The Delicate Balance Of Emotional Pain
By Phil Scovell
After losing my sight due to detached retinas in 1964, I
immediately enrolled at the Nebraska school for the blind. It wasn't
called the Nebraska School for the Blind, because even back then,
nobody wanted to use the word "blind." I am not visually impaired,
sightless, visually handicapped, visually challenged, or anything
other than blind. So it doesn't bother me if you use the term "blind"
when referring to the blind. Anyhow, back at the old school for the
blind in Nebraska, we, frankly, had a lot of fun. You wouldn't think
that blind kids could have fun but we did have loads of it. It's sort
of like the bumble bee. Aerodynamically science says he can't fly but
the bumble bee doesn't read scientific journals so he keeps right on
flying regardless of what people say about him. Truthfully, most of
the time we never remembered that we were blind until we ran into a
wall or an opened door or each other or tried stepping up one more
step than there was in the stairway. That will jar the fillings right
out of your teeth if you aren't careful.
One of my favorite memories, although I could write a book on
them, was using the teeter totter. Some people insist upon calling it
a seesaw but I don't mind. So one day, I am on one end of the teeter
totter and my best friend, Lynn, was on the other. Since Lynn was
about fifty pounds heavier than I was, I was always in the air and
Lynn was always on the ground poking fun at me. I would really work
at trying to get him off the ground, too, but rarely could. Once in a
blue moon, Lynn would straighten his legs and give a mighty shove and
I would go sailing to the ground. Even reaching over and holding on
to the grass I couldn't keep him in the air. He would laugh, call me
names, and force me to sit in the air half the time as he continually
poked fun at me.
One day another student walked by and asked what we were doing.
I yelled for this kid to come over and help me because Lynn was
beating me at the game by his overwhelming weight. The other kid, I
forget who he was now, came over and jumped on my end of the seesaw.
Lynn went shooting up into the air. He bounced up and down, bellowed
like a bull, and did everything in his power to gain the advantage
once again. Unknown to Lynn, my friend and I were grabbing fist fulls
of grass and leaning backward as far as we could to give us the extra
leverage needed to keep Lynn from overpowering our unbalanced hold on
Moments later, another student happened to walk by and asked what
in the Sam Hill we were all yelling about. I begged for the kid to
jump on our side but Lynn promised him everything in the world if he'd
join his side so he did. Up in the air we went and we found ourselves
helpless to do a thing.
Soon, another student came by and asked what was happening. I
quickly enlisted his assistance. Climbing on to our side of the
teeter totter, up went Lynn and the other student and three of us were
able to once again keep him in the air.
Well, by now, you guessed the rest. Student after student passed
by and we enlisted every one of them until we had four kids on one
side of the teeter totter and five on my side. It was now a battle of
just ounces that made the difference instead of pounds. The only way
my side kept the other boys high in the air was by holding on to the
grass. Once and awhile, the grass would tear loose and we would
slowly begin to rise. The balance between the two sides was that
delicate. It was a miracle, with all of that weight on either side,
we didn't permanently bend the teeter totter into a pretzel.
Years later this playful event reminded me of how many of us, as
Christians, live our lives. I was taught that spiritual Christians
never talked about things that still bothered them. Like guilt, for
example. If you did, it meant a flaw in your Christian character.
Another way of saying that would have been, you are less spiritual
You committed this horrible sin once and maybe you were a
Christian at the time and maybe you weren't. Regardless, you
confessed the sin, oh, at least twenty thousand times in your life but
the guilt keeps coming back. Sometimes it stayed away for two or
three years but you were much younger then. Now that you are aging,
it generally pops up more frequently. Of course, each time the
delicate balance is off set, up you go, and you confess it again a few
more times. Oddly enough, confessing your sin to the Lord has somehow
lost its effectiveness the older you have gotten or perhaps it is due
to the number of personal confessions. Why? Oh, I don't know. Maybe
it is because you are now 50 or 60 years old and God's Word doesn't
work quite as well as it did when you were twenty or 25 years old.
Maybe its because you really don't mean it now like you did when you
were younger. After all, back then you had your whole life out there
in front of you and you wanted to live for God with all your heart.
In fact, you even wanted to be a missionary and go to Africa. Now,
most of your life is behind you so maybe that's why it seems harder.
Maybe God is just sick of hearing you talking about it so much, He
leaves you high in the air, the guilt as your punishment, while at the
same time, He makes fun of you looking so ridiculous way up there;
exposed and spiritually conspicuous for all to see how dumb you really
are. Perhaps the real truth is, you were never really sorry for what
you did in the first place or maybe the cross of Christ, especially if
what you did was before you got saved, just didn't happen to cover
that particular sin. Regardless of the reason, the pain of that guilt
is getting deeper and deeper and mighty heavy. Frankly, you're sick
of it but you don't know what to do.
