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This May Hurt a Little

needleThere is a reason why people avoid the dentist or getting shots. It hurts. How can a place of healing and helping also bring such pain?

I’ve sat through lots of appointments with my kids, trying to calm them down. I know that the more they get worked up, the more it will hurt. Their muscles grow tense, the anticipation of pain intensifies. Tears and anger overwhelm them, and they cannot believe it’s better to go through a little pain now to avoid a bigger pain later.

Where am I going with this? Even in the midst of believers who have staked their lives on living and learning grace, you can find pain and heartache. The place of healing you entered begins to look like a dungeon cell of discouragement. The tendency is to attempt to protect yourself from any further hurt or offense, but you have to trust God you’re right where He wants you.

Now obviously, people aren’t hurting you because it’s good for you like a vaccination or a teeth cleaning. They hurt you because they’re in the same process you are: growing to maturity.

You’ll be wronged, hurt, then feel left for dead in an environment promoting just the opposite. It’s a dangerous moment, because it causes us to wonder whether a place of safety, authenticity, grace, and love is actually possible this side of heaven. –The Cure

But when you stubbornly protect yourself, embracing unforgiveness and resentment, you quickly fall into pride.

If humility is “trusting God and others with me,” then the proud are those who are untrustingly self-protective. God works to speed us to a place of humility, where we can be freed from our self-obsessed death-trap. –The Cure

Man, that hits me hard.

He “speeds” me to a place of humility to restore relationship with Him. I’ve succumbed to sin, I’ve failed in hundreds of ways, because of this. By not being real and by trying to protect myself from pain, embarrassment, or further heartache–I end up closing myself off to the grace I so desperately need and desire.

…and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. –1 Peter 5:5

Like my kids, I’ve taken a painful situation and compounded it. Because He loves me so much, He will allow me the choice to walk away, even if it means I’m taking a bullet train headed for a crash. When I obsess over the wrongs done to me or pretend they don’t bother me, I remove myself from the flow of grace because I’ve installed myself as judge in the place of God.

If that doesn’t stink of pride, I don’t know what does.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to forgive, especially with people who should know better. It’s hard work and it’s painful to face, but burying it and pretending everything is fine is not what grace looks like. If that were grace, Jesus never would have died in our place because God could have just looked the other way.

As Jesus proved, forgiveness is a deep, bloody mess; but in our God, it never ends there. Resurrection is guaranteed for those who can walk it through with Him, trusting Him in humility.

How about you? Do you struggle with this? Do you feel like you’ve got a handle on it?


cure2Welcome to week 1 of Chapter 5 discussion of The Cure (disclosure) by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall. We are taking a sentence, paragraph, or passage that inspires, encourages, or challenges and writing about it. Once again, we’ll be taking 2 weeks per chapter as these are dense and thought-provoking words. If you have a response on your blog, head over to my friend and co-facilitator, Sarah Salter’s blog for her thoughts and the widget to add your post. Whether you’ve read the chapter or not, please dive into the conversation!

15 Comments

  1. Food for deep thought here. I’m trying to ponder how to answer your questions. I suppose I do struggle in this area, because I don’t trust people very easily. I’ve been hurt, disappointed, rejected. And you’re right, it hurts…a lot. I suppose the only thing that’s helped me in this area is that there was a period of time in my life when I made some very big mistakes, and I hurt people. I was the one who stood in desperate need of forgiveness. Let me tell you, when forgiveness was granted, by God and by the people whom I had hurt, I was humbled. Yes, forgiveness is a bloody mess, but I am so grateful for a Savior whose blood cleaned up my mess. I try to pass on His grace to others.

    Forgive us our debts, AS we forgive our debtors.

    GOD BLESS!

    (I was thinking about painful things that are good for us this week -- perhaps through an encounter with a beagle and some ear drops!!) 🙂
    Sharon recently posted..YET ANOTHER LESSON FROM A BEAGLEMy Profile

    • Yes, He cleaned up the mess we couldn’t clean up ourselves. We get opportunities over and over to be Christ-like and forgive, and as we do, we grow. It’s so hard at times! Grace is there to meet us. And can’t wait to read your post too. 🙂 Thank you, Sharon.

