 2) values the message He has put inside of you, His treasure in an earthen vessel; and 3) prioritizes process over props and spoils and results.

So, if you’re on a Jesus Mission, know that 4) your faithfulness to the message is the true mission, not spectacular results. Know that 5) if you’re faithful to the message your mission will be brief. Know that 6) your cross is not the end of your ministry, just your mission; you’ll be back! Know that 7) your resurrection won’t convince everybody, you’ll still have many doubters. And finally, know that 8) you won’t get total vindication until the Second Coming, when every eye shall see!

Colorado shooting suspect exhibits classic signs of parental rejection

Earl Middleton No Comments

colorado shooting, colorado shooter, james holmes, parental rejection, preject, columbine, virginia tech, tom mauser

As the smoke clears after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20th, a familiar and disturbing picture of the alleged shooter has emerged. Like his large scale predecessors in Littleton, Colorado and at Virginia Tech, this shooter evinces classic signs of preject syndrome: a surprising public demonstration of violence; disconnection from parents; emotionally insulated and isolated; a generally negative view of the world; and a well concealed but gnawing sense of personal failure and the low self-esteem that goes with it.

A preject is a person who feels rejected and disconnected from one or both parents, and as a results lives with a cracked, broken, or shattered soul. The key word here is feel, for those feelings can arise despite a parent’s best efforts to communicate love and support to a child. In extreme cases broken or shattered prejects can become ticking time bombs who eventually visit catastrophic destruction on themselves and, often, those around them.

It is estimated that by the time they reach age 21 as many as 100 million Americans will have felt rejection from a parent to some degree and as a result developed preject syndrome, which has been shown by research to adversely affect performance in school and lead to unfavorable outcomes in every major area of life. The clinical components of preject syndrome include hostility, dependency, low self-esteem, emotional instability, emotional unresponsiveness, and a negative worldview. People afflicted by this syndrome will typically manifest several of the components while others may be less noticeable to the untrained eye.


Because there is currently little public awareness of the existence of prejects, and virtually no educational infrastructure in place to identify them, this problem, as Tom Mauser, a parent of one of the Columbine victims predicts, will continue to take us by surprise. “I think that there’s a real serious problem in this country with disaffected youth, disturbed students,” he told The Early Show’s co-anchor, Russ Mitchell, back in 2007 during an interview about the Virginia Tech mass shooting that claimed 32 lives. “I don’t think we’re doing enough to address it. Unfortunately, I think it’s probably going to happen again.”

It’s said that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter, didn’t have a good relationship with his mother and that they hardly ever spoke. Classic signs of parental rejection. “We have to find something we can do about people like this,” Mauser said.

In response to the Columbine shooting, the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) convened a symposium in July 1999 and presented a systematic procedure for threat assessment and intervention. One intervention recommended to be taken in schools to strengthen their threat response program included: “Develop programs to help parents recognize when their child may be in emotional trouble or socially isolated or rejected, and help parents become more knowledgeable about where to get help and more willing to seek it.”

There have been more than 100 major school shootings in the United States since Columbine, and a Secret Service study and report on the phenomenon reveals that more than half of the shooters were likely prejects. If there was ever a generation that needed to invest in the emotional education of parents and their children before they become unreachable, and consequently a real danger to themselves and their school communities, it’s this one.

Help for Homosexual Children Rejected by Their Christian Parents

Earl Middleton No Comments

Fall is just around the corner. It’s time for school supplies. But for one segment of the student population the item they will need most won’t readily be available at their local office supply store.

I am a Christian parent. To my knowledge none of my children are currently practicing homosexuals. So, to some degree I write more from an understanding culled via study, revelation, and biblical conviction rather than from insights gained in the bowels of experience.

My parents were also Christians parents. And one of their children was, and still is, a practicing homosexual. So, to some degree I do write from insights gained while in the bowels of experience.

What I have seen in my own childhood, and what I see happening in the Church today, as well as some of our schools, is a painful demonization and wounding of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents. I don’t challenge the authenticity of these rejecting parents’ Christianity anymore than I challenge the authenticity of the homosexuality of their children. What I challenge is the hurt, the harm, and the horror of the rejection; and I view the healing of these wounds and wrongs as a significant part of my life mission.

I am a Christian minister. A Christian theologian. A Christian author. A former Christian pastor. And a current Christian champion of healing for prejects, including homosexual prejects. A preject, as I explain in my workbook When My Mother & Father Forsake Me…, is a person who has been emotionally rejected by and homosexual children rejected by christian parents, healing, LGBT, acceptance, rejection, Godphysically disconnected from a parent. We are increasingly becoming a nation of fractured families. It is estimated that 100 million Americans experience some level of rejection and disconnection from a parent by the time they reach age 21. Research has shown this kind of rejection to have significant impact on academic performance and school socialization. A growing segment of this preject population is LGBT teens and young adults coming out to their parents as a result of the rise in available support groups and more sympathetic legislation.

My biblical convictions are that homosexuality is a sin and misses the mark of God’s basic and best design for our lives. My biblical convictions also are that Jesus would have and does embrace the homosexual, or anyone deemed by the law to be in a place or lifestyle of sin. Therein lies the tension of redemptive faith. Those seemingly polar convictions beg the question: How does a bible-believing Christian, be it an educator, classmate, or parent, embrace someone who is behaving in a way that God disapproves of and rejects?

