Online Articles

Online Articles

Creative Hopelessness

    We are encouraged to spread the Good News as believers, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). How are we sharing the Lord’s message of salvation in a world that turns a deaf ear to it? Oftentimes, people are resistant to change because they don’t want to give up what’s familiar to them; yet holding to negative thoughts, feelings, habits, and behaviors does more harm than good. 

    In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the concept of Creative Hopelessness allows a person to recognize their detrimental thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that they are struggling to overcome and give up—like clinging too tightly to emotional baggage. Change is difficult for anyone, especially for a soul recognizing their need for Jesus Christ and for repentance. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

    God calls us to walk in newness of life, leaving the old, harmful, sinful lifestyle we came from. Creative Hopelessness is not meant to leave someone feeling hopeless about their life, but it is intended for the person to see the hopelessness of holding to harmful ways they are unwilling to relinquish and helping them find healthier ways of dealing with their problems.  

    After identifying what the struggle is, the process of Creative Hopelessness asks:

  1. What are you doing about this harmful thought, habit, or behavior? 
  2. How is what you are doing working for you?    
  3. What is it costing you to hold to your detrimental ways?     
  4. What is that like for you? Validating the person and comforting them, acknowledging their efforts, helps with empathizing with them throughout this process.  
  5. Would you be willing to consider a different approach to address the problem? 

    Oftentimes, people don’t want religion to be forced upon them. How are we to respond? “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” Colossians 4:5). Labeling an unbeliever as an “outsider from the flock or the lost” can potentially come across as ostracizing. Micro-aggressions are subtle or explicit, intentional or unintentional,  comments or actions toward a group that arouse offense. Being mindful of how we communicate with others will either draw them toward God or repel them.  People have the liberty to live as they want—if they want to change at all. If someone is resistant, coercing them and criticizing them only hardens their heart. Being mindful of their perspective and how they feel validates their emotions. Establishing common ground with others outside the church helps them not feel ostracized from the body of Christ, helping them realize that nobody is perfect because we all fall short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23) Creative Hopelessness can be a softer, gentler approach to helping others come to know Jesus Christ. 

  1. What is he or she doing about a secular struggle they’re dealing with? 
  2. How is what they are doing working? 
  3. What is it costing him or her to be ensnared by worldly cares? (Their soul, relationship with God, grief they are harboring inside) “What does it profit a man to gain the world, yet forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul” (Mark 8:36-37)?
  4. What is this experience like for the person? Validating him or her, acknowledging their efforts, and how they are trying to change for the better.  
  5. Would you be willing to consider a different approach if you’re open to relinquishing the burdens you feel like you’re bearing on your own?   The answer is Jesus.

    Jesus Christ comforts us with these words, “Come to Me, you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

    How are you going into all the world and drawing weary souls to Him?