  2. Forgiveness is not easy but essential. While sometimes it is easier to do than at other times, I must forgive. God has granted me an ability to do that, for one, because I refuse to be someone’s slave.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..ExistenceMy Profile

    • Absolutely. I guess what God has been showing me lately is sometimes I forgive aspects or surface things, but He’s helping me dig in to the full ramifications and lay it all on Him--to forgive more deeply and fully. What a beautiful gift that is! Thank you, Bill.

  3. Forgiveness and grace are so difficult when we have been wronged or even feel as if we have been wronged.

    The thought I have been using to overcome this wrestling match lately is that even though it must have been difficult for Jesus having been wronged and abused by those he loved, he still uttered the words, “Father forgive them…” And it went beyond just the speaking. It took the form of total sacrifice so we may know His love for us.

    As difficult as it is for me to forgive someone (some harder than others), it in no way compares to the act of forgiveness Jesus lived out for me. Having been forgiven by Him, how can I refuse to forgive. Being loved by Him, how can I in turn not love.

    It’s HARD to forgive some. It’s hard to love them! But in Christ, I am finding the strength to deal with the unforgiveness I have held close for so long. In Him I am learning to forgive.

    • I’m learning too, Dusty. I’m just amazed how much I didn’t know was there. Kinda scary actually. He’s so gracious to deal with these things when we’re ready and can process it with Him. He wants the real experience for us, and that’s what we have to have. Thank you sir.

  4. As I read your post I thought of my Bible time this morning when Paul said that his “chains are in Christ” (phil 1:13b
    He was in prison because it was where God wanted him. So often we avoid pain, when it’s in “prison” that we not only grow closer to God, but we also have great opportunity to share His love and light with others.
    “prison” aka pain isn’t always easy to embrace, especially with joy, but through Christ (being focused on HIS kingdom and not our own) we are able to not only endure the pain, but to thrive in it. (must admit, I’m not there yet. I still like to run from it)

    • I don’t know--maybe there won’t be a time where we try to avoid the pain. Even Jesus went through intense prayer in the garden asking if the cup could be removed from Him. I can’t see that we’re ever supposed to go looking for it (not that you were saying that), but when it’s upon us, He can show us what He would have us do to grow from it instead of being stifled by it. So I think He designed us to recoil it from it in some ways, but He invites us back to trust Him. We get to trust that He turns the pain into glory. Good thoughts, TC! Thank you.

      • I like how you expounded upon my comment, Jason.

  5. “That doesn’t mean it’s easy to forgive, especially with people who should know better. It’s hard work and it’s painful to face, but burying it and pretending everything is fine is not what grace looks like.”

    Ow. Excuse me while I crawl away and whimper…

    Okay, seriously, it makes me wonder if maybe I’ve been telling myself for all of this time that I’m covering my wounds to protect other people’s feelings and sensibilities when really, I’m clinging to my pride and denying God’s grace.

    Yeah, I need to go whimper over this one for a while…
    Sarah Salter recently posted..Where’s That Darn Backspace Key…?My Profile

    • Sarah, I seem to be whimpering a lot myself lately. God’s dealing with a lot of stuff in me and I know it’s good and I can already see benefit, but it’s not so easy! Some things are so entrenched I don’t even realize they’re there until He shows it. I’m in this deep, I may as well trust Him. 🙂 Thanks so much, Sarah.

      • I was talking to a young woman earlier this week about how, at times, I’ve thought that I’ve made a lot of headway towards healing and becoming who God’s created me to be. But then, the closer I look, the more healed I get, the more healing I realize I need to do!

        And suddenly, “He’s Still Workin’ On Me” is going through my head… 🙂
        Sarah Salter recently posted..Where’s That Darn Backspace Key…?My Profile

        • Oh yeah! And I had forgotten about that song! 🙂

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