Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
My pastor has been speaking about wounded Christians and how our churches are full of them. He himself went through trauma in his upbringing in a home that went to church but was not healthy. Later in his ministry years, he experienced some horrendous treatment by ministry colleagues that wounded him. I can relate to that kind of woundedness. My own journey has been rocky with the betrayal of close friendships, ministry partners, and church relationships that went sour.
Many of you are probably thinking, yeah, that’s life … you are right, that’s life. Nowhere does God promise us clear sailing in this world because there will be storms, disappointments, betrayals, unfairness, and depression. All of this is the result of the sinfulness of mankind, and it will leave scars and wounds. How we handle these maladies in life is the key to not carrying around the wounds that keep us stuck in moving forward.
Recently, I had a young Christian leader give testimony how her small group is a perfect example of the woundedness I am referring to. She said week after week the participants come and vomit up all the wounds in their lives, but nothing ever changes. There is no growth to help them overcome, the pain is never addressed, and they do not seek help in getting past their woundedness. It is this kind of unhealthiness that keeps people off balance, and they, in turn, infect others with their pain and refusal to get past it. Wounded people will use race, gender, social inequality, and so on, to affect others with their pain.
This is what the world does … it gets wounded and destroys everything in its way because of its woundedness. Many teenagers in our city have been wounded in the way they have been raised. Their disappointments in life have turned into wounds that evolve into behavior that kills others, highjacks cars, and distributes hatred wherever they go. Have the systems in society failed them? Yes, to some degree. Human systems will always fail. If we start with the basic system in society … the family … it fails all the time.
I think this is the first wound children grow up with … the failure of the family structure. Divorce, absentee fathers, poverty, alcoholism, drugs, and immorality all create wounds in the family members. Divorce created a father absence in my life that affects me to this day. In my adult life, my own divorce created this same kind of woundedness to some of my family members. Nothing is safe from the world around us, or for that matter, in us. But wounds do not have to define who we are or what we do in life. In fact, wounds can be healing too. I have a scar on my right hand that reminds me that hot grease is dangerous and caution should be used when cooking with it. It is a wound that brings into focus a lesson of learning and growing and creates a desire to do things differently in the future. All my woundedness I have to treat in the same manner, by asking the hard questions:
How much of this woundedness controls my life?
What were the lessons learned from this wound that I can turn into a positive in my life?
Who controls this woundedness … me or God?
What can I do to release this wound and renew my mind in grace, forgiveness, and restoration?
Hard questions no doubt, but they are the questions that need to be asked if we are going to get beyond the wound.
Wounded Christianity is kind of an oxymoron when you think about who is in control of your life. My pastor talks about people using their wound as their identity and it becomes who they are. That is where the line is drawn that crosses over from dealing with woundedness or choosing to become the victim of it. Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, our inadequacies, and our woundedness. He was wounded to the point of death to free us from all the infractions of sin. When we refuse to let His woundedness cover ours we are allowing our wound to control and diminish who we are and what we could be in God.
I don’t want to sound like all wounds in my life have been totally eradicated, but they are under His control. Some wounds are living lessons of how not to behave considering how we have been treated. You don’t want to repeat what was done to you in toxic environments and pass that on in the same way to your relationships today. Learn from what sin does and prepare your heart and mind differently in the Lord. The Apostle Paul tells you to ‘renew your mind’ and don't allow the unhealthy wound to dominate you, but grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. People who have been wounded have a great opportunity to change the world. Why? They know what kind of behavior is toxic, and they will work hard to avoid repeating it throughout their lives. Use your experiences with pain to point others away from what keeps people stuck in life.
It’s time to renew your mind in how to use your woundedness as a lesson in righteousness. It’s time to turn your woundedness into a positive influence in our world. God loves the opportunity to bring you into a healed, whole being, but He must be asked. It’s time to ask.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler