Life is difficult for many, many people—some more than others—but there are five emotional facts of life that are true for all of us.
The first is that life hurts. Period. God never promised us a pain-free life. He promised that He would be there to heal us and help us in every circumstance, but that still means we may experience difficulties like failure, sin, death of loved ones, abuse, rejection, and betrayal. These things cause us pain.
The second emotional reality of life is that pain accumulates. Unless we deal with it properly when it occurs, our pain always falls into what I call our “hurt pocket.” That’s where we put our pain, and it builds and builds. It begins as far back as childhood, because very few of us know how to deal with emotional pain.
Sometimes we hide our pain. Sometimes we deny it. We pretend it’s not there. Or, we may think that time will eventually heal our wounds. But that’s not true. For some of us, pain actually gets worse over time. Our emotional wounds last until they’re brought into the presence of the Lord.
The third emotional fact of life is that accumulated pain and unresolved problems impact our health. They are bad for us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally. That’s why we need to empty our hurt pocket on a regular basis. If we don’t, the more pain that accumulates, the more it compromises us.
The fourth emotional reality is that everyone deals with pain. Some deal with it the right way, and some the wrong way. But none of us can avoid pain. It has to be dealt with.
Here’s something you need to know: When it comes to addictions related to alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, and sex, the primary issue is never alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, and sex. The primary issue is pain.
Alcoholics use alcohol to deal with their pain. Drug abusers are addicted to drugs, but they use drugs as a way to treat their pain.
The devil wraps fear and shame around our pain so we’ll keep it in the darkness. It hurts too much. We’re ashamed of it, so we cover it in secrecy. That’s how we deal with it, but it’s the wrong way.
The fifth reality of our emotions is that the only way we can stop the hurt is to empty our hurt pocket. How do we empty it? By turning it toward God. When we turn our pain toward God, it is validated, understood, and healed. We bring it out of darkness and into the light.
Once we’ve done that, we have to ask Him to heal us from our pain.
Healing requires us to be honest before God, to open our hearts toward Him and trust Him. We must realize there’s nothing we’ve done that will make Him reject us. He understands our pain and sympathizes with it.
Secondly, healing requires us to take responsibility for our behavior. Life does not form us, but our response to life forms us. We are not helpless victims, but disciples of Jesus Christ who gives us strength. We always have a choice.
And finally, healing requires mercy—from God to us and from us to those who have hurt us. As difficult as it can be, we must forgive ourselves as God forgives us. Jesus died for us, and we do not have to live with regret.
Karen and I understand hurt. We almost divorced. But God now uses our healed pain to help millions of people. God can turn your greatest failures and scars into His greatest glory—but you must let Him empty your hurt pocket.
Learn how to evaluate your emotional well-being. Watch “When Life Hurts” with Jimmy Evans.