I’ve appreciated so many of your responses to these Reflections on my time at the Wild at Heart Boot Camp in Colorado. I feel very vulnerable sharing this healing breakthrough that the Lord has done in my life, and you all have honored me with your comments. My prayer is that the Lord would use these lessons to bring healing in your life as well.
Compared to most guys, I would say I’m pretty even keeled. I love Jesus, I’m a pastor, my wife admits that I’m a good husband and father, I’m a decent guy, I work hard, etc. But Jesus is not in the business of comparing me to most guys. He’s looking right into my heart. And I’ve got to admit, until I attended the Wild at Heart Boot Camp, I didn’t realize how much junk was buried in there.
You may think that wounds are obvious, that we wouldn’t need God to reveal them to us. David cries out in Psalm 139, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…” Even David needed God to bring his wounds and buried sins to his mind; sometimes they’re too hidden and tangled in our lives to even distinguish.
David’s prayer is a stark contrast to what society tells us to do with our wounds. A friend of mine revealed that his dad used to tell him, “Men don’t cry” and “Pros play hurt.” The words are familiar in our society, which teaches us to bury wounds or ignore them, and without realizing it, input starts becoming output. Like physical wounds that go unmedicated, we become infected. Our tone turns negative or defensive, we become calloused, sarcasm becomes our native tongue, we’re afraid of everything. Our self medication becomes addictions – anger, abusive behavior, alcohol, drugs, pornography, eating disorders, etc. It turns dark and ugly pretty quickly.
At the retreat, I prayed, “God, please reveal the wounds in my life.” Wow! Just wow! One by one, Jesus started revealing scenes of my life to me. He showed me how each of those situations wounded me, and even some of the ways I had tried to cope with that wound. After the session, my friend James asked me how things went. I simply said, “Wow, I’m really messed up.”
Like the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus wasn’t pointing out my wounds to embarrass me. He was identifying my wounds so that I would allow Him to heal them instead of burying them or self-medicating in my own way. To a lot of people, those wounds might seem minor compared to the junk many people have deep in their heart, but like I said, Jesus is not in the business of comparing us to others. Each of us have buried wounds, and while the world may call them insignificant, the fact that they have altered our personality, our ambition, and distracted us from our calling demonstrates just how significant they are. As a friend of mine noted, “Often times people say, ‘I’m over it,’ but all this means is that they’ve ignored it rather than seeking healing.”
Seeking healing means inviting Jesus into the wound. In one situation, I saw myself as a boy. Only this time I saw Jesus come into the scene, take me by the hand, and lead me out of the room. I saw a scene early in ministry, where I was being berated by an angry pastor. He was pointing his finger at me and yelling. Suddenly I saw Jesus step in front of the man, eclipsing me from his anger. In some cases, Jesus revealed a wound to me, and my surprised response was, “Really God, this has affected my life?” Gently, He said, “More than you know.”
Many of you have deep-seeded wounds. They might be something your father or mother said to you (the deepest wounds come from our parents). Maybe they said nothing to you; maybe you were abandoned. The wounds might be the way your boss or fellow employee treats you. They might have come from the actions of a sibling. It might even be something a pastor said to you. In fact, right now, you might be feeling convicted about something you’ve said or done, but before you go there, deal with your wounds. When you can identify your own wounds, it will help you identify the wounding you’ve done to others.
If you’re not sure where to begin, start by turning everything off and sitting in a quiet place. Pray, “Jesus, please reveal the wounds in my life.” Focus and let God show you the events where you’ve been wounded. Here’s what you might experience: you might see a face or a scene. You might be surprised by the events Jesus recalls for you. Satan is going to try to thwart this exercise. He may put a thought in your head like, “This is crazy” or “this is psycho stuff” or “that didn’t hurt you; you’re more manly than this.” Bind him and cast him out in the Name of Jesus. As Jesus reveals these scenes to you, invite Him into these wounds. Ask Him, “Lord, reveal yourself in this scene.”
We will never approach Jesus for healing if we don’t realize our wound. Today, we are the woman with the bleeding problem, and Jesus is standing right there. Reach out. He will heal you.