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In his letters, Paul was very clear about one thing: No earthly suffering is too much if it leads to Heaven as the reward.
Heaven is our reward if God judges that we’ve earned it. Most Christians have lost sight of that. Instead of longing for Heaven, they do everything in their power to postpone death. They run to the doctor, they demand a cure, they beg for prayers so they won’t die. Why is that? (more…)
I’ve spent a lot of time around Christians over the past 20 years since my rebirth from atheism, and the one common feature I’ve noticed is how messed up most of them are. They are burdened by any number of problems, whether health problems, relationship problems, or financial problems. If they have children, their kids are (as my grandmother used to say) “holy terrors”; if they’re married, the marriage is on the rocks; if they have a house or car, they’re money pits always in need of repairs; and if they’re working, they hate their boss, their job, or both.
On the surface, though, everything is wine and roses. It’s as if Christians feel the need to project a sense that that they have it all together, even if behind the scenes they’re falling apart.
This is not the way to live your life on Earth or the way to get home to Heaven. Having no joy and no peace and stumbling from one crisis to another will lead you the opposite way of Heaven and make you very miserable along the way. I lived that kind of life as an atheist, and I see the same heaviness, joylessness, anxiety, confusion and PAIN that I felt as an unbeliever reflected in believers.
How can that be? How can people who claim to have faith in God and be followers of Jesus have lives that are so messed up and so full of pain? (more…)
There are some of you struggling right now with things that you know you need to do, but you don’t want to do. You’re looking for a way out, a way to get around those things, to avoid them, but you know in your heart of hearts that there is no avoiding them, and that you’ll have to deal with them head-on in order to get them over with.
Jesus felt the same way in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified. He didn’t want to have to deal with being physically tortured and then crucified. He really didn’t. In fact, he begged his dad (God) to find another way to reach the same end, but there was none. He had to suffer because that was what he’d signed up for, and that’s what the job called for. (more…)
People who are hurting hurt people.
Happy people don’t hurt people. Happy people want to help people, not hurt them.
We need to remember this when people are mean or rude or cruel to us.
Jesus said that it’s the sick who need help, not those who are well.
Scratch the surface of anyone who is mean or cruel or hurtful in any way, and you’ll find a painful festering sore below.
The greater the pain gets, the more people deflect it to other people and blame other people.
People who are in pain will growl and bite you if you get too close, the way animals will growl and bite you when you reach to help them.
People in pain need prayers, not curses. They need a gentle presence (from a safe distance, if necessary).
Those people who treat you like dirt – PRAY FOR THEM. Don’t tell them you’re praying for them, just PRAY FOR THEM.
And choose to forgive them.
Don’t dwell on their cruelty; dwell on how miserable they must be, not to know God’s love.
That’s a horrible cold dark wretched place to live, where God isn’t welcome.
We are blessed to know God’s love, to live in his brightness and joy and warmth. Each of us who is born again has enough of God’s love to share with all the world and still have love to spare, just like Jesus had enough loaves and fishes to feed the hungry masses and still have leftovers. Each of us has that much love – enough for every human in the world, and then some – if we let go of any lingering resentment, and let God love fully through us.
That’s your job, as a born-again, to love like God loves, to love like Jesus loved, fully and without reserve.
Only people who are hurting hurt people.
Don’t make their pain worse: help them.