“You keep hurt at bay when say what you feel in a safe place. The repentant sinner receives love and healing.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 19, 2022
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. James 5:16, MSG
I just returned home from five days of adventure and life transformation with friends. Each of the thirteen men (ages 40-63), cautiously wrote three emotions he felt on anonymous cards. Gratitude, pain, hope. Fear, rejection, hurt. Blessed, peaceful, content. Worry, shame, guilt. Such were the emotions of men I would describe as mature followers of Christ. Over the next four days of outdoor experiences, followed by focused, vulnerable, pre-dinner discussions, we experienced laughter, lamenting and for most, healing. Trust rapidly took hold in the moment, as a safe environment served up relational authenticity. Spoken shared pain helped heal tender hearts.
James reminds the early church of the need for communal confession followed by individualized prayer. Unconfessed sin kept these otherwise sincere saints stuck in a malaise of hurt with only a glimmer of hope. Unresolved pain, especially relational hurt, is like a backpack of negative emotional bricks, weighing down and exhausting to the one who carries unnecessary burdens. James states a powerful idea reminding a nascent church of the healing power of a righteous person’s prayers aligned with the heart of a righteous God. Confession, forgiveness, prayer…bring healing!
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Have you kept quiet about your emotional pain for fear of rejection or misunderstanding? If so, lean into someone who loves you for who you are—a beloved child of your heavenly Father. Find a safe place to share how you were bruised by a friend. Confessional medicine protects your heart from being infected with resentment which can lead to bitterness and contempt for another. Anger simmering beneath the surface must be diffused by love before it explodes in a verbal outburst. You keep hurt at bay when you say what you feel. Sins confessed receive love and healing.
In this world of pain, shame will always lurk in the shadows of suffering—seeking ways to keep you from confessing the need for community and for God. But the spell of isolation is broken by the sweet sound of heaven singing…look to your eternal home. An eternal focus frees a tongue to lament, a heart to grieve and a soul to be comforted and healed. C.S. Lewis describes how God refreshes you along life’s journey of suffering, “The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast… Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” Shared pain brings healing.
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50).
Heavenly Father, give me the courage to say my pain out loud so I might experience your love and healing, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider this exercise as a small group of Jesus followers. Write on an index card three emotions each one feels and on the other side of the card write what “keeps you up at night.” And then read the cards out loud and discuss the heart behind the words and thoughts.
Zach Williams: To the Table
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