Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An Unhealthy Heart is Not Healthy

When we think of the human heart, it goes without saying that, with the assistance of modern medicine, we can easily distinguish between and unhealthy heart and a healthy heart. Well trained doctors can even tell the age of a heart based upon “normal aging patterns” that are manifest in various tests. But the fact still remains, an unhealthy heart is never considered healthy. At the very most, a wounded heart might be considered “a typical 70 year-old heart” or with some other modifier. But it would be deadly for a physician to evaluate the human heart as healthy if it is not. To this point, I’m pretty sure every reader will agree.

Source http://greenolivedigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Healthy-Vs-Unhealthy-Heart.jpg

What happens if I said an unhealthy family is not healthy? Would I receive equal levels of agreement? I doubt it, not because families are always healthy, but because when we discuss families within today’s social context, we no longer speak about something that is as “cut-and-dry” as the human heart muscle. The mere implication that a family might be unhealthy is predicated upon an underlying agreement that there even exists “a healthy family” model after which we can evaluate other families.

Please allow me to explain. I am attending this year’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 42nd Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, which bears the theme, “The Orthodox Christian Family: A Dwelling of Christ and A Witness of His Gospel.” During the Keynote Address of His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America, he stated, “If everybody and everything is a family, then nobody is truly a family in any meaningful sense.”

Hearing this profound statement is when it occurred to me. Our society has been calling an unhealthy heart healthy. What the Archbishop is trying to help us understand as a society, (and I HIGHLY recommend reading his full address) is that before we can heal what is wounded in our families, we must first appreciate that our families are wounded in the first place. And the only way to accomplish this is to acknowledge there DOES exist a model of a healthy family.

As divinely revealed, a healthy family includes father and mother, along with their children. Anything outside of this model, is not a healthy family. What do I mean? Am I suggesting that a husband and wife without children, not a healthy family? Is a single parent family not a healthy family? Each family has a condition, a range of healthy, if you will, just as a heart might be “healthy for a 70 year old smoker.” But if that same heart was in a twenty year old college student, it would be considered unhealthy.

Does a husband and wife not have children because of medical circumstances? Then we might say, “a healthy family for someone who cannot bear children” as an indication that the family is dealing with a wounded model. Then the Church can minister to the wound. Of course, this is just one example, as there would be many examples of wounded or otherwise unhealthy families.


It isn’t to suggest that members of a healthy family are somehow “better” than members of an unhealthy family. Just as one wouldn’t say a man with a healthy heart is “better” than a man with an unhealthy heart. It merely allows us to identify wounds which are in need of spiritual attention within our journey to Christ.

Yet in our attempt to fight for “equality” in any definition of family by defining “everybody and everything as a family” (using His Eminence’s expression), we have ultimately told the heart patient he is perfectly healthy, when in fact his heart is in great physical distress.

In our attempt to allow something unhealthy to be considered healthy, we in fact put all those who are members of that family at great spiritual risk. Since they no longer see their situation as in need of healing, the Church is unable to minister to them, and as such, every time members of that particular family hear the teaching of the Church, they will reject the teaching as either being “mean spirited” or not relevant to their situation. Keeping our heart analogy, if a patient is told their heart is healthy, they will ignore a physician when he speaks about heart healthy as not relevant.


If you truly desire to grow closer to Jesus Christ and live with Him forever in Heaven, then you must begin to ACCEPT that you are wounded. In your particular situation, it may not be your family. It might that you are wounded in your Church Community relationship. It might be that your relationship with your friends is unhealthy or wounded.

WE ARE ALL WOUNDED by nature of living in a fallen world, and Jesus Christ is the physical of our souls and bodies. At least we should trust His healthy model and evaluate our reality against His.

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