Reflections on the Ugly

Yesterday I posted some of the texts we received on Sunday.  We were overwhelmed by both the NUMBER of texts and the INTENSITY of the texts.  See the post below for further explanation.

My first reaction to people’s very difficult circumstances is compassion.  My strong prayer is that healing comes and wholeness is restored — by the only one who has the power to make us whole, Christ himself.  Having said that, let me reflect on how God might use some of these very difficult circumstances…

1.  Take Time.  If the wound is fresh, even Jesus says that it takes TIME to gain perspective…”later you will understand”.  God doesn’t waste experiences, but there is usually a season between your hurt and how God might leverage that hurt to help someone else.  But it doesn’t have to be complete healing…waiting for the perfect time will paralyze you into doing nothing.

2.  Heal First.  This is tricky because I think there is a “sense” to this.  You don’t have to be completely healed from your ugly experience to help someone else, but if you have not yet made some progress in processing it, you should focus on getting there first.  God’s grace is essential for this.  There is an old phrase that says “Hurt people hurt people.”  If your ugly experience has produced a hard heart, you are likely to perpetuate the hurt instead of helping someone else.

IMPORTANT COMMERCIAL — If you are trying to heal…you should totally be part of our Celebrate Recovery program on Monday nights.  It is a safe place to work through your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.

3.  Most often, I’ve seen God use people as “Wounded Healers”.  This phrase suggests that your wound is not gone…you can still relate to the pain of the experience you had.  And, it suggests that if you put yourself in a position to help others who are experiencing what you did in the past (or better yet, to keep others from experiencing what you did in the past) — that it could help both them and you.

4.  You can be better or bitter.  I’m not minimizing what you have gone through, but God gives all of us choices in how to respond.  We either grow through it — a hard, but powerful road that is full of grace.  Or we get stuck in a downward spiral that eats us alive and produces darkness in our lives.  It’s not easy..and you can’t do it alone…but ultimately this is our choice in how we respond. 

5.  Let God use your story.  The most powerful helps come out of the most powerful hurts.  Sometimes my favorite thing to do is CONNECT people.  The lady who went through a troubling divorce 10 years ago and struggled as a single mom, but navigated through it…She is the best resource in the world for the lady whose husband just left her.  The former drug addict who has found God’s grace and peace…He is the best person for the one who continually returns to the “escape” of drugs. 

On Sunday, I had a 35 year old woman come up to me.  She was a teenage mom.  She was scared at the time.  She’s been through a lot.  Now?  She is doing the training at the Women’s Center of NWI to counsel other teens in crisis pregnancy.

Maybe your story doesn’t line up that directly, but God can use it.  And it is precisely BECAUSE of your hurt, that you have two resources that I don’t have.  You have the power of EMPATHY.  The ability to truly relate to the situation someone finds himself in.  You felt those feelings.  You walked that road.  Which means you also have the power of CREDIBILITY.  It’s not just that you can relate…it’s that people will really listen to you.  It doesn’t have to be dramatic, but give them a quick look at your scars and you now have a voice in their story.

A voice that could make all the difference for them.

~ by Greg Lee on October 30, 2009.

One Response to “Reflections on the Ugly”

  1. Greg: What an inciteful blog. You are so right on with your point on how each of us who have lived through a negative, life altering event can be “used by God to change the lives” of those who may be experiencing those same issues.

    Also I loved BITTER OR BETTER. What a great way to express the two alternatives we have to any life changing event we may face.

    Thank you for sharing. Bill

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