Since our exile from the garden, we seemingly have a limitless capacity for visiting abuse, oppression, and destruction, upon one another. In this respect, we are as much the walking wounded refugees of the fall, as we are its perpetrators. It is also psychologically demonstrable that the harm we exact on each other is often fostered in the harm done to us working its way through us – it is a perpetuated cycle of dysfunction and sin.
Some might assume themselves unscathed by this dynamic – but chances are they’ve not looked close enough inside of their own default settings, to discover the layers of hurt and brokenness they’ve experienced . . . and are now passing along, unbeknownst. Which is why a humble and honest inventory is required to unlock those doors where we keep the most broken places of our heart . . . and even then, sometimes those rooms are so dark, we need to trust someone to go there with us.
There is great power found in allowing yourself to name aloud the things that have held you captive for so long. But with this newly discovered freedom comes the responsibility of stewardship – to be an agent of grace and hope to others without trying to fix them . . . which is an art form that takes a while to master. I say this because it is possible to break the chains of the cycle of hurt, while creating a new avenue of dysfunction and sin — this often occurs when we’ve allowed the damage done to us . . . to define us.
There’s a peculiar seduction that often accompanies having been wounded deeply that attempts to justify the harmful experience by allowing it to become a predominate feature of your identity, as if everything about you were stuck in that experience from then on. This isn’t to say that life changing experiences shouldn’t be life changing – but when they become a dead end cul-de-sac that your life can’t move beyond . . . it is because, on some level, you’ve chosen to keep it that way.
Now, this might strike you as an unsympathetic assessment, but I assure you, allowing someone to drown in their own victimhood isn’t loving – it’s codependent. For it is precisely because someone has suffered such great pain and sorrow that they need to find hope beyond the darkness attempting to deceive them into believing – this is where they belong.
I have no spiritual platitude to offer, no plastic Jesus bromide – all I know is that there are deeper and more wonderful truths about who you really are, that go far beyond the tragic realities of your past. And maybe you’re afraid to ask God why he allowed such evil to occur – don’t be. God can take it! I don’t know that he’ll answer all of your questions – likely he won’t. But he knows where you hurt and the deep longings of your heart – he is the lover of your soul and the redeemer of all things. And though it may not feel like it –you are his beloved. He has given you a unique story to tell . . . and it can still have a happy ending.
. . . and sometimes you gotta set it all aside and come on up to the house.