On Wednesday of this week, I had the opportunity to speak to our moms group on anything I wanted to talk about. I chose the topic of our past, and how it effects us in the here and now. The 3 books that I relied on as I prepared were: Making Peace with Your Past (Wright), The Wounded Heart (Allender), and Instruments in the Redeemers Hands (Tripp).
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Instruments:
“We aren’t just struggling with the horrors of our past, but with how we deal with them. If sin is part of our nature, we will always be dealing not only with our personal history, but with how sin distorts the way we handle it. Help will only come as we deal with our past and our own sin. This is essential because sinners tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against. This is why the only hope for us is a Redeemer. We cannot step out of our sinfulness. We need more than love and encouragement, information and insight. We need rescue. Anything less will not address what is really wrong with us.
“Sin complicates what is already complicated. Life in a fallen world is harder than God ever intended, yet our sin makes it worse. We deal with much more than suffering, disease, disappointment, and death. Our deepest problem is not experiential, biological, or relational; it is moral, and it alters everything. It distorts our identity, alters our perspective, derails our behavior, and kidnaps our hope.
“The good news of the kingdom of God is not freedom from hardship, suffering and loss. It is the news of a Redeemer who has come to rescue me from myself. His rescue produces change that fundamentally alters our response to these inescapable realities. The Redeemer turns rebels into disciples, fools into humble listeners. He makes cripples walk again.
He changes us, he allows us to be part of what he is doing in our own lives. As you respond to the Redeemer’s work in your life, you can learn to be an instrument in his hands.” That’s the goal in the Christian life, I believe—in the here and now—to be an instrument in the Redeemers hands. But the work that it takes to make us USEABLE instruments, can be hard work. And we simply get too comfortable with our own “sin” patterns, to want to give them up. (paraphrased)
These are my thoughts as I remember Dan Allender’s threefold process for healing your wounded heart:
We say, Jesus is the answer, and He is – but what does that looked like fleshed out?
How do we “put on Christ” – how do we unite with Christ in his suffering? How do we work out our salvation with fear and trembling?”
- Bold Love
Without Jesus, it is impossible to get truly honest. Our hearts will continue to deceive us.
Without Jesus, there is no one to repent to who has the power to cleanse our minds and hearts and souls. Without the conviction of the Holy Spirit, we will feel no need to repent.
Without Jesus, we will never figure out how to love others well.
So, with Jesus, what does this threefold process looked like?
Honesty, with Jesus: I think this looks like taking responsibility for the way we sinfully respond to adversity.
Sin destroys right-thinking.
Repentance, with Jesus: We go to him and confess and ask forgiveness for the way we sinfully respond.
Repentance is the most freeing act! We repent, He cleanses. He restores. We may still live with consequences in some measure – but he restores – he doesn’t want us living under the yolk of condemnation. Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”
The main consequence for not dealing with your past is this:
A stunted spiritual growth.
When we continue in this role of victim and blamer, – we can’t see past our noses. It doesn’t just stunt our spiritual growth – it stunts our emotional growth as well. You can possess all the knowledge in the world and still be incredibly UNWISE. Wisdom and smarts are 2 separate things, and without getting real with who you are and who Jesus is, wisdom will not happen. Wisdom comes from the Lord.
When we get honest and repent, we are met with bold love. We are met with mercy and grace and forgiveness.
You are learning “to respond differently not out of your strength and ability alone but through his power and presence. Jesus believes in your ability to accomplish a new way of interacting with others. He wants you to be a new person, to develop the potential God has endowed you with, and to be more effective for the cause of Christ.” [Wright]
“Wounds limit you. They diminish your capabilities. But they will heal if they are treated correctly.” [Wright]
Wounded people are overly sensitive.
“The gospel makes it possible to escape over-sensitivity, defensiveness, and the need to criticize others.” (Tim Keller)
The question to ask ourselves daily, as we are confronted with hardship and suffering and being sinned against is this:
Am I living in light of the gospel of Christ? When the answer is often no, its time to get honest, repent and love boldly.