© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
62 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.