Sunday, July 17, 2016


One of my Mother's oft-quoted favorite poetic verses, and also on a plaque in the office of a preacher:

“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !

From the poem " Outwitted” 

That is Loving, Christian thing to do. When she read this poem to me, my Mother explained this is what  you do when people are trying to shut you out. Sometimes even in very loving homes where children generally lived in harmony, one of them would ignore the others.  It is wise to remember the pouting prophet and pouting king of the old testament. Usually when children pout, there is resentment and unforgiveness.

 Please read further for more about this:

I think these scriptures can be taught to your children to teach them to love the family! They teach a warmheartedness; a weeping-with-those-who-weep and a rejoicing with those who rejoice.

Marks of the True Christian - A 13-Step Study

Rom 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Rom 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Rom 12:11  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Rom 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Rom 12:13  Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Rom 12:14  Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Rom 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Rom 12:16  Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Rom 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Rom 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Rom 12:19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Rom 12:20  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Rom 12:21  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Young's Literal Tranlation : 

Rom 12:10  in the love of brethren, to one another kindly affectioned: in the honour going before one another.

When I was 12 years old in the 1950's, my Mother talked to me about a social trend that she had never experienced before. She said, "We liked people across the generations. We did not only associate with people in our own age-group or our own class or status. We liked married people with children, unmarried people, the elderly, our parents and grandparents, and children.  We did not get in cliques and exclude others. There were no popularity contests."

In her old age, my Mother's neices and nephews were still phoning and writing to her regularly.

"In grade school, we sang a song: 

Make new friends,
But keep the old, 
One is silver 
And the other gold."

"It sems now, if people make new friends, they discard the old. I do not like it when people stop speaking to us. That was not done.  It is now a practice. We did not ignore old friends or new ones, parents or children."

"There is no room in their lives for older acquaintances when people get new acquaintances. Yet in our book shelves, we kept old books alongside the new books."

She also was astonished at a new trend to take vacations away from your young children. The Mom-needs-a-break trend was only just emerging.  There were also the new coffee-klatch groups forming among housewives that she did not enjoy. People used to be able to periodically visit someone just to check on their welfare or keep up a friendship, without forming a coffee-klatch.  (Note: I am not sure what that was about, as the trend had disappeared before I knew of it.)

Instead of eliminating the things that were really over-crowding people's lives, such as too much shopping, too much extra work, too much driving,  too many activities, too many things, etc., folks were eliminating love  and family from their lives, as well as forming cliques in churches.

A new practice of "sidelining" people was occurring.

In families and churches, people of different ages can interact and be friends.   There is no need to eliminate one, to make room for another.

My parents , born in the 1920's, were shaking their heads in unbelief and sadness at the tendency to eliminate people God had put in their lives.  A married couple included in their lives other couples of all ages, their in-laws, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, old friends and new. They understood the need to stay away from people who would draw your heart away from Christ, but this was something different.

I have thought about posting something on this subject but was not certain if it was of interest to anyone here.

Several people have been telling me about a very harmful teaching in pop-psychology religious books which promote these attitudes. While Christ encourages us to draw people into our circle, these pop- psychology religious books teach the opposite. At a time when people need to be supportive and sympathetic, empathetic, etc. these pop-psych religious books promote the "cut-off culture" which causes loved-ones hearts to bleed.

I love meeting new people but I keep in touch with my old friends. Some of them have been "sidelined" or retired by others. In Jane Austen's Emma, Mr. Knightly said he could not secure his own happiness and ignore her father's happiness. It was obviously a mark of courtesy to care about your own wife or husband but still be civil and kind to the parents and siblings.

Someone was recently telling me of a movie about how sympathy and empathy were eliminated from people, turning them into alien creatures with no tears or crying or sentiment of any kind.  As Christians, we want to feel sad and to be sad with others, or express our love for others with our tears.

The little poem should make us smile: if people shut you out, take them in. The cut-off culture has always existed in all history, and few people will escape its sting.  Jesus example of drawing people in, will suffice!


Mrs. U said...

I have never understood "needing a break" from your children, either!! I think every mother with children at home I know tells me about going off for "me time" to get away from their children a while. I only have my children for a short time so I want to pour all I can into them while I can. (Deut 6:7).


Lydia said...

My mother took a nap, read a book, went for a walk, or tended the garden, all things that gave her rest and a break. We children were taught to give her peace and rest, by not being demanding or troublrsome to the point of driving her away.

ladypinktulip said...

