Your Faith Has Made You Well

          Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the Church calendar year.  Next week we begin the new Church year with the hope and excitement that comes with Advent; a season of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  Today seems an appropriate day for a healing service.  It is a reminder that Jesus Christ is our only source of healing for the wounds and burdens that we carry.  And when we look at the cross, we are reminded that the healing process is not easy or comfortable.

          Each person sitting here today has a need for healing.  It may be physical in nature, emotional, or maybe even spiritual.  The necessity for healing hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.  We desire our own wills over God’s leading to a sinful world filled with pain and difficulty.  But through the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, healing became synonymous with forgiveness of sins.

          There are people who are dealing with physical illnesses, broken bones, and diseases.  Some physical ailments may have been a result of carelessness, but in most cases they were accidents or diseases that showed up out of our control.  And in some cases the treatment is almost as harsh as the illness.  Such physical limitations can cause us to question our purpose or to face the disappointment of unrealized expectations. 

The heart/spirit is probably the location of most of our pain.  We have been disrespected, called hurtful names, been taken advantage of, and even in some cases abused.  The result is personal shame and guilt and it causes us to believe that our worth as humans is measured by good works or lack of them. 

          When we are suffering from guilt and shame, symptoms such as a desire for control, defensiveness, lack of trust, judgment, and the need to be recognized for good works begin to pop up.  We want to control and manipulate people, things, and processes to right past wrongs…to have revenge on those who have hurt us.  Our defensive attitudes arise when critiqued or challenged, as these things are perceived as personal attacks against our human worth.  There is a fear of trusting anyone and therefore we judge everybody.  And we live busy lives proving how worthy we are to society.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be said or done to completely repair brokenness.  We cannot change the past.  We can never take back what has been said or done.  No matter how many times someone says they are sorry, the memory remains.  We cannot control our environment.  And our words and actions of revenge are as evil as the original wound.  Attempting to get even brings no healing, but instead continues to pour gas on the flames of festering wounds and continues the cycle of hurting others.  In the field of counseling, the saying is “Hurt people (descriptive), hurt people (action)”. 

I read in a novel yesterday, “When you have no future, you live in the past, and Lonny would be stuck there forever.”  All too often we seek earthly saviors to remedy our despair such as politicians, doctors, science, pastors, drugs, careers, money, and significant others to name a few.  But they too are going to fall short of our expectations leaving us in despair.  For all have fallen short of the glory of God.

We must accept what has been said and done, learn from it, and move forward into the uncomfortable future of changed plans trusting that God is in control.  And in order to begin the long and difficult journey of healing (similar to rehab after surgery), we must stop pointing out the sins of others and repent of our own sinfulness.

Jesus’ promise of love and forgiveness is the foundation of our faith.  Let’s remember what God’s grace means to us.  I ask you to repeat after me...I am a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Through his blood, I am forgiven.  My slate is clean.  I owe nothing.  I am a loved child of God.  By his love and mercy, I leave my burdens and wounds at the cross.  Let his healing and renewal begin.  Amen