Skip to main content

For those that experience pain

"He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;
he was despised
and we considered him insignificant."
Isaiah 53:3

Loneliness by Hans Thoma

As a mental health provider, I am also acquainted with illness and with individuals that experience pain.

There are those that suffer with mental health challenges.  
And those that love someone suffering with a mental health challenge.

There are those that have been abused.
And those that abuse others.  Often because they were also once abused.

There are those that sit alone on the side of the street.
And those that walk right by.

There are those that are alone and hopeless in their illness.
And those that suffer along with them.

There are those that we hide our face from.  
We don't answer the phone when they call.  
Or the door when they stop by.  
We offer them a polite smile...but none of our time.  

They're too needy.
Too annoying.
Too broken.
Too ill.

We consider them insignificant.

Now, I'll stop here and say that I'm not too big on theology and doctrine and having all of the answers to the why and how and why-nots of suffering.  
We suffer.  God allows it.  
No, I don't understand why.  No, I don't pretend to.

But then there is Jesus.
And He has shown us that God also suffers.  Deeply.
He knows our suffering.  He weeps.  He screams.  He dies.
He knows illness.  He knows abuse.  He knows neglect.  He knows trauma.
He knows loneliness.  He knows need.
He felt abandoned.  He felt despised.  

In mental health, research is showing that some of the best evidence-based support is "peer-support."
The people that offer the most help and hope are those with "lived experience."  
--those that have walked in our shoes, along our roads, and have known our pain.

I guess research is showing that God knows exactly what we need.  I guess He's pretty smart.
He knows we need a peer.
We need a God that experiences pain.


Popular posts from this blog

To those who said it wasn't abuse

It wasn't abuse, you said.
He was out of his head
crying and yelling and throwing
himself down kicking
tantrums over little things like
the tightness of a shoe
the color of a plastic cup he wanted
red we gave him blue.
The VHS player wouldn't play,
the certain condition of a day
it was raining or sunny or dry
you said you were just parenting him
getting him in line to mind
building character, you said.

It wasn't abuse, they said.
Just parenting.  A child of unruly sorts
he doesn't look us in the eye he's
disrespectful.  Doesn't tuck in his shirts
unkempt.  Doesn't sit still during prayer
sinful and ungodly a preacher's kid
you know how they are well,
not my kid.

So he would be taught respect
and godliness through discipline
a scriptural concept he would
Honor His Father he would
want to, want to, obey.
and his mother would
Honor His Father by shutting up
and covering up the little
legs slashed and bloodied
welts and bruises and broken
kitchen utensils …

What it means when a narcissistic pastor says, "I love the church"

I ran across this article while going through a rough place in my life.  It had profound meaning for me in dealing with some of the individuals in my life that have narcissistic traits. The article highlights the fact that when a narcissist says, “I love you,” he really means that he loves the way that you (fill in the blank): take care of his needs, focus your energy on him, submit, etc. Individuals that have been in relationships with narcissists often admit to feeling crazy, not recognizing the abuse while it was occurring, and to keeping secrets to cover for his abuse, infidelity, etc.  I wonder if this is what many people are recognizing in the #exevangelical movement.  Because as I was going through this article again, I began to realize that many of the narcissistic traits could be applied to the many pastors and men in church leadership that I have known through the years. Being in church ministry for twelve years, I became proficient at silence and lies to cover the behavior…

To "speak the truth in love" does not mean "reprimand"

"...speaking the truth in love..." Ephesians 4:15
Notice the "dot, dot, dot," before and after that phrase?  But how many times have you heard it as a full sentence?  Speak the Truth in love.  As a full sentence, it loses all context.  And how often is this phrase used as an excuse to reprimand another "in love" and tell them about their multitude of sins?
The New Living Translation has a completely different take on this phrase.  It states, "we will hold to the truth in love."  Now, that changes it a bit, doesn't it?  That makes the action about me and not about me acting on another.  
In context, Ephesians 4 is talking about the Body of Christ and how we must work to grow up and mature in the Lord.  "Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe..."  The work is for each of us to grow up and cling to the Lord's love.  
And what Truth are we clinging to?  It is the truth that we are d…