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)…
We can’t see what is going on inside of someone else, but we can look for signs.
-What are some signs that we can look for in those around us indicating that they may be hurting? (discussion)
Here are a few examples:
-lashing out at those around them
-avoiding contact with others
-avoiding eye contact
-short, curt answers to questions you ask them about how things are going for them
-distant look in their eyes
-change in behavior (different than their usual)
-signs of self-harm (usually hidden)
-look of despondency
-unusual need for attention
-a look of disconnect, indicating they are preoccupied or in their own little world
-a blank, lost stare
-crying or signs of recent crying
These hurting people get enough darts thrown at them from people they meet every day. They don’t need judgment, they don’t need criticism, and they don’t even need cheery pep talks. The hurts I am talking about go deeper beneath the surface… much deeper. Kicking someone when they are down may be a fun sport for some, but it is cruel and heartless. God calls us to “be holy, as I (God) am holy.” We are to be the one to help put salve on the wounds of the hurting and to help them get out of harms way. Jesus said He came to “bind up the brokenhearted” and that is what we should be doing. If you are not a believer in Christ, or do not a follower of Jesus, then you are exempt from the things I am saying we need to do. Trying to practice the morality of Jesus, without accepting the rest of His work (namely His death on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins, to put us back in right-standing with God the Father) is pointless and basically impossible. In our humanity, our compassion is limited. We are selfish and egocentric at our core. Most things we do “out of the goodness of our heart” are limited at best, and self-serving at worst. It is only when we allow the love of Christ to reign in our regenerated hearts, that we can begin to truly see those around us the way God sees them; broken but fixable, soiled yet beautiful, downcast yet of much value, discarded and rejected by people yet incredibly loved by their Heavenly Father.
Now that we have talked a little about people around us who are hurting, let’s talk about the one’s that are confused.
…But before we continue, I want to bring out a concept that I think is important: Truth vs. Lie.
Every statement, idea, thought, etc. falls under one of the two categories: “truth” or “lie”. Many people believe all truth is relative. Not so. There is absolute truth and then there are lies. When we are aware of a truth and we believe it, we give substance to it. That is the essence of faith. A good example is when Peter walked on the water on the lake. Jesus told him to walk out to Him on the water. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. How did that happen? First Jesus spoke the truth (that Peter could walk on the water), then Peter believed that truth. The result? Peter walked on the water. But then, Peter noticed the wind and waves and realized that it shouldn’t be possible for him to walk on the water; in other words, he didn’t believe this particular truth (that he could walk on the water) anymore. The result? Peter could now NOT walk on the water. There are two aspects to this story, two opposing ideas. The first idea was truth (Peter could walk on the water). By believing this idea, it became a reality, and as a result he walked on the water. The second idea was the lie (nobody can walk on water). By believing this idea, it became a reality, and as a result he sank in the water. If you believe a truth, you breathe life into it and it becomes reality. Conversely, if you believe a lie, you breathe life into it and it becomes reality. This is a spiritual/material law that God put into place in the beginning. Jesus demonstrated it over and over in his healing ministry when He told people “your faith has healed you”. Their healing was a combination of the truth (Jesus could heal) and the person believing that truth. So really, God offered them a truth (God heals people), and in turn, the person believes His truth. The power and the gift (this truth about healing) are from God, while the believing (faith) is from the person. This truth (God heals people), alone doesn’t get people healed. You can hear this idea and never get healed. It is only when you believe this truth that healing occurs. Please don’t misunderstand; this doesn’t mean you can have anything you believe. For example, if you believe you will win millions of dollars in the lottery, that will not happen as a result of your believing. Why? Because it (you will win millions in the lottery) is not a truth. Then what is a truth? Truths can be found in God’s word, the bible. God has made us a lot of promises (truths), usually conditional, that can become reality in our lives if we simply believe them. On the flip side, Satan has many “promises” of his own. They are called lies. Often similar rules of belief apply to “lies” as well as they do to “truths”. For example: Satan puts a thought, a lie, in your mind that says, “you are worthless and will never amount to anything”. At first, you may not believe it, but over time you end up believing this lie. The result? You act like you are worthless, which leads to other people view you and treat you as worthless. The more they do this, the more you believe it. It is a dangerous and vicious cycle. It is only by recognizing a lie and abandoning your belief in that lie, can begin to end the cycle. The next step is to embrace the truth (God created you special and loves you more than you can comprehend) and believe it. This can break the cycle. We try to break free of the things that enslave us such as: low self-worth, addiction, depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, confusion, anxiety, fear and other cruel psychological torments. In actuality, it is only through the power and love of God that we can break free of our prisons of inner darkness.
Confusion is not from God, but from the enemy. Confusion is designed to keep us from the truth. Jesus said “your will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Satan wants to keep you as far from the truth as he can. He is scared that you will discover his lies and embrace God’s truth. If that happens it is “game over” for Satan! So if people are confused they are, simply put, under an attack from the enemy. Many of them have believed lies that the enemy has drilled into their heads.
-What are some lies that the devil tells people? (discussion)
-there is no God
-nobody cares about you
-you are worthless
-you are a lost cause
-you are a waste of space and you are using up valuable oxygen
-you are ugly
-you are stupid
-God doesn’t love you (He actually hates you for the things you have done)
-you can’t change because you were born that way
Sometimes the hurting people and the confused people are one in the same. Sometimes they are mean and hateful. Sometimes they are quiet and seem to be invisible. Sometimes they are yelling and cussing at you. Sometimes they are purposely burying their face in their smartphone to avoid human contact. They are everywhere you look! To use an expression an old college friend of mine used to use, “You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one of them!” Jesus never had to look far. Jesus didn’t advertise on the TV or radio and he didn’t put up flyers or post on social media where He was heading, but oddly, the people always seemed to find Him. He could hardly every get away from the crowds even when He needed to. When we begin to catch on to Jesus’ style of ministry, I believe people will start finding us as well. Everything Jesus did pointed people to His Father. When we begin to minister to people the way He did, we will be able to point them to our heavenly father as well. And the great thing is that there is not a need we have that He can’t meet!
-Interesting Trivia – Here are the top “auto-fills” when typing certain terms into Google:
-if you type in “prayers”, the top auto-fills are: of illumination, for peace, of thanksgiving, for children
-if you type in “prayers for”, the top auto-fills are: peace, children, the sick, and healing
-if you type in “why doesn’t God”, the top auto-fills are: show himself, answer my prayers, love me, destroy Satan
-if you type in “why didn’t God”, the top auto-fills are: just kill Satan, create us perfect, help me, heal Paul
-if you type in “I’m mad at God because”, the top auto-fills are: I’m single, He hates me, He first loved me
-if you type in “God doesn’t love me because”, the top auto-fills are: I’m gay.
-if you type in “God doesn’t love me”, the top ARTICLE is:
-If God knows I’m hurting, why doesn’t He help me?
Here is a letter that I ran across online. I think as Christians we need to pay careful attention to this letter and learn from it:
“I wish I could say that I believe in Jesus Christ, that He loves me and cares, but I no longer believe that. From a mother who is vicious and has wrecked my adoptive family to the death of my adoptive brother, I no longer believe. I even find myself wondering if God really exists. I look around at all the Christians who say that they help people who don’t know how to ask for it, but they have not even noticed my pain. If God loved or cared for me, He’d at least help, wouldn’t He? But no help has come! Why? God doesn’t love me! —Anna”