One of the things that we have yet to figure out as human beings is how we go about dealing with pain in a way that doesn’t cause ourselves additional harm. We are very flawed mortal beings, and that makes pain very difficult to deal with. We have a limited lifespan. Physical, emotional and mental pains leave scars on us. Most of us believe our existence here is very important. Important to our neighbors, friends, family, and even to God’s plan.
Dealing with Pain Damages Relationships
When someone hurts us, they make it more difficult for us to do what we believe is our responsibility to do. If someone breaks your leg in a car accident, that is going to significantly impact your ability to work and support yourself and your family if you have one to support.
Consequences of Pain
When the consequences of dealing with pain become clear to us, this can create a lot of even more challenging feelings to deal with. You will likely have some anger or sadness. Maybe you wish this thing had never happened to you. It’s possible you wonder why God would allow this to happen to you. Pain can shake our faith in each other and in God.
When someone hurts you, it is easy to resent them, to avoid a relationship with them, and to put it on them to fix. You might sometimes just completely disown them as a friend, family member, or spouse. You might do things in response to hurt them back, because you never want them to hurt you again. It is possible that you see retaliation as an acceptable deterrent; like when your parent tells you to punch the bully in the nose.
Retaliation is not Healing
Dealing with pain by retaliation or avoidance doesn’t provide healing. When we get cut, bruised, or someone breaks our nose, our bodies immediately start a healing process. This healing process is biological and is intended to allow us to survive some pretty unfortunate injuries living on Earth. If you punch that bully in the nose, you might feel some level of satisfaction from what you’ve done, but this act will not heal the wounds from what happened to you. This act doesn’t address why the bully was attacking you in the first place, and now not only does he have a problem there, you gave him another.
Most of us feel guilt after retaliating, and there is a really good reason for that. You aren’t supposed to do it. Dealing with pain requires that we address the root cause of that pain. It is important that we don’t just distract ourselves with our emotions. We must start the process of dealing with pain in a spiritually healthy way.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Starting the Healing Process
First, our healing process must start with God. We must ask Jesus how to move on from what happened to us. Additionally, we should study the Word of God and listen to what God is telling us. It is important to really listen and to be patient. We are intentionally a very stubborn people. This quality was provided to us so we can keep going in tough situations, and to persist through adversity. It also provided us the ability to not listen to or hear the truth, to not grow, to not learn, to not listen to God.
Our healing has to start with God, but the second step is identifying what we are feeling and what caused those feelings. The healing process would be very challenging biologically if your brain didn’t know what happened, right? If your immune system didn’t know where an infection was, or what the infection was, it would be challenging to recover from. Our immune system has to figure out what the problem is, and then work toward repairing the issue. If unable to figure out what the infection is, and without outside help (God, Pastor, Church Community) it is possible you could die from that infection.
Let Go of Painful Experiences
Holding on to the things that have happened to us is an infection of our spirit. It defiles our holiness as members of the body of Christ. You can always let go, but you need to understand what it is that you are holding on to. You need to understand the events that happened, so you can take steps to repair the damage.
Think of it like this:
You are wearing a velcro vest. Every time you get hurt, a pain filled cloth ball lands on your vest somewhere. Often these cloth balls are hard to find, and hard to reach. If you want them gone, you might need a little help spotting where they are. You may even need help pulling them off once you found them.
The reason we resist this is because reliving what happened often introduces additional pain. We don’t usually like pain, so we put off dealing with the problem until everything requires a whole lot more intervention to fix or worse, it becomes unfixable.
12 “This is what the Lord says:
“‘Your wound is incurable,
your injury beyond healing.
There is no one to plead your cause,
no remedy for your sore,
no healing for you.
All your allies have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy would
and punished you as would the cruel,
because your guilt is so great
and your sins so many.
Why do you cry out over your wound,
your pain that has no cure?
Because of your great guilt and many sins
I have done these things to you.
“‘But all who devour you will be devoured;
all your enemies will go into exile.
Those who plunder you will be plundered;
all who make spoil of you I will despoil.
But I will restore you to health
and heal your wounds,’
declares the Lord,
‘because you are called an outcast,
Zion for whom no one cares.’
Dealing with Those Responsible
After dealing with the pyou have to deal with who put that cloth ball on you. As Christians it is our responsibility to deal with that person from a place of love. Harboring ill-will, pain, or other negative feelings is not a demonstration of our love for each other. It is the opposite, a demonstration of a lack of love. Be clear about how they hurt you, how you feel, and that you aren’t telling them because you want to hurt them or punish them. Be clear that you are telling them because you love them and you want to heal the harm that was done to you and your relationship with them.
Sometimes the other person might not be willing to meet with you alone to deal with the situation, bring a prominent figure in the church that both of you trust to discuss things together. Sometimes the other person will not respond well, maybe they don’t listen at all. If they are completely unwilling, they will have to deal with the consequences of that decision alone. Your next option is to talk to someone else you trust with a strong biblical knowledge. Tell them everything that happened and how you are feeling, and allow them to be that healing mechanism that you need. Then let go of the negative feelings toward that person. Forgive them for what they did; one day you might find them willing to mend the relationship because you demonstrate love instead of a lack of love.
2 Timothy 3: 16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Start dealing with pain in a healthy way and cure your Christian spirit of the infections that develop as a result of that pain. Stop holding on to that pain filled cloth ball. Find the cloth ball and deal with its existence. Figure out how it got there, pull it off, and drop it.