Healing For the Wounded Soul

by Charles Slack

Have you been offended lately?  

I mean aggravated,  affronted, slighted, snubbed, insulted, betrayed, deceived, mislead, tricked, lied to, defrauded, duped, deluded, cheated, misinformed, let down or otherwise distressed, troubled, disturbed, displeased, disappointed, disconcerted or grieved by someone – perhaps someone with whom you have (or had) an important relationship – inside or outside church fellowship –  a relative – even a partner?

First, the bad news: 
you are not alone.  Christians increasingly experience such attacks.  And if your heart is open and you strive to love, you may actually be more susceptible not less: when attacked, you may feel worse.  You don’t expect assault.  You’re not used to blitz, not adapted, not immune, not accustomed -and therefore more vulnerable.  

Now the good news: 
if you admit to feeling hurt, not just angry but emotionally injured, then you may well be on the way to complete healing from emotional wounds.  Actually, our first reaction to an offence, our natural response, is not grief or heartache.  Rather it is anger, resentment, even fury.  How dare they think they can hurt me!  At this point I don’t admit feeling injured.  I won’t give perpetrators the satisfaction of knowing they have power to wound me.  I don’t admit my feelings even to myself – or to God!

Eventually, truth emerges:
I feel hurt, not just angry.  Now I can turn to God and ask him to forgive me.  When asking forgiveness, it becomes far easier to forgive.  That’s the end point: forgiving those who hurt us.  

Nobody lives in my head rent free.

To evict resentment from my head, I must forgive.  In order to forgive, I must ask forgiveness.  In order to ask forgiveness, I must turn to almighty God, my Maker.  In order to turn to God, I must forsake anger.  In order to forsake anger, I must take a break, take a breath, take stock, take time – and then pray, pray again, pray for real, and then be still and listen to my Lord.  As I shift away from anger to hurt, and then to asking forgiveness, and finally to forgiving, God reveals His boundless love.  My head-space clears and those brain-squatters get evicted.  If they don’t leave immediately, I can boycott them; starve them by not feeding them with my reactions. After the squatters vacate my brain, I can begin to put myself in the other person’s shoes! 

My real enemies turn out to be my own resentment, self-pity, fear and ego (easing God out). Recognising my real enemies, I can do God’s will in the difficult circumstance.  I can facilitate a win-win result, I can help others, or act in my own best interest if that is called for.  Importantly, I can do nothing at all when in fact God reveals that nothing will help.  I need not act or react when anything I do might interfere with His almighty plans for me and them.  He is running the show, not Charles!

Psalm 37: 5 He will bring it to pass.

Having trouble taking a breather?  Can’t forsake anger? 

Try this: 
Read Psalm 37 very slowly.  Then read verses 1-10 again. 

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.[b]
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord[c] shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
27 Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.[d]
36 But he passed away,[e] and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
 In my early days as a Christian, I had evil-doers living in my skull and trashing the digs.  Then somebody put me onto Psalm 37.  I stuck it to my keyboard and read it every day for months.  The evildoers eventually faded out of sight.

In His time.

The Psalm reveals that it is not God’s way to blast, detonate, or vaporize like Terminator Two: zapping evildoers was my idea (and Hollywood’s) not God’s.  God rarely zaps.  Rather, He takes His time, causing the baddies to fade out, to blow away, (like “dry grass in the wind”) until now, in the finish, I “diligently seek their place but cannot find them!”  And I hope I have finally learned His way is best! 

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Charles Slack

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