I have an idea that many people today are walking around with a wounded spirit. What am I talking about? I’m referring to those individuals who have been badly hurt by experiences in life, from which they have big difficulties overcoming.
Maybe that’s you today. We all carry some kind of internal wound or scar, and some have deep emotional wounds. Maybe you’ve been rejected by a family member and never found resolution. It’s not sensible to ignore how you feel, for you are an emotional being, and emotional hurts can take a long time to heal—it can be a long process.
Emotional Wounds Hurt the Most
Physical wounds usually come from without and are easy to understand and cope with, but there are no simple bandages for a wounded spirit. Wounds to the spirit are sudden blows, and most of the time we don’t see them coming, for they usually come from those whom we love and trust the most. And that is what is so disturbing about this.
A broken arm or leg is obvious—a broken heart is not easily seen. A bruise is an inner hurt or injury, and we ask, Where did this come from? Why do I react like this? It can be serious. One writer describes it as “the impairment of our past [that] can bridle our present and detour our future”. No wonder the writer of Proverbs in the Old Testament says, “The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?” (Proverbs 18:14).
You can’t bury emotional pain or try to forget all about it—but it will come to the surface eventually. I guess that’s why we tend to forget the bad and only remember the good. I’m sure no-one wants to stay in this hurtful place. Instead we look for help, and getting professional help is always a good thing, indeed sometimes essential.
Hurtful Words can be Devastating
You can sometimes feel violated by others, by negative words, events, actions—it’s a reaction that knocks you down and you just can’t get up again. Each day is a nightmare, and it seems you can’t heal yourself. Negative, critical words are a common assault—someone says something so nasty and horrible that you feel devastated, and the words have penetrated into your spirit.
Marriages can, and often do, be destroyed by critical words spoken between a husband and wife. How often have we seen that happen! I don’t think we realise how harmful our words can be. And gossip is another harmful action. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:8, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts”.
I feel it’s important to remember our limitations. Sometimes we try to do everything and get stuck somewhere, trying to please everybody. We are not perfect. We do want to be loved and respected by everyone, but the reality is others will hurt us. Even betray us. That is a deep wound and a very hurtful thing to work through, a betrayal of confidence.
Jesus Experienced all our Pains
To be betrayed actually means to disclose a secret or confidence treacherously; to break a promise, to be disloyal to a person’s trust. In the Old Testament, when the children of Benjamin and Judah went looking for David in the wilderness, one of the questions he asked them was this: ”If you are coming as friends to fight for me, then stay and join us. But if you try to turn me over to my enemies, God will punish you because I’ve done nothing wrong” (1 Chronicles 12:16-17). King David personally knew the power and destructive nature of betrayal, and he guarded against it as much as possible. Don’t inflict pain in the lives of your friends—keep confidences and be loyal.
Jesus knows and understands all that you are going through. He understands how you can be wounded by rejection because many rejected him and his own disciples abandoned him in the time of his greatest need. He knew the tears of pain and sorrow as he grieved for his friend Lazarus. He understood how it felt to be misunderstood because his own mother and brothers did not understand him, and even declared that he was mad. He was also wounded and hurt by the same people that he ministered to and gave his life for.
Someone has said: “God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears. Suffering does not come our way for no reason. He seems especially efficient at using what we endure to mould our character. If we are willing to allow him into our lives, he takes our bumps and bruises, and shapes them into something beautiful”.