“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin (a falling away, lapse, slip, false step, trespass, sin) you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We all suffer to some degree with pain from our past or present. Yet many of us soothe that pain in ways that do not include the true healer, Jesus. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, pornography, overeating, excessive shopping, fantasy escapes, workaholism, lust or being obsessed with others, we can all exercise unhealthy ways of coping with our deepest wounds and pain.
Issues are often hidden deep in our hearts and are scary to face head-on. So, we haphazardly self-medicate in one form or another to avoid the pain.
Others self-medicate because they are trying to fill the God-sized void in their hearts. None of the escapes listed above will fill that void. Only Jesus can do that. Our attempts fall woefully short.
I wrote the below poem recently for all of us that stray and walk away from God in moments, days or years. It’s about allowing others to join us in our pain and struggle.
There is a powerful authenticity and beautiful humanness in sharing our pain and our poor coping methods with safe and wise friends. They are able to draw us to the Lord and we then are able to tell a story to which others can relate – that can bring life to others. But, keeping our pain silent harms us and keeps others and the Lord from their blessed work.
Shame I bore for things I’d done
I turned and hid my face
So easy to withdraw myself
But oh, I missed His grace
The sting of sin it followed me
And shuddered all my light
But friends they came beside me then
And told me of my might
That God had given only me
To shine for him and all around
To shine so bright that love astounds
So when I move away from God
And do things on my own
I run right back so close to Him
And call His side my home
My brokenness it can divide
My joy from all my pain
And thwart the best of me there is
To show how grace can ever reign
So now I share my earthly self
So others can relate
Yet share much more His mighty hand
That ever lifts my state
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” ~ Jeremiah 17:14
Oh, Lord, I pray for all my friends who struggle in this life with known or unknown pain and I ask the You strengthen each of us to run to You alone. That we listen to wise counsel You have set near us. Thank you for your powerful Word that gives us hope and peace. I pray that we would run toward your outstretched arms and to the only place where deep wounds can be healed forever. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen