Going through life we inevitably get wounded. Sometimes that wounding comes from strangers who?s motives are unclear, and sometimes that wounding comes from the people we love the most. There are times when no one, in particular, hurts us, but life kicks us (repeatedly) when we?re down.
We go through life carrying wounds and trying our best to live whole lives despite them. Occasionally we end up spilling our wounds onto other people. Bleeding on them, and sharing in our resentment. This sometimes causes us to wound others, and unintentionally we cripple those who are closest to us.
We know that it is God?s desire for us to live whole and healed lives (Hebrews10:1), and that is why it is important to recognize our need for healing.
Surrendering to God: The action on not taking an action.
In 1 Peter 2:24, and in Isiah 53:5 we read that Jesus bore our imperfections on the cross. That in the moment of his death we were healed from our wounds by his own wounding on the cross.
So often we are told that our emotional bruising builds character. ?What doesn?t kill you makes you stronger? is an often-quoted platitude. But what about all the times it doesn?t?
As a kid I loved going to the beach, I loved playing in the sand, and boogie boarding in the waves. But sometimes the water was stronger than I was, or I would mistime jumping in on a wave and I?d get stuck under the current being beaten up by wave after wave, saltwater up my nose and scratches on my legs from shells and sand. This didn?t make me stronger, in fact, it just made me discouraged. Sure, I learned to time the waves better, but nature is something you can?t always time, and there were always times I?d end back up under the waves again.
A better saying might be ?What doesn?t kill you changes your attitude.? How have we let our wounding, our disappointments, our mistakes change our attitudes?
The name of the pool is said to be derived from the Hebrew and/or Aramaic language. Beth hesda (??? ???/????), which means House of mercy/grace. In both Hebrew and Aramaic the word hesda could also mean “shame, disgrace”.
In Hebrew tradition being sick, or an invalid made you unclean. (Numbers 5:2, most of the book of Leviticus) This may be why the pool of Bethesda had its dual meaning. The house of disgrace or the house of grace. As we see from the man who sat beside the pool for 38 years outlook is everything. Jesus asks him do you want to be healed, and the man responds ?I can?t do it by myself?. How long did this man suffer anger, resentment, and disgrace because he wasn?t able to get to the pool for healing? While I?m sure he often thought about how he wished the others wouldn?t be able to make it into the pool when he responded to Jesus he didn?t lash out, he simply stated the facts.
This man was seeking healing according to a miracle established under the old covenant, while he waited the new covenant (Jesus) walked up to him and healed him. The old covenant requires action for healing, the new covenant requires that we receive an action already taken on our behalf. We have been made clean through Jesus? death on the cross, we have been healed by Jesus? wounding.
If you?re holding on to an old covenant way of healing you?re holding your self accountable to old covenant standards of cleanliness regarding your health.
Holding on to your hurts may be what is causing you to feel like an outcast.
Know who you are and commanding your healing
It?s hard not to hold on to our own hurts and wounding when we feel like we see them in our daily lives over and over again. I know I?ve asked God over and over again ?How do I live as if I?m already healed if bad things keep happening to me!? Do you expect me to live in denial??
The short answer is, No, he doesn?t want you to live in denial.
The long answer is that he wants you to walk in the fullness of him. As trite as it may sound every answer to every question I?ve ever asked God has always surmounted to knowing who I am in the fullness of God.
Jesus is in absolute awe at the belief of this man. A man who understood the power of command, and the power of God so completely. We are like this Roman official, we have been given dominion over the earth (Gen 1: 26, 28, Romans 8:17) and as co-heirs with Christ, we?ve been given the power to prophesy and decree in his name. (John 14:12, Acts 2:17-18, 1 Corinthians 14:1-5, I could go on and on) So like the Roman official we should be able to say ?Sickness, leave my body? and because of the authority God has given us it MUST leave.
Jesus understood how to pull on the resources that enabled him to do the work of his father. Our role as Christians is to learn how to do the same. Every person is different, and I?ve given lots of scriptures that define our role as coheirs with Christ, but we must submit to the Holy Spirit to know how best it is for us to act in these roles.
Check your perspective: Is this something I need to be healed from or learn from?
Following the Holy Spirit doesn?t mean simply doing this the way you learned in Sunday school, in your parent?s house, or even in seminary, it means tuning out everything and listening for the truth of God in all our human noise.
I once saw a painting from an artist who had survived a suicide attempt, the painting was of a man with a hole in his chest and he was sewing the hole shut with threads coming off of his own body. The title of the painting was called ?The common thread in all of my bad relationships is me?. In an interview about the painting, he was asked about the sad tone of this painting, and the artist looked absolutely shocked that anyone would think that was sad. He said
?I stepped out in front of a bus because I thought that was the only way I could free myself from all of the bad situations I?d gotten into with people. That was my only resort to get their grip off of me, but in recovery, I realized I was the one that put me in those situations, and I don?t save people by taking my self out of the equation, I only hurt them more. I have to heal me because I?m the common thread.?
When I heard this I was so moved.
Wounding takes many different forms and sometimes we have to think about what we?re being healed from. Am I sick in body or am I sick in spirit?
When we think about healing we think a lot about physical sickness, I?ve heard many times ?If you repent God will heal you of your (insert disease here).? This goes double for mental illness. I want to be clear that God doesn?t punish our sins with sickness or mental illness. We live in a world designed by God to operate according to the laws of nature, and thanks to the fall those laws include germs, cells going bad, brain chemistry being out of balance, and car accidents (gravity and physics). Paul tells us all Christians experience hardships (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) but this doesn?t mean God punishes us through sickness it just means that life can be hard.
To be sick in your spirit is different than being sick in your mind. Jesus himself was even sick in his spirt. (Mathew 26:38) This is where a perspective check comes into play. Do I need to be healed from my situation or do I need to learn to rise above my situation?
Just like the artist, I told you about, you may be the common thread in all of your disfunction. You may have suffered real wounding long ago but instead of allowing your self to heal naturally through the years you?ve torn yourself open (emotionally) in every new situation so that people can see how badly you were hurt. If this sounds like you stop, and ask God ?How can I learn to be whole in you?? Recognize your behaviors and recognize your heart with the promptings of the Holy Spirit and align your heart and your behaviors with the heart of God.
God is love and sometimes learning the love of God is learning t love your self. Learning to love your self may mean that you don?t always get to be right, but you do get to be whole.
You can watch the entire Thursday (Jan 16, 2020) service on Facebook live.