I am frequently asked why I began writing 4thdayletters and what Broken Door Ministries is all about. I hope today’s email will answer those questions; and in addition, I hope today’s email will be the impetus for a discussion that sparks healing.
Recently, a very good friend of mine shared a link to an internet video with me. The true story contained in this video was told from a mother and father’s perspective as they recounted the events of their son’s life.
The little boy was age 5 in 1979 when his mother saw her son coming out of the neighbor’s house. The neighbor was a family man with a nice job. He was a scout leader and a neighborhood representative.
The mother questioned her son as to what he was doing in the neighbor’s home. He did not appear to be harmed in any way. There were no bruises, torn clothes, yet from his demeanor his mother knew something had happened.
This young boy, who had been so happy when he left the house just 20 minutes earlier, responded with a quivering voice. He asked his mom not to punish him as he recounted the story of the neighbor man performing an oral sex act on him.
That was it. Just 20 minutes and this little boy’s life was changed forever. The neighbor was eventually convicted of his crime. The boy grew up. Not much more was discussed about the incident. He appeared well adjusted.He became a good athlete. In fact he was the team captain on the football team in 1991, his senior year. His coaches and friends loved him. He made good grades and his girlfriend was a beautiful cheerleader.
From the outside he looked fine. For over a decade he had not talked to his parents about “the event” that happened to him so long ago. Then seemingly out of nowhere in October of that same year this young man took his own life.
Looking back his mother asks the question: “How could she mend a wound no one could see?”
Sometimes our struggles in life come from outside of ourselves. They are thrust upon us, like was the case of the little boy. More frequently however, our struggles in life come from within ourselves. They come from a personality quirk, a sinful behavior or habit that we can’t seem to break. In the end it really does not matter where our struggles originate. I believe it is safe for me to say that all of us have “our issues,” our struggles in life. The problem is, as was dramatically demonstrated in this little boy’s story, too often we choose to struggle and fight the fight alone. Unfortunately sometimes the fight, when fought alone, becomes too much for us and ends tragically.
By the grace of God, let’s give thanks that most of our struggles are not so overwhelming that they cause us to take our life, but many times personal struggles, especially those fought in silence and alone, can slowly cause our spiritual death. Should anyone reading this ever feel so lost or broken that taking your life seems like an option, please I beg you to reach out to a friend and be open about your pain.
In the past, I have personally tried to fight struggles alone and in silence. It has never worked well for me, has it ever worked well for you? Two years ago God touched my heart and gave me the courage to break my own silence and share with my close friends the aspects of my Christian journey that were clouding my relationship with God. Eventually, I felt called by God to form Broken Door Ministries to help others do the same thing…..that is, to break their silence.
Broken Door Ministries is attempting to reach out to people across the country and around the world through these 4thdayletters and in person through 1 hour and 4 hour retreats. The basic purpose of these talks and retreats and the fundamental key points on which this ministry was founded is to help people clearly understand thefollowingfour spiritual principles.
- God is the source of freely given abundant mercy and forgiveness. This gift is here for all of us if we just repent and seek forgiveness.
- We are all broken and we all struggle and most of the time we hide our hurts, pains, struggles and brokenness behind a false mask trying to imply that our life is just fine.
- God, who knows all things, who knows our struggles and weaknesses, our pains and hurts, and our habitual sins, loves us in spite of those things. He loves us so much that He gave His life to pay the price for our sins so that we can live in His joy and share in eternal life with God. Jesus calls us as we are, broken, to lead others to Jesus Christ so that they too can experience His healing love and forgiveness.
- As Christians we are called to live out life in community. We need to form strong Christian friendships. I call these friendship groups Christian Life Groups. You can call these groups anything you want. What matters in these groups is that we present ourselves honestly, struggles and all. WE MUST NOT PARTICIPATE IN THESE GROUPS AND KEEP SILENT ABOUT OUR TRUE INNER STRUGGLES!
Consider this, in the Bible story of the prodigal son, when the son returned home, his father gathered all of his friends and threw a party. When the shepherd lost a sheep and when the woman lost her coin, once found, Jesus tells us they gathered their friends for a party. Prepare to celebrate and allow the healing to begin by breaking your silence about your inner struggles.
If you are struggling inside, and doing so in silence you are more likely to keep struggling, your frustration will be ever present and you will continue to repeat unwanted behaviors. By sharing honestly with a few close friends about your struggles, those friendships will grow deeper and you and your friends can all begin to see each other as you really are, just another person struggling to be the best Christian you can be.
As I have traveled around our country and shared this message with people for the past two years, I have been amazed at the things people have told me they were struggling with in silence and alone. STOP DOING THAT TODAY! God intends for us to make our journeys in community. We support and hold each other up. We console each other when we trip. These groups require true depth and total honesty. I continually encounter people who are holding back their real struggles from their family and closest Christ centered friends. Why? Because of pride, that’s why.
We seem more willing to suffer alone than risk our pride by telling our true Christian friends that we have sins that we struggle with. Give it up; your sins just are not that original. When you honestly open up, the light of Christ will come RUSHING into the darkness. Remember what the boy’s mother said: “How could she mend a wound no one could see?” So I ask you, can your friends help you mend wounds and struggles they cannot see?
Sadly the little boy’s struggle in silence cost him his life. This young boy’s struggle came from outside. It came from a horrible action thrust on him. Your struggles may have been caused by someone else or they may have been caused by you. In either event, if your silent struggle is slowly causing your “spiritual death” just read this story in Ezekiel 37:4-10.
“Then he said to me: Prophesy over these bones, and say to them: Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Listen! I will make breath enter you so you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow over you, cover you with skin, and put breath into you so you may come to life. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. I prophesied as I had been commanded. A sound started up, as I was prophesying, rattling like thunder. The bones came together, bone joining to bone. As I watched, sinews appeared on them, flesh grew over them, skin covered them on top, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me: Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man! Say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: From the four winds come, O breath, and breathe into these slain that they may come to life. I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath entered them; they came to life and stood on their feet, a vast army.”
If God can bring real life to dead bones, He certainly can bring your spirit to vibrant life and joy. Whether your pain was thrust upon you by someone else like the young boy or thrust upon you by yourself, break your silence! Tell someone whom you can trust your secrets. Tell someone your struggles. Admit you are broken. When you are honest with them, you give them permission and COURAGE to be honest with you about their issues.
Can I ask you for a personal favor? Will you stop whatever you are doing at this moment and say a prayer for those people who are struggling in silence? Ask God to give them courage. Ask God to take away their pride. Ask God to allow the healing to begin through the caring response of their friends. Finally, today’s email started with a story about the tragedy of childhood sexual abuse. Ask God to help all those suffering from this, and ask God to bless this young boy with eternal life and to heal the pain of his parents and family.
The Broken Door Ministry team is anxious to be of help. Invite us to give a retreat at your parish, church or Christian groups. Lives are being changed at these retreats. God is touching people, silent barriers are coming down and healing is beginning through the message of our Called by the Cross retreats.
NEVER SUFFER IN DEADLY SILENCE AGAIN!
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 path of life that I can trust and give me the courage to be more open about the things in my life that keep me from a more joyous relationship with you. I asked this prayer in the name of your son Jesus Christ, amen
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