Summary: This is the sixth sermon in this series from the 23rd Psalm that deals with stress in our lives. How to Deal with Pain.
How to Deal With Pain
Today we are continuing our series from the 23 Psalm called Stress Busters. We will be looking today at how to handle hurts. Because we live in a fallen world we get hurt. We get hurt physically by accidents and disease. We get hurt emotionally by other people. Relationships can bring the greatest joy in our lives but at the same time they can bring the greatest pain. People hurt us sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes accidentally, and sometimes on purpose. Psalm 23 verse 5 says:
"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over." Psalms 23:5 (NKJV)
How do you handle your hurts? Many times we handle hurts in the wrong manner. Today I want to talk about five WRONG ways to handle hurt and then I’ll talk about three RIGHT ways to handle hurt.
I. FIVE WRONG WAYS TO HANDLE HURT
1. IGNORE IT
This is the macho man approach to pain. Just suck it up. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Hope that it will go away. There are several ways we do this:
A. Deny it – That didn’t hurt me. I’m not mad.
B. Delay it – I’ll deal with that later. I don’t get mad I get even.
C. Minimize it – It’s no big deal. It didn’t hurt so bad.
Ignoring your hurt never heals it. You’ve heard it said, “Time heals all wounds” – but sometimes time makes the infection grow worse. Denying it, delaying it, minimizing it turns minor problems into major ones. Wounds get infected and spread when they aren’t dealt with. Look at what Psalm 39 says about trying to ignore hurt.
"I was mute with silence, I held my peace even from good; And my sorrow was stirred up." Psalms 39:2 (NKJV)
Ignoring our hurt does not work – it makes it worse.
2. RUN FROM IT
This is the Mr. Chicken approach to dealing with hurt. Escape. Retreat. Run as fast as you can. This is human nature. When we feel pain we run. Look at what Psalm 55 says:
“If only I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and find rest. How far away I would flee; I would stay in the wilderness. I would hurry to my shelter from the raging wind and the storm.” Psalms 55:6-8 (HCSB)
When people hurt they run. People run to: television, movies, drugs, shopping, divorce, alcohol, sex, food wherever we can use to find relief. But when we return the problem is still there. Running doesn’t solve it.
3. HIDE IT
Many of us are good at doing this. We wear a mask. We don’t tell anyone we hurt. We are quite good at camouflaging our pain. When someone asks if we are OK we say that everything is fine. We don’t like to admit that someone has hurt our feelings. If we admit that we are hurt we open ourselves up to more hurt – so we hide it.
Revealing your feelings is the beginning of healing.
The Bible says:
"Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed." James 5:16 (HCSB)
WORD OF CAUTION HERE: I don’t think this verse is talking about public confession. I think it is speaking about confessing to another Christian you trust. Find someone that you trust and they trust you. Keep confidentiality. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. Lift up one another. It takes mature Christians to care for one another.
Everybody has a hurt. You’re not alone. You’re not even the only one with the hurt you got. Share your hurt in a place that is safe and you will begin healing.
4. WORRY OVER IT
Sometimes we hover over our hurt like a mother hen hovers over her chicks. Worry is an attempt to control the uncontrollable. There are things in your life that you can not change. You are not God – so why try to be? Worry is playing the pain over and over again in your life. Here is what God’s word tells us to set our minds on.
"Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Did you notice that Colossians even tells why we should set on mind on heavenly things: For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. If Christ is really in charge – why should I worry?
Worry never solves problems. It never heals hurts. The more you worry about it the bigger it seems.
5. BECOME BITTER ABOUT IT
Bitterness never makes you better. Yet sometimes when people hurt us we become bitter. We get angry and clothe ourselves in self pity. But bitterness hurts you more then it hurts the person you are bitter against. Bitterness is self destructive behavior. Bitter is a poison that will kill you.