“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
–Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

As a hospital chaplain, I go into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) all the time, and I experience a different world inside that area. The world of the ICU is one of pain, loneliness and grief, while the outside world can be selfish and cruel. God tells us in His word to love one another, so to do this I have found it helpful to meditate on the ICU. Many times, we get so blinded by the task of living, that we forget what is really important.

Before we get into the procedure of the ICU Method, I need to paint a picture. Imagine you’re really mad at someone. Your teeth are clenched and your hands are rolled up in tight fists. You’re really mad, and you tell yourself you have the right to feel like this. Before a situation like this takes place, I recommend role-playing this moment ahead of time, since I can almost guarantee you won’t feel to eager to try out the system I’m about to outline for you. But distancing ourselves is the one thing that can keep us from saying something stupid. So take the time to walk away from the person you’re angry with, and consider these three steps: Important, Compare, and Unite.

First, make a plan to take a walk, write down your feelings privately, or just do whatever helps you cool off, while meditating on this question: “Is this situation really that IMPORTANT in the long run?” Even after role playing, you may have to discipline your mind to do this, so every time you feel a toxic emotion, replace it with something positive that you love about the person, which first attracted you to them. I promise that if you stick with this, the dividends will be enormous.

If you’re still angry, compare your situation with things that are really life-threatening. If this seems to theoretical, think about someone who is worse off than you. To get this further implanted i our mind, you may want to call them, drive over to help them, or send them a card. However things work out in your situation, do something nice for someone else, continuing to replace anger with positive facts.

Before you UNITE, do what I call writing a “love sandwich”. Communication is healthy in any good relationship, so try to ignore the tendency to sweep your feelings under the rug, since they will only fester. Start out by telling the person you’re angry with how much you love them. This will show them how special they are to you, and they will become more receptive to whatever else you have to say.

Then, without shying away, tell them exactly what your feelings were when everything heated up between the two of you, and how you’re feeling now. End your note with another generous slice of love, and top it with the bread of kindness. Truly UNITE by talking, and then praying about your situation, because God promises wisdom to all who fervently seek Him. When all is said and done, try to laugh at yourselves, for laughter does good like a healing medicine.

But the last verse of our text really holds the key, since it talks about a cord of three strands not being broken easily. The first two strands represent two people who know each other in some way, often through friendship or love. The third strand is a vital relationship with God, which is a must for all of us. If you need to ask Christ into your life for the first time, or re-dedicate your life to him do this today and allow the problems you face to become stepping stones to opportunity.

Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You may also send your donation to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870.

If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 641-715-3900, ext. 874157.