It’s become so easy to bemoan the imperfections of our lives, and especially our childhoods. I hate to be a Debbie downer, but when I watch some of the competition shows on tv these days, I think some of the contestants get voted through, not because of their talent or voice or skill, but because their story of pain and despair from their past. It seems that we’ve not only become more compassionate and empathetic for people’s pain, we’ve normalized shame and rejection and abandonment to the point that if you come from a healthy, two-parent, middle class family, you’re considered elitist or racist or not understanding. It’s crazy what satan will twist in his failed efforts to win people to his side and to turn them inward toward self.
God Has A Different Plan
Where satan uses the pain and shame of our past to cause us to focus on self in an attempt to overcome or overcompensate for the pain within us, God desires to turn our pain into our purpose. He turns our wounds into scars that become a reflection to others of what God has done in our lives.
Who better to have compassion for a woman who was molested as a child than a women who has experienced the transforming love and grace of Jesus to heal the shame of their similar experience in their childhood? Who better to comfort a teenager who was raised without a father than a young adult who has found comfort in a growing relationship with their heavenly Father after having been raised in a similar situation.
But for God to use our pain as a platform for our voice to others, we cannot continue to carry it as a badge of shame or a personal challenge to overcome in our own strength and determination. In both extremes, self-focus remains the result. In order for our story of past hurts and shame to truly bring hope to another individual, it must offer hope in a source greater than the person themselves. Otherwise, their self-will, self-determination, self-motivation, self-confidence, etc will become the source of their hope. Placing our hope in ourselves has never really had a very good success rate — not in Bible times, and certainly not in our world today.
Jesus Is Our Hope
There is hope that is pretty much like wishful thinking. Somewhat like rubbing a lucky rabbit’s foot. I hope-hope-hope that it will turn out the way I want or need it to. Conversely, there is another hope that is absolute, unfailing, and unconditional. A hope that is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent — the hope for all of mankind in all places at all times in all circumstances. That hope is Jesus Christ. It begins with a perspective that placing hope in myself is futile. That I’m not big enough or powerful enough or smart enough to bring healing to my own mind and heart. That is a job for which only Jesus is qualified!
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