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
     victory.

          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
     than others.

          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
     this way.

          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 
           himself.

          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
     fun.

          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
     it was.

          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
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone
     Web:  www.SafePlaceFellowship.Com

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