Digesting Disappointment


Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:1-2

When people disappoint us we enter a danger zone for relationships. It’s tempting to turn our disappointed expectations into a blanket statement regarding the person or persons. Here’s how I’ve seen disappointment poison relationships: instead of digesting my own feelings of disappointment, I can label the other person as a disappointment and make them the cause of my pain, totally ignoring the reality of my own expectations as the major player here. That’s a danger zone!

When we view a person as a disappointment we are in danger of loosing love to the grim reaper called pride. We will invoke shame as a weapon and turn to violence of speech or action in order to vindicate ourselves and try to get the other person to make us happy — or go away.

Healthy relationships do have expectations. The Apostle Paul has expectations of the church. He hopes for them to live up to and into the calling they have had from God through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Like him, we do look for each other to live up to the callings of our relationships by keeping commitments and demonstrating value for the person. However if we demand perfection to our expectations will restrict ourselves from love; we will not be able to accept each other in our weakness, warts, and all!

So when I’m disappointed here’s what helps:

1. First admit I’m disappointed and keep it to myself first.

2. Humbly examine my expectations with the Lord. Its here that I have to figure out what story I’m making up about the situation and the person.

3. Resolve to treat the other gently, not as an object for my happiness, but as a person who is deeply loved and valued by God.

4. Explore what kind of adjustments, allowances, or space, I can make for the faults (weaknesses) of the other. As Brene Brown’s husband Steve says in, Rising Strong, “All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.”

Having said that, even in disappointment I can and must determine the scope of my boundaries and gently and firmly reaffirm them. What the Apostle Paul encourages here in verse 2 is that we make allowances for other person’s faults because we love them.

5. And then if need be, discuss the situation with the other person without condemnation, truthing in love. This is the difficult but crucial conversation that must be waded into. But I think the health of our lives and relationships depends on our courage to do so. Digesting disappointment guards the heart against resentment and the many disorders of the soul that accompany such festering pain. Digesting disappointment creates space for us to grow in love.

When it comes to digesting disappointment, what have you found helpful?

Easter: Hope for Life’s Greatest Disappointments


Big Idea: Jesus does not avoid us when we fail. John 21:1-22

In the Resurrection encounters of John’s Gospel, Jesus meets His followers to reveal Himself; along the way He becomes the answer to their grief (20:1-23), doubt (20:24-29), and disappointment (21:1-22).


Peter’s great disappointment.   John 13:36-38 & John 18:15-18, 25-27

Peter had failed to stick with Jesus. Peter denied he knew Jesus. Peter’s bold appraisal of courage and faithfulness turned into lies, curses, and avoidance. Peter was crushed!

Jesus’ abundant grace. 
John 21:1-14

A large catch of fish and breakfast on the beach!

Jesus restores those crushed by disappointment!

Jesus invites you to commune with Him.  vs. 15

17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:17-20

The disappointed need relational attachment affirmed by Jesus.


Jesus raises the question of allegiance and affection.  vs. 15-19

3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.  Revelation 2:3-5

The disappointed need character built on the foundation of Jesus’s love.


Jesus calls you to align your life with His mission.  vs. 15-19

“I will build my church.”  Matthew 16:18
“Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Matthew 6:33

The disappointed need purpose and vision for life clarified by Jesus.


Jesus commands singular discipleship; no comparing and no predicated obedience.  vs. 18-22

“If it is my will that he ______, what is that to you? You follow me!”

The disappointed need the Resurrected Lord Jesus’ grace for “a long obedience in the same direction.”