How to Hug A Vampire
1. Everyone needs a good home team.
Every relationship has to have: Heat and Force.
We start with heat. Heat is trust, the sense of being known, accepted and loved. Its that sense of warmth you get when someone knows your story, your family your strengths, your weakness and where they love you no matter what. Heat is a sense of togetherness, of grace and of safety
Force is what shapes us once there is sufficient heat.
Force is truth. Its when someone you care about takes the risk to say something difficult to push you to be better, to call out more from you. Heat is trust, and force is truth. Growth, transformation and love abound when these twin pillars are present.
As a race of humanity we are pretty vampirish and yet God offers to do relationship with us every single day. But he doesn’t start with us the vampire – he starts with his home team. He starts with a relationship that has heat and force in it. A relationship that is loving, secure, trusting and has truth in it. We know it as the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
When we have a home team who are able to do these two things we can tackle vampires. Their heat and force make it safe for us to hug a vampire because if it goes pear shaped that home team will be there for us and will speak truth to us.
Vampires become difficult for us when we are getting our needs met by the vampire. When our needs are being met we can’t do the right thing for the relationship.
If we need any one person to meet a need within us in order to survive then we are unable to resolve the relationship.
2. We need to act rightly.
God lives out his values. He practices what he preaches. He does the right thing.
This is easy for God but hard for us.
- We don’t want to admit that we are part of the problem.
- Heat and force are hard to do.
- It is hard to trust people when they hurt us. We do one of two things we withdraw or we flee.
- If we remain in the relationship we can stop being true to us and start to become who the vampire wants us to be. It can mean we pick up after a vampire. We apologize to others for them, we make excuses for them. We give them chance after chance after chance. We pay for their selfishness.
This is where training comes into play. A good blacksmith trains to be good at handling iron. Handling heat and force in relationships takes training.
- We have to name our fears. It may mean that we have to face the fear of being rejected, abandoned, alone.
- Choose to believe what God has said about me and not what the vampire is saying. That our values, our thought processing, our gifts are uniqe and purpose bound.
- Find the courage to begin communicating who we really are and what we need from other people.
It is easier to blame the other person, to point the finger rather than to admit that there is a need for me to grow. Sometimes vampires get away with what they do because we are not true to who we are.
If we react to someone we do not yet know whether or not they will or can change. We are still returning evil for evil and we are still part of the destructive pattern.
3. Understand that God uses people to help.
When God is working on a person’s life he does not do it by himself – he uses the community around the problem person.
Vampires struggle to let their hearts heat up. The reasons why they are a vampire leave their hearts immune to warmth. But you try to help them. You can see how they would grow if they heard force – truth. “If so and so would just talk to them!” “If God would just do a number on them!” When we think like this we are doing all the work. We are trying to warm them up when they are choosing to remain cold. All your banging just leaves you wearied and tired and exhausted.
A vampire will only begin to heal when they begin to let other people help them and the interesting thing is often they will only begin to heal when you take a step. But they have to be ready to want to connect. Until then there is not a lot you can do with a vampire except to guard your own heart.
God’s initial vision for community was destroyed by the actions of individuals.
Can you imagine the pain of his dream for community being destroyed by indvidualism? Eve saying, “I have a right to…”
He could have said, “This is my curtain call.”
But he doesn’t he clings to his vision, accepts reality, grieves, forgives and chooses heat and force..
He chose heat first. He didn’t choose force first. He sent his son to BE with us first. What was one of the first names we are given of Jesus? It was Emmanuel – God with us. He spent 30 years being before he started to bring force.
He chose to do real. He chose reality but he also chose to do heat and force together.
We see the use of force without heat on the internet all the time. People say what they think as nasty and opinionated as they want to be. They don’t’ always give their true name and they don’t care about your name, your story, your heart. The internet is one big screaming opinionating example of truth without trust. We hope that by swinging that axe on the internet that somehow people will be changed. A great example of what happens when there truth or force with no heat.
Being in a relationship without force isn’t really being in a relationship either. If there is not truth over time there is no trust. If someone doesn’t protect you from yourself, if they don’t want you to grow and change and be better, if they don’t love you enough to overcome the awkwardness of truth telling all that love, safe warm trust won’t feel safe anymore. Its called being fake and nice to each other.
The beautiful thing about the gospels is that God shows us how he used heat and force in relating to us who are vampires to him. He did real. He did heat and force.
5. Give change a chance
It takes time for a blacksmith to make something out of heat and force.
It takes 18 years for the brain of a human to be fully formed.
It takes 25 years before their personality type and being is set
It takes 23 years to build a great marriage
It takes a life time to become Christ like.
You don’t know if the vampire can change until you day in day out practice heat and force as the things of life come up. Its in the messiness of life that change and transformation happens.
It will never be black and white.
- Be Long Suffering
“God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
God doesn’t give up on relationships easily. He goes the extra mile. He is not willing that any one should perish but that all would come to him and love him. He isn’t passive about it. He suffers actively and doesn’t withdraw. He is in there trying for a long time to fix the relationship and ready to forgive when people own their part in the problem.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think there is a place where we leave a relationship because leaves I think there are times when we need to leave a relationship. God respects human choice and the message that humans give to him and there are times when we have to respect the message that someone else is giving us and we have to move on. But I don’t think its until we’ve practiced all 6 of these steps.
Its the messiness of practicing these 6 steps that I have learned How to Hug a Vampire.