What's the Answer?
January 13, 2021
We are likely pretty much in the same place. I have been reflecting over the last week in pain and a sense of disbelief. This has then caused me to reflect over the year and beyond. I’ve asked God and myself how and why are we where we are as a nation.
I believe it is because we live in a broken world, which means we are broken people. The behavior we saw displayed in our nation’s capital has been a long time building and coming. It escalated to a new level last week, but it cannot be laid at the feet of a single person, party, or anything like that. Of course the events that took place involved people who are culpable, but the state of our nation that developed the mindset and way of thinking and acting that made this possible and even likely, belongs to our population of broken, wounded, and angry people.
I believe God has been looking down and is experiencing what Matthew describes when He walked on earth:
When He saw the throngs, he was moved with pity and sympathy for them, because they were bewildered (harassed and distressed and dejected and helpless), like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:36-37 AMPC
I believe this easily describes the lack of laborers in His church today.
Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people whether it is physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. How we deal with the woundedness in our lives determines how we respond to life, see life, and relate to those in our lives.
Woundedness makes us self-absorbed. We find it hard to consider or think of anyone but ourselves. Our situation absorbs our attention and resources.
Wounds justify our behavior. We act in unconscionable ways, and we ask, “Who wouldn’t do that in my position?” We convince ourselves that any type of action is a justifiable response to what has hurt us.
What can we do? Henri Nouwen said, “Our lives are full of brokenness—broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives?”
When we realize that fractured people create fractures, we know we must address the problem of woundedness, starting with ourselves. Are we wounded or healed?
Let’s do a quick survey of a wounded person. See if you don’t recognize these symptoms in yourself, the people you struggle with, or the special interest groups around our nation.
- When a person is wounded, life becomes about them, their pain, their loss—on what they are lacking, etc.
- Their focus turns to “how I can get” and not on “what I can give.”
- The potential and great possibility is that the wounded person will then become demanding and full of expectations. This is a destructive direction because the irony is that the more we demand, the less we find our expectations being met.
So, then, a wounded person or a group of wounded people who find each other and unite under a cause they believe will help them even the score become increasingly self-centered and offended. They focus on all they are missing that everyone else is getting. They wake up in the morning and go to bed at night with an ever-increasing pile of evidence that life is unfair, and they always get the short end of the stick. They become short-tempered, demanding, bitter, and dominated by the past and the list of offenses against them. They rarely enjoy life. Instead they are waiting for life to happen for them. They live life as victims, dominated by fear, anger, and guilt, and they look for a “messiah” to fix it all.
Do you recognize yourself there? Anyone you know? How about groups in our culture? Of course you do. The answer is not for wounded and broken people to take revenge or somehow just get over it. Woundedness and brokenness must be healed.
What does a person who has been healed look like? That person or group is other-centered. They focus on what they can give. They ask the question, “What can I do to make life better for someone?” They operate in calmness and tolerance. Healed people understand that everyone has a past, and experiences that have made them who they are, and are willing to not angrily ask, “What’s wrong with you?” but actually work for relationships of understanding.
Healed people understand their own pasts and have found healing for the hurts, and they no longer blame. The past is settled. They enjoy the moment. The healed person doesn’t live in the past or the future. They enjoy the now. The future is hopeful. The healed person lives life as a proactive world changer. They are dominated by love.
How do they get there? The most reasonable and consistent answer is Jesus. This is what He came to do, and wherever people embrace the transformation He can bring, woundedness is healed, and the healing spreads to others.
Here’s our truth: We can either stay in our woundedness or we can let Jesus heal us and become part of the answer.