in the way of Christ is healing

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:21-25

Someone recently told me that only as our wounds are exposed, brought out into the open, can they be healed. I’m referring to inner wounds. I think there’s truth in that. After all, we can’t deal with what hurts us by ignoring it, or just holding it in. Sooner or later that will come out in ways that often are not helpful for others, even for ourselves.

Yes, we need to get everything out in the open before God. See the Psalms for example after example of that. And found in other places throughout Scripture, as well.

Peter’s words by the Holy Spirit actually point us in another direction for our healing. We’re told that we’re to follow Christ’s example in accepting suffering. This was actually written directly to Christian slaves (hit above link). Slavery then was different than what we think of now, in our American context. Yet still certainly an institution brought on by sin, destined not to last, certainly at least not in God’s economy, and God has the last word.

We’re told to do this and then told that we’re healed by Christ’s wounds. Not sure precisely what this means, except that it has to do with our sin problem and the impact that makes on our lives, and on the lives of others.

It is amazing, the impact of sin on us. We’re better off to persevere past whatever sin or fallout from past sin is plaguing us. And we surely do that in part by following what we’re being told here. We have to trust that God is healing us because of Jesus’s suffering, as we walk in the way of that suffering. In and through Jesus.

 

“…by his wounds we are healed.”

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Paradox fills scripture and is part and parcel to the gospel, because humans are taken into Christ, into his death and resurrection through baptism, so that through Christ’s death, we might live in resurrection life, even in this life. The tension and beauty of all of this is so profound, and marvelous in itself, like enjoying a magnificent work of art. But what makes it even more profound is that it can touch and transform us, our lives, so that somehow by God’s grace, in Jesus we enter into something of that beauty ourselves.

Jesus took upon himself all of the brutality humanity could heap upon him, all part of the will of the Trinity, certainly in obedience to the Father, but his own choice as well, and done so by the Spirit. It was done in his sacrifice of himself on the cross, so that by his wounds, our woundedness is healed.

We are wounded by our own sins, and by the sins of others; we are wounded by each other. And such wounds can be ongoing, since none of us are above falling into the sin of a wrong attitude toward another, even toward each other, and the hurtful, destructive words which can follow, and especially for some (and I think the most, of those in their formative years), sink in and change them for ill.

One of the most poignant passages and thoughts in scripture for me is how Jesus as our High Priest has entered fully into our experience, with the exception of not yielding to the temptations to sin, so that he can completely empathize with us, and not only that, but he also can give us just the exact help we need (Hebrews 2:5-18; Hebrews 4:14-5:10).

Somehow Christ himself, who we see as the second Person of the Trinity, was changed in a way, in becoming human and suffering as he did, a change through which he can help us in a unique way, as one alongside us in the gift from the Father of the Spirit.

And in turn, with the help we receive from him, even the healing of our woundedness because of sin, we in turn in and through Jesus can become “wounded healers”. By the Spirit we can enter into something of the brokenness of others, and provide for them something of the Lord’s healing. Even as we continue to receive the same healing for ourselves in and through the wounds of our Lord.

using trials and troubles for good

The goal of scripture could be stated in a number of ways. One way of saying it is for a community through Jesus to live in love with God and in that love with others forever. There are a number of results from that goal which are good, but secondary to it. One result for example are rewards God gives to his faithful by his grace.

Through pastoral counsel I’m receiving, I am beginning to learn to use at least deep hurts and troubles for good. I am seeking to use them as a way of seeking and drawing closer to the Lord. By them getting to know him.

It is easy for me, if hurt or disappointed, or tempted to despair to sink into depression and just be down to the point sometimes where it seems nearly unbearable. Instead I need to learn to bring those hurts, and indeed any trouble or trial to God, but especially to use those times simply to seek to draw near to God, so as to come to know God better. Of course to know Jesus is to know God. Hopefully in my woundedness to enter into his wounds and find his healing and love.

This is something new for me, and so far, so good. I want to grow in it. For me there’s plenty of opportunities over a number of chronic problems, and sometimes that problem that seems to come out of nowhere, to use them to more enter into this love of God in Jesus and communion with him. And out from that, communion with others in Jesus. I state this in my own terms, the pastoral response given to me in words which are much more eloquent and more attuned to scripture. We are in this together in Jesus, a significant part of this experience in Jesus and in his way, together for the world.