During this past month, several people have shared stories with me about their pains, struggles and unimaginable grief. Too often, people try to face difficult life issues alone and in silence. For much of my, life I tried that too. It didn’t work well. It was a bad idea. Through this ministry, I try to convey the dangers of silence. Your personal response to today’s message could possibly save your life or the life of someone else. Please make time to read it.
I know I have written over and over about the dangers of silence, but recent events beckon me to do so again.
Allow me to share a true story. I became aware of this story in 2012. A young 5-year-old boy was sexually abused by his neighbor. The neighbor was a family man with a nice job. He was a scout leader and a neighborhood representative. In just 20 minutes, this little boy’s life was scarred forever. The neighbor was convicted of his crime. The boy received professional counseling. In time, all seemed fine. The incident seemed to fade away and it was no longer discussed. He seemed well-adjusted and was a good student and athlete and was loved by those who knew him.
On the outside he looked fine. Then, out of nowhere, this young man took his life. Looking back his mother asks this question:
“How could I mend a wound I could not see?”
Let’s face it, we all have “our issues.” Struggles and pains can be thrust upon us from the outside, or we can cause them ourselves through our sins. We all have personality quirks, sinful behaviors, and constantly recurring bad habits. Burying these problems, hiding them from others, and trying to fight the fight alone is a really bad idea.
Thank God that most of our struggles don’t result in physical death, but fought in silence, they can slowly lead to our spiritual death. If you are hurting in any way, as you read this, please reach out to someone.
I struggled for over 40 years in silence with pains and sins brought about, in part, from having been sexually molested as a young boy. In a strange dichotomy, God used the silence of an eight-day silent retreat to call me out of my silent struggle. Fighting alone and in silence never worked well for me. Has it ever worked well for you?
Following that retreat I did two things. I revealed the broken areas of my life to my family and friends and sought help from a professional. I also responded to God’s call by forming this ministry to help others.
Now I try to reach people across the country and around the world through these 4thdayletters and in person through talks and retreats that are founded on the following key points.
- God’ mercy and forgiveness are undeserved and gratuitously given.
- We are all broken by sin, and many of us are wounded by this broken world. We all have struggles.
- Too often, we hide our hurts, pains, struggles and brokenness behind false masks as we try to convince others that we are fine.
- God knows about our struggles and sins and loves us despite them.
- Jesus calls us, even in our brokenness, to lead others to Him, so that they too can experience His healing love and forgiveness.
- We are called to live life in Christian community.
- We must present ourselves honestly and sincerely, struggles and all.
- WE MUST NEVER KEEP SILENT ABOUT OUR INNER STRUGGLES!
If you are struggling alone in silence, you are more likely to keep struggling. When we share honestly with a close friend about our struggles, our friendships grow stronger. As we begin to see each other as we really are, struggling Christians, we will most certainly experience Christ is each other.
In Ezekiel 37:4-10, God brought dead bones to life. If God can do that, He can bring healing to our wounds. Please break your silence! Tell someone you trust about your secrets. Tell them your struggles. Admit your brokenness. When you are honest, you give them permission to also be honest with you.
Keep in mind that when someone confides in you, that is not the time to judge them, preach to them, or try to fix them. It is the time listen intently and LOVE THEM!
Never forget the mother’s words. “How could I mend a wound I could not see?”
DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE ANYMORE!
If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk with, please feel free to reach out to me. You can click here to write to me. I care!
Dear Heavenly Father I need your help. I harbor deep pains and sinfulness that I am embarrassed to share with others. Bring people into my life that I can trust and give me the courage to be open about the things in my life that keep me from a more joyous relationship with you. I ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, amen!
As always, I love to read your comments below as well as hear from you personally by clicking here.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars
On December 6-8, 2019, I will be leading a 3 day Advent Retreat. Catholics as well as non-Catholics are welcome to attend. Fr. Ed Sheridan will join us to celebrate Catholic mass and Reconciliation will be available. Author Joseph Galloway will be giving a talk about his book The Broken Door and will be signing books. The retreat is being held at the Catholic Conference Center in Hickory, NC. It’s beautiful! I hope you can join us. Click this link to sign up.