I think it is troublesome that people side line relationships. I was telling my mom the other day...when folks went on vacations back in the was almost ALWAYS to see family or frieds. It was not to go to Disneyland or some exotic place although that may have it's place. People went to keep their relations close to them. Now with the advent of the digital age...people can throw each other away with the click of a button. I enjoy people of all ages. My mom never retreated away from my brother and I. She just practiced the art of a short nap each afternoon. Kelly T.

Laura Jeanne said...

Something to consider is that since many children these days are not raised properly to respect their parents, the mother may indeed need a break from them, since their behaviour is extremely difficult to tolerate for long periods of time. I don't say that is the case for everyone. I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and I can say with honesty that my sisters and I were very polite and well behaved children. Yet my mother seemed to dislike being a stay-at-home mom, and she made sure she took vacations as often as she could away from us. Every year she and my dad would take a week long cruise, and we children were not invited. Her heart was not in the idea of raising her family, I don't think. And we children could certainly sense that, and none of us are very close to her in our adulthood. We would like to be, but she is still more interested in her own life than in ours. I believe that this state of affairs is extremely common in modern days, as too many women have bought the lie that raising children is a "waste" of their life, that fulfillment comes from chasing personal pleasures and accomplishments. It's sad.

Lynn Maust said...

Dear Lydia,
I too keep my old books among my new ones.

Lynn Maust said... sad to read of your upbringing experience of your mom going away from you. I hope you have kept close to your sisters and consider them to be your support system.

Lydia said...

A Reader's email:

Hello Lydia,

You referred to the "cut-off culture". Well, that has been going on for more than a decade, but only recently was I a victim of it. It is a form of emotional violence to cut off friends without exlanation, and no chance of reconciliation or healing. I have been trying to make sense of it, but in all my research on the subject I found only two truths: you can never "make sense" of rudeness, and you are not insane when you are wounded by it. I just read this on the web:

"I’m really good at cutting people off. And no, I’m not bragging. As a child, my father would often commend me for not allowing myself to be pushed around or taken advantage of on the playground. If the other girls weren’t playing fair, I’d calmly subtract myself from the equation and play by myself. It was really that simple. This lack of tolerance for funny-style behavior and shade followed me through elementary school, high school and college. But once I entered into adulthood, I noticed that my tolerance for people and their crap diminished even more. Whenever a person showed the slightest sign of questionable behavior, I’d have them X’d out of my life faster than they could even ask “why?” Though I believe that this approach spared me from being burned by a lot of insincere people, as an adult, I realized that this attitude could also cause me to miss out on really great friendships with amazing people."

"As I continued life, I realize that as humans, we are all flawed in some way— especially when it comes to our interactions and relationships with others. Everything isn’t black or white, not everything is what it appears and not every offense is done with malicious intent. But with my awesome (insert sarcasm here) track record of cutting people off at the slightest sign of trouble, I realized that I was never even allowing myself to truly get to know people for who they are (flaws and all). When I felt slighted in any way, I wouldn’t even inform the person that they had somehow offended me. I wouldn’t inform them that they were being cut out of my life. I’d simply put up my invisible wall and take advantage of my cell phone’s ignore button.

"It eventually ocurred to me how emotionally harmful and detrimental this pattern of behavior is.... Somewhere around graduation, we (my girlfriend and I) had a petty misunderstanding over cultural differences. Almost instantly, the strong-willed little girl who was determined not to let anyone get over on her at the playground reappeared. I was DONE! I made up my mind that she was cut off and even went as far as to delete her number out of my cell phone soon after the episode. “I don’t need those kinds of problems. I was born alone and I’m gonna die alone,” I said to myself, quoting one of my most overused lines from high school, typically used when it was time to cut someone off. But then, once the initial anger wore off, I was left missing my friend. I eventually swallowed my pride and extended an olive branch. “I’m sorry,” I told her. And for a moment, I wondered if she’d be as unforgiving as I had been to so many people in the past. To my surprise, she responded with this: “It’s cool Jazzy, sisters fight all of the time.”

You are welcome to publish my email as a comment.


Lydia said...

