Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
3-7 Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For he gives us comfort in our trials so that we in turn may be able to give the same sort of strong sympathy to others in theirs. Indeed, experience shows that the more we share Christ’s suffering the more we are able to give of his encouragement. This means that if we experience trouble we can pass on to you comfort and spiritual help; for if we ourselves have been comforted we know how to encourage you to endure patiently the same sort of troubles that we have ourselves endured. We are quite confident that if you have to suffer troubles as we have done, then, like us, you will find the comfort and encouragement of God. (JBP)
It is quite natural to think that if only we could get out of the stormy circumstances we are in we might be of more use to God and others. If only we could get on top of things we could better help others get on top of things. Or for those of us in paid Christian leadership, if only I didn’t struggle so much I could minister so much more effectively.
Such thinking is mistaken. As Paul reminds us, those who can best help others are those who know what it is like to need help themselves. We are all wounded healers. Our own wounds enable us to experience the help of Jesus and this in turn better enables us to point others to such help.
If you want to learn to fix a lawnmower, sail a boat, or bandage a cut, you best learn from those who have done those things themselves. If you want someone to help you through a crisis it is best to get it from those who have had a crisis or two. Such people will not just offer you theory and clichés. And if we are seeking to help others, it is so hard to do so if we have lived in some pious bubble free of doubt or fear or adversity.
Deep woundedness need not be a barrier to ministering to others. In fact it might well be a prerequisite. It enables us to offer more than mere words or bible-text bandaids. Someone whose heart has been broken may well be the one to heal another’s broken heart.
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