Well, I have come to believe that the very question is really a product of bad theology.

Sin matters. Love matters more. The law of love supersedes the law of sin.

God is love. He loves all of His creation. Loves it so much that He sent His son to model in a corporal and costly way His love for all of His creation (Jn 3:16). So, the God of the bible embraces everyone. And that love teaches us to embrace our own kids even when they misbehave. Biblical love demands that we love everyone, not only as a point of legality; but from the heart. Because biblical love is transforming. When a person has a true encounter with the God of love one cannot help but to become love as well, from the inside out, from the heart; because love supersedes the law, and is in fact the only law. As Paul said, owe no man anything but to love; for he that loves has fulfilled the law (Rom 13:8). And if my faith is going to work it must be anchored in and activated by love, for the same Apostle Paul also said that faith works by love (Gal 5:6).

So, I am not called or sent to condemn the homosexual. I am called and sent to love the homosexual. And the pain of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents demands a response. LGBT young people who are highly rejected by their families are likely to attempt suicide as many as 9 times in their lifetime. I cannot turn my head and walk on, like the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan. The love of God constrains me to be a good neighbor. The pain of homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents is my pain, and I believe God has a word of help and healing for them that will transform their pain into power. For years I’ve watched my sister suffer this pain. In my heart I believe that by ministering healing to homosexual children rejected by their Christian parents through my books, workshops, and seminars, I am also ministering healing to her…and ultimately, to myself.

As LGBT young people head back to school this fall, let’s equip them with the tools they will need to endure their rejection experiences, overcome the hate, and transform their pain into power. Let’s put a copy of When My Mother & Father Forsake Me… in the hands of every LGBT student who needs it, and in so doing, tangibly demonstrate the love of God.

How My Son Broke My Scorched Heart & Changed My Life

Earl Middleton one comments

angry dad, abused child, meeting my father, forgiving my father, how to forgive my father, getting along with my father, reconcile with my father, parental rejectionI left my son in our box seats at Dodger Stadium to go take a private cell phone call, and he broke my heart.

When I returned I couldn’t see him, or our seats, or my jacket, which contained my wallet, and the key to our ride back home. I found him in another section down front with a group of other boys his age. I remember stalking toward him and motioning with gritted teeth, “Get over here!” The wide grin on his face from the joke they must have been sharing dropped to a pout even more puckered now by his new braces. When he finally reached me I yanked him by the collar over to a corner of the stadium concourse and shouted into his face, “I’m doing this here so I don’t have to embarrass you!” as usual, not realizing the damage had already been done.

And that’s when it happened.

Now, I know you must be thinking, what was he going to do? Lecture him? Or even worse, spank him, or beat him? Well, before I could do any of those he looked me in the soul with an eyeful of pain that could gut a gorilla and asked, “Is it over? Daddy, is it over?”

In that moment I could feel his innocence, his helplessness, his total loss of hope. It didn’t matter to him what I was saying to him, it mattered what I was feeling to him. To his eleven year old ears all my words during that entire encounter were like the inscrutable squawking the peanuts characters on television heard when any adult spoke to them. But what he was feeling from me was rage. And disapproval. And disgust. And rejection. The same things I felt from my own father when I was eleven. And the same thing my father must have felt from his. And like me, he just wanted it to be over.

All of that fell into my spirit in that one instance, and my heart crumbled. And the tears rushed to my eyes. And something died in me. Hopefully, for good. And something else was birthed. It was like I was having an out of body experience, standing there watching a grown man bully my son. He suddenly looked so small to me. Not his body that was just beginning to fill out, but his soul. It was like Yahweh had given me soul vision. I could finally see my son’s so clearly. And it was shrinking away from me with each breathe, like a lost man falling off a cliff while reaching up to his last hope for survival.

Boys need discipline and structure from their fathers—I totally get that—but what they want and need even more is gentleness, encouragement, and loving hugs; all fruit of the spirit that aren’t basic issue in our daddy tool kits when they are born, but have to be grown inside of us one day at a time. I’d already raised two girls and thought I was daddy deluxe. I’d preached about this and even written about it in my novels and parental rejection books. But I’d never really understood it until that very moment.abused child, meeting my father, forgiving my father, getting along with my father, reconcile with my father, parental rejection

“Behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God.”

Parents have a special call on their lives to model both. I had the severity part down cold, it was the goodness thing that escaped me that day at Dodger Stadium, and so many other days before that. The soil of my heart had been scorched from my own childhood, so nothing was really growing in there. What had been passing for spiritual fruit in my life was really just wax. Decorative stuff. With zero nutritional value. Nothing I could feed my son.

I damaged my son’s soul for a jacket, a wallet, and some keys, all material things that could eventually be replaced. I was in the middle of making a bad trade when the Holy Spirit showed me myself. The tight fists balled up around his collar eventually relaxed, then morphed, into a tight, wet hug around his neck; and it didn’t matter anymore how or when we would get home. All that mattered was that finally, we would get there together.