For those in my Growthpoint class, I am posting my notes here (randysthoughts.wordpress.com).
BROKEN HEARTS, BROKEN LIVES and BROKEN PEOPLE
(Reaching out to the desperate and hurting, the way Jesus intended)…
Let’s start out this week by looking at a couple of verses about loving each other:
[1John 4:19-21 NIV] 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
[1John 3:16-18 NLT] 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Hurting and Confused People:
-Most of us are carrying around hurts. Most of us in this room can easily cover up the fact that we have hurts, as a matter of fact, it is almost a requirement of being a church member. This way of thinking needs to change.
-VIDEO: Masks (2:52) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJRvQIZDmOw
-I was given an article to read a couple of weeks ago, dated May 6, 2017. It grabbed my attention immediately. The top of the article read, “Twice as many children have thoughts about suicide and self-harm as 10 years ago, study says.” I was shocked and deeply saddened at that statement. Ten years is just a blip in time. Think about it, even if the percentage of children that have these thoughts was only 2% ten years ago, then it would now be 4%. Ten years from now it would be 8%. In another ten years it would be 16%. That would be followed 32%, then 64%, then theoretically 100%. That means that it would reach 100% in just fifty years! Now I know that in reality it won’t reach 100% in fifty years, but it should send off alarms in our heads and our hearts. When I was growing up it was nearly unheard of that children would have these sorts of thoughts. So what has changed? I could fill a book with my opinions on that, but that is not the point I want to make here. My point is that, regardless of what things were like “back in the day” (whether that be 50 years or 5 years for you), we are living in a new time and the old rules and norms are out the window. If we pretend things haven’t changed, then we are leaving broken, hurting people out in the cold, with no hope.
Here are a few sobering statistics from NAMI:
-suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S (and 90% of those have an underlying mental illness)
-suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for people 10-24 years of age
-suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people 15-24 years of age
-suicide takes the life of 18-22 veterans each day
-depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
-10.2 million adults in America have co-occurring mental health and addictive disorders
-1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness
-1/2 of chronic mental illness begins by age 14; 3/4 by age 24
-21.4% of youth aged 13-18 experience a sever mental disorder at some point; for ages 8-15, the estimate is 13%
-1.1% of adults live with schizophrenia
-6.9% of adults had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past year
-18.1% of adults experience an anxiety disorder such as PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias
But the thing is, the broken and hurting were the very kind of people that Jesus was constantly reaching out to. At one point He said that He had not come for the healthy but for those who were sick. Jesus gave them hope, and healing. When Jesus touched someone’s life, there life was never the same again. Can anyone of us say that we have touched someone’s life so profoundly that they are no longer the same? I believe that, as humans, we do not have the ability to do that. But wait, there is SOMETHING we can do… Although we don’t have this power of change within us, we can introduce others to the One who DOES have that power. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means that He can still help and heal the broken and hurting people that we run into everyday! “But what does that have to do with me?” you ask. The answer is that it is our right, our privilege, our joy, to introduce Jesus to these people and let them know what He can do for them and how He can do it.
So “what does this Jesus have to offer the broken?” you may be asking. I’m glad you asked! When most Christians think about what Jesus does for people today, many think only of getting people to heaven and avoiding hell. If that’s your best answer, then you are really missing out. Heaven and salvation is just the beginning. Actually, that is more of the a peripheral benefit. The main benefit is to have a real, true, close relationship with our heavenly Father, God, and His son Jesus. Every other benefit is an extension of this. Other things that Jesus can do for us today include: peace, joy, healing (both physical and mental), deliverance, to name a few. So why haven’t we been spreading the word to those hurting, broken people who desperately need to hear it? We have great news for them; news about how Jesus can pull them up out of the dark pit they are in. He can take their baggage they have been carrying for years. He wants to show them how beautiful and valuable they are in His eyes. He loves them so deeply and they don’t even know it! If Jesus has done any of these things for me (and He has), then I need to let other people in on the secret. Freely I have received, now freely I should give.
Jesus has done so much for me in my life, and I have seen Him do a lot in other people’s lives as well, and I can tell you this, “there is no better feeling than seeing Jesus set someone free.” The only way that is going to happen is if I, if we, introduce them to the life-transforming Jesus. I have personally seen Jesus set people free, completely free, from severe depression, PTSD, cutting, self-loathing thoughts, addictions, anxiety, fear and other things. He can deliver those suffering from these dark torments in a powerful and complete way. It is important that we get the word out. Seeing people suffer from such things breaks our Heavenly Father’s heart. His heart is heavy when He sees the ones He loves hurting and tormented. He wants them to be set free. Free to live in peace and joy; free to pursue a relationship with Him. That is why I am so passionate about helping people get set free and healed by the Jesus that has helped me and has set me free.
-Some people (usually outside of the walls of the church building, but not always…) are carrying around way more hurts than you or I are, and it shows. Have you ever heard the expression, “hurting people hurt people?” Think about that for a minute. Let it sink in. These people didn’t ask to be hurt by parents, teachers, relatives, friends or society… but it happened. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have escaped the abuse, the rejection, or the soul-crushing attacks of others, have never even had a glimpse of the nightmare that is simply “normal life” for them. These people have been so badly hurt that they, in turn, hurt others, and we, the “holy” church people just look at them and wonder why they can’t just get their act together and look and act like the rest of us… the way God intended!
If you were to see a dog on the side of the road that was laying there bleeding and hurt, having been hit by a passing car, you might stop your car and get out to help the poor, injured dog. If the dog growls and snaps at you when you reach down to pick it up, or if he bites you when you accidentally hurt his broken leg as you are picking him up, how do you react? Do you drop the dog on the ground, in anger and scream at him, “You stupid dog! What in the world is the matter with you! I was just trying to help you and you turn on me like that! I guess you don’t want my help then. You can just lay there and bleed to death for all I care! That’s what I get for trying to be a good person and help. Next time I see an injured animal on the roadside I’ll just drive right on past, because I don’t need this grief. It’s not like I don’t have my own problems. If I help anyone it will be someone who really appreciates it!
That reaction to the dog doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows that an injured animal will lash out at anyone that comes near it. You can’t blame the dog, he is only doing what comes natural for him. In reality, we would probably get a blanket, some leather gloves or whatever it took to get that dog picked up and placed into the car where we could then get him to the veterinary hospital for help.
Now let’s change our story from a dog with a physical injury from being hit by a car, to a person with emotional and psychological injuries from people who have hit and run. What are the similarities? Have you across anyone like this? How did you react to them? How should you have reacted to them? Are they of more value in God’s eyes than a dog? We HAVE to change the way we look at the world!