Warning #2, If you can’t be honest about your life, go watch some Youtube videos.
Warning #3, if you expect a blog to give you easy answers to life’s problems, keep surfing.
Now for the rest of us…
We all have pain, everyone one of us. We all struggle to deal with it.
Some of us deal with it in constructive ways; some of us cope by trying to avoid even thinking about it. Others deal with pain in very destructive ways. Those destructive ways can cause more pain, producing a cycle that is hard to escape.
I’ve read about some of the most famous comedians of our times. Many of them with deep pain that somehow fueled their sense humor. What once was a coping mechanism has now turned into a way to confront the pain and to make people laugh while doing it. I’ve also read about the successful people who never dealt with their pain and ended their own lives. To the outsider they seemed to have it all, but something inside them never healed.
Many alcoholics aren’t addicted because they liked the taste or even because they like to get a buzz. A large percentage of them are “drinking the pain away.” Tens of thousands of young women are seeking healing in bad relationships because the pain of the absent father haunts them. Across the globe, people are so career minded (usually a good thing) just so they don’t have to deal with pain that has been hanging around for decades.
Some of us have pain from terrible, life altering, gut wrenching circumstances we’ve been through. Others of us hurt from simple words that were said to us over time.
In a spiritual sense, we are all bleeding.
Some from large wounds, others from hundreds of small paper cuts.
The question for us all is. How should we deal with it?
Right now there are some men reading this and the testosterone is kicking in. They are saying to themselves, “I don’t have any pain” or “just push it down and ignore it.” These are the same men who will lose their minds in the car later today when someone accidently cuts them off. So guys, go ahead keep being a jerk or be a real man and acknowledge the pain is there.
There are ladies reading this who are wiping tears away because I’ve touched on something that they can’t describe but are honest enough to know it’s there. It’s time to take care of it.
You can try to medicate it, you can try to drink it away, you can deny it’s there, you can pass it on to someone else by causing pain in them or you can do what Jesus did.
It’s simple and incredibly difficult at the same time.
He was religiously rejected, harshly ridiculed, falsely accused, brutally beaten, and publically executed. I would call that pain, wouldn’t you?
But, on the cross, after all of that and more He changed everything for us. He looks out at the people and says
“Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
Here is the hard part; I’m not going to lecture you on forgiveness, especially since I struggle with it just as much as you. But this is where the way to deal with pain, be it rejection, loss, or anything else can be found.
You have to find a way to forgive. You may have to find a way to forgive yourself. That is difficult but God can help if you ask Him. You may have to forgive someone from your past. That will be a struggle to let go. You may have to forgive someone currently in your life, this can be complicated.
Only God can forgive and forget, you can’t do that. But I’m going to ask you to “forgive and remember with grace.” You can’t forget, but when you recall something painful allow grace to cover it.” This doesn’t mean wrong was never done, it means you refuse to carry it anymore.
There is a common assumption that when you forgive someone all trust is restored, that isn’t scriptural or realistic. Did you know you can forgive someone and at the same time decide to stay away from that person? Ladies, you can forgive that idiot but not go back to him. Guys you can forgive that friend but not let him around your family again.
Forgiveness is complicated; it’s often a brutal internal struggle that only God’s grace can direct. But it’s too important to avoid embracing it. Our society would teach us to “get even” or “make them bleed.”
Religion may suggest that if we “live better” the bleeding will stop. Many get frustrated when religion fails them and causes new pain to develop.
But Jesus absorbed our worst and chose to forgive.
That is our example, it’s not pretty, it’s not easy, it doesn’t make us feel better instantly but if we want the bleeding to stop, it’s our only choice.
The world says “make them feel the pain.”
Religion says “discipline your pain.”
The cross says “the pain stops here.”
There are many great books on forgiveness; there are many great sermons on forgiveness. There are also many clichéd quotes about forgiveness.
But for each of you, the hard work of honestly surrendering to the love of God and embracing forgiveness is between you and God alone. No one can do it for you.
I can’t give you five keys to a pain free life, or three steps to forgiveness. All I can do is encourage you to let God deal with your pain so you can be free. And so in turn you can help others do the same.
Written by Tom Wise © Finding Wonder 2013