Summary: Jesus carries wounds in heaven so that we can show his healing power on earth.

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“The Wounded Identity”

Larry D. Kettle

I have spent a lifetime grappling with a “wounded identity”. I know what it means to be victimized and I know what it means to “be the victim”. I was wounded by a sense of abandonment from my mother. I was seven when my father passed away and it left me with a sense of loneliness and insecurity. I was wounded by ridicule and humiliation from students on the school grounds. The physical abuse that I endured when I was eight and nine years old further solidified my wounded psyche.

At ten and eleven I was tasked with raising my younger sister while my mother escaped to her job. (I know that is not what she meant to do it is how I felt about it.) In my early teens I was sexually abused by someone close to me and ended up lonely, confused, angry and isolated. Furthermore, I was emotionally trapped by guilt. Anger was a sin, forgiveness was an absolute, and I could not be forgiven and be angry according to “my perception”. Hypocrisy was a way of escape but it was not a way of fulfillment. I hoped that I could “act” my way to personal reality. I hoped that I could “impress” my way into acceptance and popularity and bury the “wounded child”. The wounded child followed me into my adult life and continued to plague me with insecurity, over-sensitivity, and overwhelming guilt. The goals that I had set to prove my worth and value included getting married, becoming a Pastor, becoming a recording artist, and songwriter. The goals were met but the results were unsatisfactory.

The ways that I chose to deal with my issues were quite different from the way that others chose to deal with theirs. I tended to be aggressive in trying to win the recognition and approval of others. I wanted to prove to others that I was valuable and that I was not what “others were thinking of me”. The thing I didn’t understand is that people were not necessarily thinking more or less; the fact is they weren’t really thinking about me at all. My attempts to make myself feel better usually had the opposite affect. I would try to fix what I perceived to be “someone else’s false perception”, and then I would find myself in the middle of a real mess. As a grade-schooler I thought of myself as a “little sissy” and a “momma’s boy”. My brother told me that was the case and he usually would prove it to me by hitting me in the arm or giving me an “Indian burn”. He usually succeeded in bringing me to tears. I set out one day to prove to my self and to my class that I was not a momma’s boy. I ended up picking a fight with a classmate who I thought I could whip. I threw a few punches at him and he ran away crying. My classmates that came with me didn’t cheer for me as I had imagined. They turned away in disgust and now I had two problems. I thought of myself as a momma’s boy and they thought of me as a “bully”. The truth was that I had a wounded identity. I was defensive, insecure, and obnoxious. I used to think that I was the only one who had these kinds of problems.

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