WHEN FEELINGS ARE HURT AND THE SOUL IS HEAVY
|Cinderella, by Nadir Quinto (buy at Allposters.com)|
"A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."
A broken spirit, I can attest, also makes me feel like a hundred pound weight is sitting in my stomach. I suppose, as frail and fallen human beings, we can hardly avoid the occasional dust-up with someone, be it loved one, friend, co-worker, boss, or that guy who just cut you off in traffic.
We feel frustrated, wronged, shamed sometimes. And have you ever tried to do something you thought was helpful and good and then were told in no uncertain terms that you were wrong or that you really screwed up? In short, have you been rebuked or rebuffed, even in a small way, then had a hard time letting go of the pain?
This is a sorry state to be in, and I know what I am talking about. I have always been "sensitive". Let me tell you, it's really unattractive and burdensome. Do we really want to go around moping or crying, or being unfulfilled and unproductive by injustices real, or exaggerated that we might encounter today? We all know it feels like garbage and yet we are often locked into the feeling, and find ourselves obsessively and endlessly composing snappy comebacks or clever actions which vindicate us and maybe inflict a little pain on the offending party, to boot. Funny thing though, none of this ever seems to really help, or make us feel good again. Why? Because they are born of a sinful response to our hurt pride. And yet, we seem to be stuck in them, as one tangled in a net.
"Oh, wretched man that I am; who can deliver me from this body of death?" cries the apostle Paul, who was also fed up with being a compulsive sinner, it seems. But what was his next thought, and his reply to his painful question?
"But thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!" Romans 7:25-26
As always, it's always about the Lord, who is our answer to any problem we are faced with.
There is a prayer that I used to read a lot. It was found in a periodic, Anglican devotional called Forward Day by Day. Part of it went something like this:
"preserve me from minding little stings, or giving them..."
So we are to ask the Lord, according to this prayer, to preserve or keep us safe from being hurt by the little bits of carelessness or unkindness of others we might encounter today. And to prohibit us from stinging back. What tools does He give us to free ourselves from that obsessive-compulsive constraint of hurt feelings and desire for revenge?
One of the answers is contained in the very "dry bones" verse itself.
"A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine..." We do not have to feel like it, but we can make an act of the will to dwell on happy, cheerful thoughts. A good place to start is by being thankful for some of our countless blessings. We can pray for others, too, especially those who offend us. Takes the wind right out of the devil's sails when we do that, doesn't it?
Here are some more verses that clue us in on what makes for "healthy bones", a metaphor for many things, including a sound foundation for our life:
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8).
"Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop,
and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice" (Psalm 51:6-8).
Besides all that, time to get busy, Cinderella, work is good for the soul! Whistle while you work, too, remember, or better yet, sing praise songs!
"...a cheerful heart hath a continual feast." Proverbs 15:15
And somehow there's a handsome prince involved at the end!
Better than that - the King of Kings!