Summary: Can we be healred from unfulfilled expectations?

Concordia Lutheran Church

Lent 4, March 17th, 2010

By His Stripes: Healing Wounded Relationships

“Realistic Expectations”

† In Jesus Name †

May the Peace of God, brought by missionaries to the land Eireland, settling its tribal wars, saving its people, and creating communities of Faith, may that peace and grace settle on you, and bring you and yours comfort in the midst of this broken world.

The Phrases of Entitlement:

“This is NOT fair!”, “Everybody Else is and therefore..”, “If you really loved me..”, “you can’t expect me to….”, “If they only knew how much I…”, “They OWE me..”, “YOU owe me”,

We hear these phrases often, and while they might show a legitimate issue, the underlying issue is the concept that we will look at tonight, as we see how Jesus deals with relationship breaking behaviors. So far, we have looked at a such issues as Escalation, and Invalidation, and Negative Interpretations, and last week, withdrawal. Some of this has been fun, as we looked at examples that are so common, we find ourselves laughing at them. Yet, as we have also seen how we too, fall into these behaviors ourselves, and we see the blessings of Christ’s suffering providing us not only a different way to think and act, but the healing grace that can heal the damage done by us, and done to us.

The definition

As we looked at differences last week, we saw how men and women withdraw in different ways. This week, we see relationships were one party feels oppressed, or denied that which they feel they are owed. Often times, this feeling of Entitlement expresses itself in statements like I started with, and very often, the key is simple. Dr. Sonnenberg, who created this series, defined it this way,

Studies tell us that marriages quickly turn southward when one or both of the partners come into the marriage with expectations that cannot be met. These expectations consist of believing things that are simply untrue, or aren't humanly possible in a world of sin. She may now be a slim 98 pounds, but there may come a day when she may go on the "Biggest Loser" show. He may be attentive to your every need now, but there may come a day when he finds his football game more important than holding your hand and saying, "I love you."

We expressed it last week, when we talked about the difference in a marriage, that results in Withdrawal. Remember? Women get married and expect that they can change their husbands, and they cannot. Men get married expecting their wives will never, ever change, and they do. If we can only learn to deal with our own expectations, and learn as well to deal with when we have them, and they are shot down in a blaze of glory… and sometimes anger.

Our Unrealistic Expectations

Of Government

Of Workplaces

Of Spouses and Families

Of the Church

Dr. Sonnenberg talked a lot about expectations being unrealistic, not just because they ask people to do the impossible, but also because we live in a world of sinners, and fallen human nature becomes more and more self-centered. As I thought about that, I came to realize that so many of the problems in relationships are geared by such expectations.

Some people expect the government to provide them everything, and to entitle them to whatever pleases their heart. And, they are often let down, because government ultimately isn’t responsible for our well-being. Others expect the government to leave them alone to pursue their own peace and happiness, and their expectations are destroyed when taxes go up, or they see their “rights” taken away, or when the government attempts to care for those who “don’t deserve it”.

People see their expectations dashed in workplaces as well. We demand raises, and demand better and better conditions, and get upset when we don’t get what we think we need, or deserve. Those who have worked in management, or who own their own business, often have their expectations dashed, when those they supervise or employ don’t live up to performance expectations.

I don’t think I have to go far in explaining the expectations that aren’t met in marriages. Sonnenberg’s quote already did. Our spouses often don’t live up to our expectations, and often because we never talk them out. What about our expectations of our children, or uhmmm…their expectations of us! I think Kay and I are the only couple whose son thinks he deserves to stay up past midnight – whose under 13! Talk about a unrealistic expectation! But what about the kids who think they deserve not just a car at 16, but a brand new one! A court case Sonnenberg mentioned had a son and mom in court over a car loan, which his response was… “well the last car was a piece of junk, so she owed me this one!”

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