It is good to see there has been some light being shown on the cut-off culture. The first time I remember it happenning on me was about 25 years ago when, after responding to a young woman's request for help in homemaking and sewing, by giving her some books and personal hands-on training (sewing, baking) she showed up at my door and told me she did not want anything to do with me. Then, to dramatise it she gunned her car and sped off leaving a cloud of dust where she had been just standing a moment earlier. Being totally naive about the cut-off culture, I stupidly phoned her and when I asked what was wrong and tried to apologize she hung up. This left me feeling unsettled . Since she was a nearby neighbor I went to see her. Bad went to worse and she accused me of harrassing, terrorizing and making her feel "guilty". I consulted an elderly person about it who said this has been going on with people for a long time, and apparently comes from feelings of power, conceit, entitlement and superiority. I certainly never felt like doing that to people and have never hung up on anyone. But these are perilous times when the love of many will wax cold and compassion, forgetfulness that they were redeemed by the blood of Christ, empathy and sympathy are absent from some human hearts.

Joyce Ackley said...

I don't really understand the "cut-off" culture. I don't know what it means. I've never heard that term, but I suppose the concept has existed for some time. I would assume it prevails primarily among the young people - even young adults. Social media has afforded a means of airing personal problems and promoting drama in one's private life and in the affairs of others. I have observed that it seems to be hard for young people to feel or demonstrate empathy for others. So many seem to be self-absorbed and are not tuned in to the problems and troubles that others face and endure.

I have a wide circle of friends of ages and walks in life. That doesn't mean that I am close friends with everyone I know or associate with - I'm friendly and polite to all, but I don't have to be bosom-buddies with everyone. Some I choose not to socialize with, but I am cordial to them. If I had a grievance with someone, I would try to present it in a respectful, dignified manner.

This "cut off" culture is a mystery to me.

As far as mothers needing a break from their kids, yes, I get that. I did with mine, and I see a lot of young moms who could benefit from a pleasant afternoon away from the children, an evening out while the kids are with a competent baby-sitter, or even a weekend away. I think it a short break could be beneficial for both parents and children. Notice I said, 'I think', meaning it's my opinion and not a generalization.

anonymous said...

Wow, what a subject for a post.

I remember my mother telling me I needed a break from my first baby. She was born two weeks after my husband shipped out to sea in 1971.
I was heartbroken and not wanting to let my husband drown, reluctantly left my baby with mother to take a trip with my husband to visit his sister in another state for a week. I cried my heart out when in the shower at night because I was ridiculed for being. "So rediculos".

I had to go into the hospital for two days upon my return from out of state and didn't get to see my baby at all. People can be so heartless. I found out later that my baby cried almost the whole time. I was crushed that I'd been so duped by my own family and let my baby suffer.

That same sister-in-law was always trying to get me to leave my little girl in the church nursery while attending lectures at church. My little girl was frightened to be left alone and she was good sitting with me during the lecture. Some people can be so pushy to insist on their own way.


anonymous said...

Some time ago while attending a women's group, another woman befriended me and over a week or so kept calling, emailing or inviting me over for tea. Her flattery was syrupy sweet and at times obnoxious. I had never been in this situation before and felt uneasy about it.

As time passed it was obvious that she only wanted rides to and from the group functions and the use of some of my skills. Her requests became demands with manipulation. The flattering talk quickly turned to backbiting and outright scorn when I had to decline some of the rides and the use of my skills for family first. I was treated like I had abandoned her. She started vicious rumors about me and more.

I realized this quick friendship was dangerous. We moved out of state shortly after that and I was very relieved. After that experience I have been more guarded and suspicious of others trying to make friends with me.


Lydia said...


Yes these are things to be aware of. I have had that experience too!

Andrea R said...

Oh Lydia, you know how my heart is heavy with these concepts! What a very true, and experienced and wise post this is!

Blessings to you!

Mrs. Christopher Daniels said...

Hi Lydia, Hello ladies! I'm wondering does this cut off mentality have anything to do with how some of our parents were cut out by divorce. Does the divorce epidemic lend a hand in the heartless way some of us can cut someone off with out explanation? Perhaps the people doing the cutting have been cut off themselves somewhere along the way. I am a child of divorce, and I have this feeling deep down that just about anyone can be ignored out of my life. I'm not proud of it, but I am aware of it. I do not know any better ,but after reading this I am beginning to understand that biblical principles can be applied to people instead of giving them the cold shoulder.

Lydia said...

I wish more was being written about the harm of such divorces. I know people who were divircd against their will, and it harmd the children, as ypu described?

Mrs. Christopher Daniels said...

This is something I probably will look into more, because it has always been an issue in my life about whether or not to keep someone in my life.

Lydia said...

Although I cannot pinpoint the beginning of the cut-off culture, I think it might have begun with divorce, where family members on one side were excluded. As well, people were not tolerant of anyone who was not an exact replica of themselves. Maybe this began with the best-friend culture. In the 50's my parents noticed this and told us we could like someone more, but not let others feel excluded.

