We live in a broken world deeply impacted by the power of sin. Man’s rebellion against God has brought chaos and destruction into the world that has touched the lives of every person on the planet.
Talk to anyone around you and if you talk long enough you will hear a story that caused that person pain. Each of us carry wounds deep in our souls that affect the way we view the world around us.
The wounds that we carry are invisible barriers to spiritual growth. These wounds hinder us from being everything God created us to be. Many go about life not realizing the impact wounds from the past have in their lives.
How Wounds Affect Us
I am sure that I don’t need to tell you the various ways pain can enter your life. I’m sure, if you wanted to, you could give me a long list of the wounds you have received over the years. The exact details of how we were wounded may vary, but the pain that impacts us is similar.
I want to list some of the various types of events that can cause brokenness in our lives and then talk about how these wounds can affect us. For example:
- You are five years old, your mom and dad argue, he walks out the door never to return.
- Your best friend betrays you and tells your deepest, darkest secret to all who will listen.
- You grow up in a home with an abusive alcoholic parent.
- You are sexually abused or raped.
- You are constantly made fun of by those around you. You are the focal point for every joke.
- You put everything you had into a business adventure and it failed.
- Your mom said, “I wish you were never born.”
- Your husband leaves you for another woman. Your wife leaves you for another man.
- Someone is spreading vicious, ugly rumors about you that others believe to be true.
- A drunk driver causes an accident that kills one or more family members.
The list could go on and on, but you get the point. There are so many events in our lives that can cause us pain and heartache. Let’s look at an example of how these tragic events cause pain and influence our lives.
[This story is told through the eyes of an adult looking back on an event in the past. It represents many of the stories I have heard over years of ministry]
Hi, I’m Laura, I am five years old. I love playing in my room with my dolls. I love to mother them and care for their every need. We were having a tea party. As I start pouring tea for my guests, I hear my father start screaming in the other room.
Immediately fear grips my heart and mind. My stomach tightens up. I begin to shake. I want everything to go well between mom and dad. Tears start flowing down my cheeks.
I want the arguing to stop, but it doesn’t. Their voices just keep getting louder and louder.
I cover my ears with my hands to block out the arguing. “Please stop. Please stop,” I say over and over.
Even though I know what is coming, my body jerks when I hear the sharp crack of my father slapping my mother and the dull thud of her body hitting the floor.
I run into the living room and see my mother lying on the floor weeping. My father is standing over her shaking with rage. I see a suitcase by the door.
I say, “Don’t hit mommy any more daddy. I’ll be good,“
He turns to me in rage. He is so angry that I almost pass out. He screams at me, “Get back in your room now,”
I know that look, so filled with hatred and disgust. As I turn to leave the room he turns, grabs his suitcase, and storms out the door.
I never see him again, but he still haunts me. I will never forget the look in his eyes the day he left.
Some form of Laura’s story is experienced every day. The events may change, but the results are the same. A little girl filled with pain because of the choice someone else makes.
So many of the things that affect our lives are caused by the people we love. Laura’s dad should have loved her and protected her. Instead he was abusive and walked out of her life. These kind of actions cause a lot of heartache in a little girl’s life.
Heartache is a good word to describe the way we are feeling. These events cause pain that we carry around with us. Some have described this pain with words like, “It felt like he stabbed me in the heart.”
Emotional pain is every bit as real as physical pain. It hurts. It hurts bad.
So let’s look at some of ways pain entered Laura’s heart.
God’s plan for the family is to be a place of safety and nurture. Her father was to be her protector and provider. His love was to provide a sense of worth, security, and confidence in Laura. But that all changed the day he walked out the door.
Laura’s first feelings were fear. “Where is he going?” When will he come back?” Then her mom told her he would not be coming back. Pain entered her heart as she thought, “If my dad loved me he would never have left.”
She felt the insecurity of being abandoned. She felt unloved and uncared for. She cried a lot and started clinging to her mother like glue. She wondered if she was going to leave her too.
Through Guilt and Self-Condemnation
Laura thought through the days before her father left. She remember that he had yelled at her quite a bit during that time. He would say things like, “You’re such a brat. You’ll never learn to listen.” “I don’t know why we ever decided to have kids. Life would be so much easier without you.”
It was then that Laura understood (incorrectly) that it was her fault that her dad left. If only she would have been better and listened and been obedient, her dad would not have left. She took all the responsibility for her father’s actions and another level of pain entered her heart.
Not only did she have to deal with her father being gone, but it was all her fault that he left.
It did not take her long to come to the conclusion that the reason her father could not love her was because she was unlovable. No matter how hard she had tired, her father left.
Then she started thinking about some of the fights she had with her friend. She remember the words she said, “You’re not my friend any more. I don’t like you any more. Suzie, is my friend now.”
The more she thought about it the more she knew that she was unlovable. No one could ever love her and her pain deepened.
Knowing she was unlovable, Laura turned more and more inward. She started looking at every part of her life trying to determine why she was so unlovely.
She remembered the words her father had said, “You’re such a brat. You’ll never learn to listen.” I can never do anything right, she thought. What’s wrong with me? What can’t I do things the right way?
In addition, she had thought, If I was only as beautiful as Suzie or smart like Jonie, then I would be lovable. The more she looked at herself the less she liked herself. It was all her fault nobody loved her. She was defective.
She began to loathe who she was. The pain deepened further still.
As you can see one act can impact a lot of wrong thinking. Next time we will look at the problem with pain.
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