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Social Distancing

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September 01, 2020 | NATIONAL Pastor Fernando Villicana, Correspondent

What would you say the biggest struggles people go through in life are. Well, according to a recent study (and perhaps due to the social challenges we are all facing recently), these are the top five struggles:

1. stress and anxiety
2. fear
3. anger
4. financial concerns
5. disappointment and discouragement

And guess what I have discovered; most of these problems and concerns involve other people. Sigmund Freud (who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis), said: “There are three major causes of human anxiety:

1) the force of nature
2) the powerlessness of human beings in the face of danger
3) SOCIAL AGGRAVATION (personal conflict)

This is when social distancing becomes totally voluntary (lol). Many times our answer to personal conflict is social distancing. We tend to avoid people who rub us the wrong way and create walls and barriers between us. Sometimes our biggest social struggles is with the people we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. I have come to realize that if you were to totally remove yourself from people, you probably wouldn’t have many problems at all. Most of the problems we encounter in life have something to do with someone else! A family member, a work associate, a neighbor, an ex-husband or wife.

From the very beginning it was brother against brother (Cain/Abel), and disfunction has since been woven into the fabric of fallen man. Husband against wife, wife against husband, children against parents, we even see it in the church and call it “holy wars.” There has been an age old struggle living in harmony with the people within the sphere of our influence. So, what's the answer? I'm not sure if there is only one answer but I can shed some light on at least one.

STORY: A young woman wrote her mother from college: "Dear Mom: Sorry I haven’t written sooner. My arm has been broken. And my left leg too, when I jumped from the second floor of my dormitory...when we had the fire. We were lucky. A young service station attendant saw the blaze and called the Fire Department. They were there in minutes. I was in the hospital for a few days. Paul, the service station attendant, came to see me every day. And because it was taking so long to get our dormitory liveable again, I moved in with him. He has been so nice. I must admit that I am pregnant. Paul and I plan to get married just as soon as he can get a divorce. I hope things are fine at home. I’m doing fine, and will write more when I get the chance. Love, your daughter, Susie. P.S. Mom, none of the above is true. But I did get a "C" in Sociology and flunked Chemistry. I just wanted you to receive this news in its "Proper Perspective!"?

The focal point/key in finding strength in your relational struggles is proper perspective.

Paul starts right off talking about the blessing of having people in his life. Philippians 1:3 (NIV) "I thank my God every time I remember you." When Paul wrote this it was at a time of tremendous struggle. He had terrible experiences in Philippi. It was in Philippi that he was arrested illegally, whipped, humiliated, thrown in prison. While in prison there was an earthquake. Then he was told to leave town. Paul did not have a good time in Philippi, he had a bad time. Yet he says, when I think of you I remember the good things. "I thank God every time I remember you." Paul could have dwelt on the negative experiences he endured there in Philippi, the painful memories. But he chose to focus on the things he could be grateful for. Happiness is a choice! Maybe you’ve been hurt by a family member or a friend and you're still holding on to that hurt. You're still focusing on the bad and the negative and it has become a constant struggle. Maybe your answer to your struggles has been social distancing rather than crossing over and forgiving those who have offended you. Well, it’s time you be grateful for the good in people. Grateful people are happy people! End social distancing!

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

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Pastor Fernando VillicanaCorrespondent

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