I still remember the helpless shock of the first time someone hung up on us. We didnot know anything to do but to pursue reconciliation. We just didnt get it and naively attempted to straighten out any misunderstanding. We wantd to be right eith God and we knew we could not be in full fellowship with Christ if we refused to work things out with someone. This is where the administrator of such emotional terror had us hostage. We could not move forward, knowing someone had something against us. We could not contact them to straighten it out because they regarded every attempted to bridge the gap, as a threat.

Not only that, but as time went on and thie cut-off behavior became more common, those who practiced cut-offs seemed to get a selfish delight in watching the target or victim squirm, beg forgiveness, weep in agony and continually try to communicate. I began to see the instigator of this emotional pain seemed to enjoy the loved-one's desperation to get back into fellowship.

In a sense what this cut off activity did was to give power to people without going through the Biblical disfellowship protocol laid forth in Matthew 18: when someone offends you, tell them. If they wont listen, take someone with you and tell them again. If they still will not comply, take the matter to the church. If they cooperate, receive them back into full fellowship. However, the cut-off culture does not give anyone a get-out-of-jail-go-free pass. It keeps the target unbalanced and unable to settle their heart.

The phone hang-up thing has been so common that when I mention to anyone, they do not seem to think it is anything serious or anything out of order as far as ettiquette or courtesy is concerned. Now we have cut-off-everything until everyone is so marginalized you cannot contact anyone. What is the use of all this midern communication if is so restricted that you do not dare use it.

Also the cut-off culture used to extend to cards and invitations, thank-you letters, post cards from afar and personal newsletters. A generstion that never practiced personal correspondence began to reject it all so they would not have the burden of replying. Sometimes a simple card in the mail would become a source of resentment, resulting in a request not to be sent any more.

Invitations also received the same peculiar responses. Some people asked "Why did you invite me to your event? What does it mean" because, I suppose they really did not understand the concept of hospitality. Hospitality is another area that has sufferred abuse from the cut-off culture.

This "Brother is invited but not sister" is also very shocking, but not to the cut-off culture.

Christine, did anyne ever tell you exactly what your offense was that prompted the family to exclude you, but include your husband?

Lydia said...

Christine Beauchamp has left a new comment on your post "Outwitted":

Thank you for putting a name to something I've seen and experienced first-hand. . . for years but could not explain or understand. I try to be inclusive. . . including everyone in activities so no one is left out or forgotten. Rare, if ever, am I ever included by those same people. . . some I call 'friend'. For all the so-called 'education' we have. . .we as a people are deteriorating and have become largely superficial. I see it as adult bodies wearing childish minds.

I have two older sisters who never want to get together. The oldest always says "I pride myself on not getting together with my family!" I can't even imagine why she would say such a thing. I finally gave up after years of reaching out to them. Being a generation older than me, I figured they just forgot I was their sister.

When I married my husband had 5 sisters. . I thought, 'finally now I'll have a family and be included!!' . . but no such luck. Before we married they collectively told me I had to prove I deserved to be a member of that family. I didn't even know what that meant. Evidently I didn't prove it to their satisfaction. At holiday times and other gatherings, they would call to invite my husband. . telling him "I" was Not Invited. Never once did he stand up to them or tell them he would not come without me. I always told him to just go. . have a nice time. He'd come back edgy and wanting to pick a fight. I could tell they must have been trashing me. . and there stood the man I married who did not understand how to Put a stop to it. Its now over 30 years later. . .I have nothing to do with them of course. (though still married to the man who didn't have sense to speak on behalf of his own wife - - which definitely affects my marriage, weakens it - so sad, compared to my dreams as a young married woman)

The 'cut off culture' fits, sad to say. I still don't understand it. ..

Lydia said...


This is probably not exclusive to you, as I know similar stories. The purpose was to weaken your husband's loyalty to you. He could still love them with a brotherly love, amd love you with a married love. God designed for both to exost in the hman heart together. One kind of love should not be cancelled by the other.

Lydia said...

In fact, there are four or five kinds of love in the Koine Greek of the New Testament, and, barring anything unholy, most of them commonly exist together in the human heart. The cut-off culture systematically cut off any kind of love extended to them except what they could manipulate. Of course I am sure there have been professional studies on the matter. Decades ago this was written about in Christian periodicals but it was called courtesy, forgiveness, tenderheartedness. Yhere were of course some people on drugs or alchohol that families were wary of, and protected each other from. eEveryone understood this, amd ogten went beyond the third mile to keep in fellowship.

