Every human being carries with them the scars of life. We are all sinners, and we have likely all been wounded in some way by this broken world. Sadly, we tend to bury our sins and wounds deep inside where they can begin to fester. God wants to heal our wounds. He also wants to work through us, to heal the wounds of others. Find out how. Please read more…
Today is the eighth part of our nine-part series. Earlier in the series, I invited you to participate in a purple paper exercise. If you have not yet done this, please take a moment to do so now. This message will have a bigger impact if you do.
On side one, write down any way in which you have been wounded by life. On side two, write down your most frequently recurring sin, the one that seems impossible to avoid.
Thus far, we have learned that God is calling us to have an outward focused life. God has called us to grow His Kingdom by helping others and by bringing them into a closer relationship with Christ. If we are fixated on our own sins and pains, we begin to live an inwardly focused life, and that is not what we are called to.
Think about this…..everyone reading this article has a purple paper. Your pastor has one. All of the ministry leaders at your church have one. If you are married, your spouse has one. Your parents have or had one. If you have children, they each have one. All of your friends and coworkers have one. Every single person, whether they write these things down on a purple paper or not, has wounds and recurring sins. Contained on each person’s purple paper are some well-guarded secrets. Essentially, we are all living in virtual “SEA OF PURPLE.”
In 2011, God spoke to my heart while I was on a silent retreat and told me, “Brian if you want to be healed you have to tell someone you are broken.” Even though God gave me this revelation, I did not run right out and do it. After nearly a year, I still had not revealed my wounds and brokenness to anyone. Shame still had its grip on me. Then, I believe a miracle took place.
Do you remember the story from last week about the three men in the car? What I didn’t tell you then is that I was one of those men. I was the one who asked “Have you guys ever wanted to talk about something but just couldn’t find the right words to say?”
Thankfully, my friend was a very good encourager. My friend cared enough about me to essentially pull my “purple paper” out of me. For the first time in my life, I shared the well-kept secrets on my purple paper. Don’t miss this point. I only did so after someone helped me to make it known. Even God’s own words weren’t enough to get me to open up. Therefore, God worked through my friend to reach me where I was hurting.
If I did not immediately respond to God’s direct prompting, it’s not likely that you would run out and share what’s on your purple paper even if I ask you to. The good news is there is a better solution, and I promise you it works.
God wants us to commit our life to helping others reveal the brokenness and wounds that are written down on their purple paper. If you do for others what my friend did for me, in time, God will place you in the right time and place so that someone else can help you reveal your wounds and brokenness. This is what it means to live an outward focused life. This is how we build up the Kingdom of God.
Friends, “It’s hard to heal wounds you cannot see!” You and I are called to bring the good news of Jesus to hurting and wounded people. Others are called to do the same thing for us. But, as long as we all hide behind our masks, none of us find healing and recovery.
I encourage you to try this experiment. Ask anyone this question, “How are you today?” They will very likely respond by saying, “I’m fine.” I can tell you from experience that, “I am fine,” is almost never a true statement.
After they say, “I’m fine,” follow up with this question in your most caring voice, “No, how are you, I really care?” Be prepared for the real answer. You will not hear “I am fine,” to your second question.
People will respond with a myriad of things like, “Well my spouse is sick,” or they might say, “My child recently had some problems,” or possibly, “We just put my mother-in-law in a nursing home.” They might even tell you something like, “I just entered into an alcohol recovery program,” or “I just lost my job,” or “I was just diagnosed with cancer.” The one answer you will not get, when you truly let them know you care is, “I am fine.”
Everyone has a purple paper, even if they don’t acknowledge it. When we give someone permission to come out from behind their mask and we make it safe to share, God just might work a miracle in that person’s life. Then their healing can begin. Are you ready to allow God to work through you to break someone’s chains?
John 15:13 states, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Laying down our life for others means living an outward focused life.
In time, if we make this a way of life, one day when someone tells us about their wounds and pains, and we discover that their struggle is similar to ours, we can use this opportunity to remove our own mask and reveal our own purple paper. Then, together, we can both begin to heal. This requires trust, but don’t trust me, trust God.
Heavenly Father, all around me every day, people are lost and hurting. Too often, I am so focused on my own issues, that I fail to see their pain. Like me, they hide it well. Send your Holy Spirit to give me the words that allows the healing power of your Son Jesus, to reach others in need. Amen!
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Time is running out to win a free book. Many of you have already submitted your suggestions. I am writing a yearly devotional book. I am in the process of selecting 52 of the past 4th Day Letters, one for each week of the year. Each one will be presented in the book with a series of questions to reflect on for a week. I am asking for your input. Please write to me and tell me what your favorite 4th Day Letters are. I will randomly draw the names of ten people who respond, and they will receive a FREE copy of the book as soon as it is published. Entries must be received no later than May 28, 2021. The ten winners will be announced on June 1, 2021.