Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Don't Let Your Sufferings Define You

Lake Erie, Maumee Bay (Ohio) State Park

Some people, even Christians, define themselves by sufferings they have undergone. They refuse to let go of their unfortunate past, since to do so would be, for them, to lose their identity. They have become, they are, their sufferings. In this, often, they feel unique. No one, they think, really understands them. Howard Thurman writes: 

"There are many people who would feel cheated if suddenly they were deprived of the ego definition that their suffering gives them." (Howard Thurman: Essential Writings, 56)

Some are self-defined by their suffering. They are men and women of sorrows, and that is all. To free them of their sufferings, to redeem them, would be to deprive them of their core identity.

Such people resist the redemptive activity of God. They need their sufferings. They will feel like a nobody should their being-abused cease. Prisonhood is their "normal"; freedom is abnormal and threatening to them.

One of the ways people stay enchained and enslaved is that their chains define and delimit them. To escape this horrible life-condition requires a revelation of their true self, their true identity, as children of God and made in God's image. Only then will they be horrified by their chains and suffering and cry out for release and redemption.

If that happens, they will be free of the idea that no one understands them, and therefore free to understand and love others.

If you are a Jesus-follower and relate to this then read this and apply.