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Friday
Apr012011

Everybody Hurts Everybody - That is the Human Condition

The above title comes from a movie scene in which the man is trying to convince his girlfriend that she does not need to worry about the pain she has caused others to feel…because, after all, that’s just what people do – they hurt one another!

Hopefully, you reacted strongly when you saw the title to this blog post.  The Biblical model of being a Christ follower involves living in relationship with one another….not being the cause of another’s pain.   As you think about living in relationship, particularly with one who is hurting, what does that look like?  If you have a broken arm, that injury is obvious to all you meet, in the grocery store, in your office, at church.  But, if you have a broken heart, not so much!  And yet the pain from a broken heart may far surpass the pain of a broken bone.  The surgeon who sets your bone is an expert, and you need his expertise in order to make sure the healing process is uncomplicated and complete.  It is an amazing gift of God’s grace that the kind of expertise needed for the broken heart comes from those God has placed in our lives whose skill set includes love, availability, listening and just simply being a fellow journeyer willing to travel with us.

Part of God’s redemption of the pain in our own life is the privilege He gives us to journey alongside another in their pain and suffering.  That means as a fellow journeyer we are responsible to; not responsible for.  It does NOT mean that we jump into the quick sand with them and become responsible for their situation, for their life, for their crisis.  God allows us to kind of be the Shepherd’s assistant.  He is the One who makes the sheep lie down in green pastures; He leads beside still waters; He is the restorer of one’s soul.  However, He exhorts us to participate in Galatians 6:5 –

Gently restore the one who is caught in sin.  What does it look like to help in the restoration process?  Think with me about a very old book that needs to be restored – picture it in your mind’s eye.  The binding may be torn; the cover may have begun to separate from the pages.  The one who restores books uses the appropriate materials, the proper lighting and a gentle touch to restore the book to the place where it can be salvaged, used, read and kept for generations to come.  If we carry our analogy forward to the life of the one who needs to be restored, we need to recognize the damage that has been done to the life.  We are reminded and instructed to ‘carry each other’s burdens;’ to shine Jesus’ light on the wounded, recognizing that the wounded need help – the burden cannot be lifted alone and is at least a two-man job!  To understand their burden, we must be willing to take time to listen to their story.  Since grief takes as long as it takes, being available to listen is often inconvenient.  If we carry our analogy forward to the life of the one who needs to be restored, we first need to understand the damage that has been done to the life.  We need to gather appropriate materials: Does that person need a support network to be drawn around him/her?  Need prayer support?  Need a small group?  We need to recognize that sin is sin – not being judgmental or critical – but being helpful to that one in pain.  We need to be able to bring the ‘proper lighting’ into their life – to help them focus on Jesus, the Light of the World – the Author and Perfecter of our faith. 

You may not be the perfect one to care – in fact, you probably won’t be – but God will be at work within you, seeking to do His will.  Be available; be open; be teachable; just be – and let God do!

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