If, of course, your Christian friends knew about it, you'd be
without friends in seconds. It also isn't something you can stand up
in church and give a testimony about either because you've heard
thousands of testimonies in church and there's never been one like
what you did. So what do you do about it now?
Once upon a time, you thought confessing to a friend would help
so you did, in complete confidence of course, but your friend wasn't
very understanding. You eventually ended up having to change
churches, too, because for some strange reason, people started
ignoring you at church. This made you wonder why and now you had a
little of paranoia floating around and bumping into the delicate
balance of painful guilt.
Changing churches, of course, helped a lot. It was a bigger
church, with way more people, and you didn't know anybody by name.
The guilt is still there, especially when you check on it, but at
least now nobody in the church, but you, knows about it. For some
inexplicable reason, however, being the only one who knows about it
doesn't make you feel one bit better.
This new church is a little more faith based it appears. They
teach, if you are spiritually weak in a given area, find verses in the
bible which say what God says. Then, making a list, begin confessing
them over and over again. You soon discover, since you have never
done this before, that it works well for you. So, whenever you feel
the pain of guilt surfacing, you quickly quote a number of verses
which make you feel better and the guilt is once again suppressed.
As time passes, somehow you start getting the feeling that you
are doing all the work. After all, if God's Word says you are
forgiven when you confessed your sin, why do you have to continually
keep it submerged by confessing His promise to you over and over
again? Odd, you think. We don't do this concerning salvation, that
is, we don't get saved over and over again by confessing verses on
salvation. So if it works for salvation, why isn't it working for the
guilt you feel? Now there's a good question if I ever heard one.
One day you make the mistake of asking this question of one of
the assistant pastors of the megachurch you have joined. His answer
sounded good but frankly, you got lost in his theological dissertation
and were too embarrassed to ask him to explain it all over again.
This was the way I lived my Christian life until 2002 when the
Lord showed me the truth. The problem is what we believe. Actually,
it is more exact than that. It is Whom we believe. Let me explain it
There is only one truth and that is spoken by God. What you say,
or your brother says, or your pastor says, or your Christian therapist
says, or the devil says, and not necessarily in that order, is not
intrinsic spiritual truth. For example, I heard an idiot preacher say
one day, God was so sovereign, He could look down upon earth some
morning and say, "Well, what do you see down there? Look at that
mess. I think I'll change my mind about salvation and start all
over." With the snap of his cosmic fingers, everything disappears."
The sovereignty of God doesn't mean God can do anything He wants to do
because that is a theological given. The sovereignty of God means,
He, God, The Creator of all things by the spoken word of His mouth,
will keep and live by his own Word no matter what you do or say or
think. So, in doctrinal essence, absolute truth is God breathed.
Look at how this is explained in 2 Timothy 2:11-13.
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also
live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he
also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny
In the case of the fictitious person I am writing about, and
this, of course, we know has never happened to anybody we know, their
guilt kept returning. They confessed it over and over again to the
Lord as sin and even promised never to do it again and they haven't
ever done it again. the guilt of that one sinful act, however, and
for some reason, keeps returning and resurfacing and it is getting
heavier and heavier. Why? the answer is actually amazingly simple.
We are believing a lie. That's right; a lie. Here's how it works.
Let's say you were 18 years old at the time. during your
freshman year of college, you decided you wanted to try the wild life.
Maybe Christianity was the only way but you sure were getting lots of
other ideas in classes from professors that were a lot smarter than
anybody you personally knew. Besides, you'd never been drunk, never
smoked a cigarette, or never gone to bed with anybody in your life.
Today protection was common place, too. They nearly pass the stuff
out in class. What could it hurt to smoke a little dope? The girls
talking about nothing but the guys they went to bed with jump started
your hormones and before long, your desire was off the scale. Oh, and
the parties. Man, the parties. You wanted to meet people and be a
part of them and what they did and said and how they lived and have
At your first party, you smoke a little hash, snort some powder
up your nose that somebody laughingly called cool aid, and you drink
so much booze, nothing can be remembered about the whole thing when
you awaken the next day in bed with not one, but two naked boys. Your
head hurts so badly, however, you really don't care what happened.
