Whole books have been written on this. Millions of songs have been inspired by it, even creating a whole genre of music called the “Blues” (although poetic expressions of sorrow have been around since the dawn of time.)
(By the way, the title of this post isn’t meant to be a negative reflection on relationships, although it has frequently happened when relationships turn sour. These next posts are about how good relationships can help.)
Suffering is a subject way too complex to come up with simplistic answers to the huge questions it raises, especially for those who are going through it right now.
But if we don't discuss the problem of pain or learn from our painful experiences, we are setting ourselves up for failure and even worse pain further down the track.
Even more so if we haven’t experienced much and the inevitable seasons of suffering come upon us.
I'm still in the school of learning myself regarding these things too, so I pray that I handle this topic sensitively but honestly.
I know that there are many people who have experienced more pain than I have (and probably ever will) but I have experienced enough to have some compassion for those who are going through it.
I wish -- how I wish! -- that I could solve all your problems with this one blog-post, but it ain't gonna happen. Sorry about that! But life is too big for one person to get a complete handle on it.
However, I’d like to share a few thoughts from my observations and experiences which might help -- maybe generate some fruitful discussions. Any comments below are very welcome.
This may stir up some painful memories for some, but hiding it or ignoring it only make it worse. Any physical pain in our bodies must be acknowledged before the real condition that causes it can be treated. It's no different in the realm of our soul (mind, will and emotions.) If it's too personal for a public forum like this, MCF is here to help you with supportive groups or one on one support.
Our church’s mission is not an exclusive club, but as a hospital for hurting people, run by people who are finding healing from our own hurts.
We don't have all the answers to every problem, but we have discovered that a personal relationship with God and a trustworthy, compassionate, supportive community can make a huge difference, often finding healing in the process.
That's one of the main reasons I attend MCF. We don't want to judge you as many religious people would, but rather we want to go with you through your journey to find healing.
So contact us if you need further help.
But before we can start any self-diagnosis, let alone specific treatments, we need to understand some major underlying principles and influences that contribute to our problems. These are some that I’ve discovered:
- We live in a fallen, imperfect world. I'm convinced that nature, the whole universe, is tied up in the present state and the destiny of humanity. The apostle Paul noted this.
We all know the principle of reaping what we sow. Why should we be surprised if we see an increasing number of natural disasters, diseases, wars etc?
- We seem to be living in a culture of blame-shifting. We make bad choices, and when the natural consequences come, or society takes just vengeance on us we blame it on bad parenting or others hurting us, influence of friends or family etc. Yes compassion should be shown for our own pain, but I’ve noticed that we will never truly be rid of it until we take responsibility for our own actions.
- We were made in the image of God, but that image has degenerated because of humanity's choice to turn our back on God. We are a blend of the greatest Good and the greatest Evil.
Optimistic humanists will tell you that we are our own gods, but even a cursory glance at history and our record as “gods” definitely belies this. True, we all have that divine spark within us, and when that surfaces, we almost deify the result. (And it should be honoured, at least.)
Yet when the darker side shows and others suffer for it, we laugh or shrug it off, or even worse, we hail that person as “a survivor” or "highly evolved.".
I’ve become disillusioned with the Hollywood image of humanity as a super-race rising to godlike status all by itself. If we take an honest look at the human race over the years where there hasn’t been any divine intervention, we get worse, not better.
This results in the suffering of millions from our selfish self-centredness, often taken to cruel extremes.
One example of this divine intervention vs human self-destruction is England around the time of the French Revolution and the “Reign of Terror”. Many historians are convinced that the same madness would have spread to England’s shores, except for one powerful factor: The Wesleyan Revival.
But that’s enough of the philosophical/historical aspect of it for the moment.
Next time I’d like to discuss the healing of that pain a bit more