Lydia said...

A friend writes:

Also the innundation of email and internet activity might have contributed to the cut off culture, as you can click off or delete anything you dont want, but this behavior was going on back in the late 50's, became more common in the 1960's and was practiced in the 1970-80's . This was lomg before the internet, cell phones, texts, twitter, facebook, etc. became prominent. Its an older practice that is magnified by the availability of quick clicks. One can only see the emotional devastation it causes in young people who set out in life with trusting hearts, only to be broken early in life, causing them to be hard-hearted themselves.

Christine Beauchamp said...

Yes Lydia, I believe I do know. As I said, before we married they collectively told me (led by their father) that I had to prove I deserved to be a member of their family. I didn't even know what that meant. They were not kidding.

The second to oldest sister, having been an Assistant Dean of a large University, ran her life and their lives like a drill seargant (sp?). They all loved it and fell into line always as instructed. Their dad was the same. . We married in February. In August of that same year (on my birthday) their dad passed away. [he was a most unpleasant man] so they first said they would NEVER celebrate my birthday as it was the death of their dad - - not that I had anything at all to do with the day of his passing. Then on the day of his memorial service, they presented to us a bill for $500.00 - - I forget if that was to be paid monthly, or quarterly. . honestly I don't remember those terms as it was 30 years ago. . but they presented this bill saying my husband was now the head of the family. Their dad had been paying for his youngest sister (in her 30's at that time) to go to college full time. This money would be used to cover her debts: rent, insurance, school charges, dental bills, or whatever she wanted to use it for. (Evidently the father did not arrange for her expenses to be paid in the event of his death - - so it became our problem.) Each of the sisters would also chip in as they could - - BUT none of this $$$ would be paid back - - except at her discretion. My husband was going to pay it - - it was almost like a ransom. I said Absolutely Not!! I was also in my 30's at the time, working full time. If I wanted to go to school I had to work all day - - then go at night - - and find a way to pay for it. Until I married, I had struggled to pay the bills and put food on the table - - often going without food. I'm sure that was their line in the sand that I was not proving myself fit. To make matters worse, she was going to school for 'ART' - - she was talented but what kind of job would she get after? No job that would pay her. I suggested she come clean my house or something and I would pay her as a way for her to earn money. They called me to tell me she wasn't coming to clean my dirty house. Between the two of us we hardly owned any furniture or anything. . . my house wasn't dirty. But I was raised as a polish girl, you worked for anything you received. I felt she should do that same, especially being my age. That was the death knell for sure.

Lydia said...

Here is your comment, Christine. I hit the delete buton, due to print bei g so small on my device.

Christine Beauchamp has left a new comment on your post "Outwitted":

Part 2 of my response:
Some years later my mother in law was in a nursing home. The 5 sisters were all very short and very stout. I was the sister in law married to their only brother who was very tall and not stout. I was tall and thinner than they were. A resident (very old woman with dementia) said to me 'you're the best looking of all of them' - - something they all heard sitting only a few feet from her. I had nothing to do with her making that statement - - but that was absolutely the final straw. They never talked to me again after that. . . . and they weren't exactly nice to me even before then. When the oldest sister married, they conveniently never called me when pictures were being taken - - especially family pictures. I'm only in 1 photo - - a table photo at the dinner - - for guests. They were evil to me since the beginning. . so I keep my distance. Near her death the mother made somewhat of a weak apology to me. . .but it was not direct in any way. I had offered for her to come live with us rather than live in such a facility. I think it hastened her death. She had been living in a retirement facility since her mid 60's. (the average age of residents was '90' there and the only way an apartment opened up was if someone passed away - - how depressing!) Again they called me and told me not to suggest she come live with us. Personally I thought she passed before her time. . .but no one would listen to me.

Another of his sisters, by age 40 had already had several heart surgeries. Her diet was atrocious and she was huge. I went to her at her hospital bed (the only time I knew I would see her) and offered - - let me teach you how to eat healthier - - 40 is much too young for multiple heart attacks. They absolutely cursed me for that. But the brother in law has terrible cancer, all his teeth fell out(young age) . . and all the sisters are mostly very ill. They were terribly insulted. But I didn't mean as an insult. As you often say, we have to use discretion and discipline in our eating habits to keep us well. I'd love to eat all that stuff, but I'd be ill - - or dead myself. We absolutely are what we eat. . .and she had the heart problems to prove it. Sorry for this very long response.


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