Days later, you aren't feeling well but with all the new parties
you've been attending, you figure it's just because you aren't getting
much rest. The sex is fantastic and you can't believe you waited this
long to experience that much pleasure in your life. Of course, you
make sure all the guys are wearing protection so it's all cool. Of
course, do to weekends of intoxication or overnighters when you were
so high, you could not completely recall much the next morning about
the protection part of it but everything was cool. Wasn't it? Sure
A month passes and the sickness you feel is causing you to up
chuck sometimes in the morning. Your moods seems to have changed
somehow over all. Finally you stop going to parties for a couple of
weeks to get your strength back. Still, getting more rest doesn't
make you feel a whole lot better. So you go to the infirmary.
You are very uncomfortable answering all the questions you are
asked but the woman asking the questions isn't hostel or condemnatory
in any way. It is when she suggests you get a pregnancy test that
your mouth literally drops open. Leaving the infirmary, tears come to
your eyes. You know that can't be it. No, not in a million years; it
just can't be. It isn't long before you cannot stand not knowing and
you go for the suggested test. It is positive.
Finally, in desperation, you spill your guts to one of your
friends. She takes you to one of her friends and more conversation
ensues. Returning to your room that night, you lay on your back in
the dark knowing what you have to do. The next weekend, the abortion
is performed. It is over.
You've returned home because your grades have been dropping. It
is time to get a job and live at home for awhile. Your folks insist
that you still attend church with them and the youth group functions
and meetings and you do. Besides, they are all your friends anyhow.
One night, following a service, the guilt, although you have
confessed your sin over and over again, is so big, you can hardly walk
but you can't go forward. You wait until you get home. The next day,
while your father is at work, you tell your mom and you both cry and
hold each other. Your mom prays with you and more tears are shed.
That night, you both tell your father. All three of you cry now and
hold each other but God is put first and your sin is forgiven.
Two years later, you marry a 26 year old young man in the church
who is running his own gas station. You tell him when you are dating
what you did but he accepts you for who you are. You have a wonderful
life together and raise four beautiful children.
When your first daughter goes off to college, the guilt surfaces
and stays on top and just won't go away. You confess it again and
again and again. You talk with the pastor and the pastor's wife. You
go to a Christian therapist. Nothing changes. The pain of the guilt
is so huge by this point, suicide sounds almost good to you. What
about your children? You can't take your own life. They need you and
your husband loves you but the guilt just won't leave and you just
can't live with it any longer.
The voices, when they begin, tell you that you are a murderer and
you don't deserve to live. They, furthermore, tell you that God
doesn't forgive the unpardonable sin. They tell you that you feel the
guilt because God cannot forgive you. Even the medications the doctor
has given you aren't working and you feel tortured.
At this point, let me suggest that this woman is believing a lie.
How do I know this? Because she feels the guilt so it must be true
and so God hasn't forgiven her. She knows the Bible says otherwise,
that she is forgiven, and that her sin is cast into the depths of the
sea and as far as the east is from the west: (See Micah 7:19 and
Psalms 103:12). Yet, the guilt just will not leave.
If God says one thing and we begin to believe something else,
what is the source of that something else? No, it isn't you. You are
born again and your spirit has the Holy Spirit dwelling within it.
The Holy Spirit cannot believe a lie; He can only believe the truth of
God's Word because the Holy Spirit, you see, is God. This means, that
your newly recreated human spirit is in perfect oneness with the Holy
Spirit. Thus, if the Holy Spirit cannot believe a lie, your human
spirit can't either. So, now, I ask you the question again. What is
the source of the guilt? the answer is, a lie. What is the lie? You
are still guilty even though God's Word says just the opposite. So
why do we believe the lie instead of God's truth? It is because the
Enemy has gained a foothold in our life. He did this through the very
first time we felt the false guilt he put upon our feelings and we
went back to God and prayed, pouring out our heart, repenting all over
again, and begging God's forgiveness. The problem is, God had already
forgiven. Now we have given place to the devil by doubting God's Word
to us as forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.
The way to freedom is to find the lie, see it for what it is, and
then let God's Word speak His truth to you. No, you likely won't be
able to do this on your own the first time so find someone who knows
how it is done. That person will pray with you, the lie will be
exposed, and you will hear the truth of God's Word and the foothold,
which, over the years, has become a stronghold, will instantly be gone
and so will the guilt.
There is a delicate spiritual balance between believing the truth
of God and believing a lie from the Enemy. Once you experience and
hear the truth for yourself, however, the victory becomes effortless
and the pain vanishes and you will no longer be enslaved to
performance base Christianity again.
If you need help, call me.
End Of Document
Safe Place Fellowship
Pastor Phil Scovell
Mountain Time Zone
Go To HOME: SafePlaceFellowship.com