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It’s taken me a while to figure out what the authors meant by the title of this chapter.
(“What are the two solutions?” I kept asking myself.)
I think I know, now, although it wasn’t clear to me initially. (And if I’m wrong, I extend my heartfelt apologies to the authors of The Cure: John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall.)
If we’re talking about solutions, solutions are what you need when you have a problem, right? So let’s start with the problem. What is the problem?
The problem begins with unresolved hurt and sin in our lives, whether it’s sin we’ve committed, or sin that’s been committed against us. Unresolved sin gets buried deep inside us. Very often, when we’ve been hurt, or when we do wrong, we picture God as standing aloof from our needs, hurts and failures. After all, we’re hurting! Wouldn’t a loving Father protect us from injury, and see that our needs get met? If I’m His Precious, wouldn’t He fix it, and make it all better?
So the problem grows as we try to deal with this pain inside of us, all on our own, since God seems to be so unconcerned. This is the mindset of an orphan: an orphan mentality. Here is how an orphan thinks: I’m hurting, and there’s no one around but me to take care of it. So, I’ve got to control my life, take charge, and see that my needs get met. Even if it what I’m thinking about doing is sin, and/or is hurtful to others: I give myself permission to take care of my own needs in whatever way I need to do that.
The Two Solutions
So the two solutions to the problem of buried, unresolved sin and pain inside of us, are:
- Allow God and others whom I deeply trust to love me and help me through my pain of unmet needs.
- Put ourselves in charge of fixing our unmet needs, in ways that are unhealthy, and possibly even destructive to ourselves and others.
When we (even subconciously) believe that God is aloof to our hurts, or to the wrong that has been done to us, we give ourselves permission to start trying to solve the hurt on our own. Very often, this results in giving ourselves permission to sin, in order to get our needs met. There’s a part of us that knows instinctively that this is wrong, and so we go into emotional hiding to give ourselves that permission.
When all the while, the very thing we need the most is not isolation, but reaching out to a trusted other in honesty in regard to how we’re feeling, and letting them know what we are being tempted to do. Others can love us only to the extent that we allow them to love us. And in this instance, the only way they can meet our need for love is if we trust them enough to tell them that we are hurting, and how we are being tempted.
When we sin, it does bring the promised pleasure, for a while, but then, the guilt of our wrongdoing is so great, that we look to find a way to blame others for our choices, and thus begins the litany of how our needs weren’t met, and how it’s the fault of others that I’ve acted as I have.
Only grace, offered through love, can overcome my shame. I cannot experience this love, unless I trust others with me. When I am transparent enough to reveal my hurt to another, to show them where and how I need to be loved, only then can that love and grace be applied.
Telling a trusted other is the way to stop the cycle of pain, anticipated pleasure, pleasure, guilt, blame, and more pain, that is the cycle of sin.
The power of sin is broken simply in telling, but the key is to learn to confess the sin I INTEND to commit, rather than confessing the sin I’ve carried out.
In the Room of Good Intentions, where looking good and striving harder are the norm, we must HIDE our own truth. And the reality of the sin we’re actually capable of , tells us we are who our shame has declared us to be: “not enough”.
In the Room of Grace, sin has no such power, because we do not hide our truth.
I am “Christ in me” , even on my worst day! I already possess all his righteousness, inside of me.
So I learn to tell on myself, both to God, and to others, in the Room of Grace.
Living in holiness is no longer about looking good and waving to the fans. Living in holiness now means living with nothing hidden: nothing from God, nor from myself, nor from fellow sojourners in the Room of Grace.
This brings a healing that allows us to live in love, where we are NO LONGER PREOCCUPIED WITH OUR OWN FAILURE. We are then free to extend to others the grace we ourselves have so joyously and gratefully received.
This next thought is not really addressed in the book, but it is what I believe to be a very real challenge for many of us: How do we find that “other” who is trustworthy enough, who can know the worst about me, and who will not turn away from me, but will stand by me in the midst of my very messy humanity?
I actually believe there ARE people out there who are willing to be *that* person, for me, and for you. But I also realize that there are people with whom many of us have hoped to have that kind of relationship, but who have turned on us, when they saw our flaws.
So, it’s a very fine line, finding those who are willing to accompany us, on our journey to the Room of Grace, and living life there. Learning who is trustworthy in your life – who will love you, and stand by you, no matter what? That’s another part of the challenge.
This post is the fourth in a series of posts that I’ve done based on a book I’ve been reading, called The Cure. It’s a wonderful book, and I have no financial interest or professional ties to the folks who wrote it whatsoever. I have tried NOT to reveal some of the more poignant images that came from the book, but have used my posts as a means of sharing my own “notes” on the things I’ve gained.
I STRONGLY encourage anyone who is even remotely intrigued to read this book, and my prayer for you is that you will find some of the same freedom and healing that I have gained from reading it. Here are links to my other posts on the book, Chapter One: Two Roads, Chapter Two: Two Faces, and Chapter Three: Two Gods.
If you enjoyed reading it, I would appreciate either a share on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter, or if you’d pin it on Pinterest.
Wednesday 16th of March 2022
I appreciate this. I was having the same issue. I cools not find what the two solutions were for this chapter. As per its title. I had to actually Google it to see if I could find anything. I’m leading a group at my church woman’s group, and we are going through The Cure. I looked through chapter 4 over and over and could not figure out what the two solutions where. I saw the one clearly. Telling someone else. Finding someone to share with. So I really appreciated this!
Wednesday 16th of March 2022
I'm so glad this was of help to you!
Friday 22nd of January 2021
Thank you for the clarification of this chapter. I completely related to the hostess who tells the story of her childhood and her struggles as an adult woman. While I read her account, I became excited to hear the solution to her dilemma. However, I was left hanging! She says that they will continue the conversation at dinner but I have pored over the book to find that continuation of their discussion and I have not been able to find it! I was left feeling disappointed, disillusioned and disgruntled. I guess there is no easy way to resolve her/my issue other than getting to the root of the problem and remedying it with telling on myself to God and to another trusted friend?
Friday 22nd of January 2021
I'd say that is what the chapter seems to be teaching, in terms of how to end this cycle. But on a personal level, to me, it seems like the root of her issue here is a wrong view of herself, that she apparently picked up from her dad: that she is not enough. For me, the most life-changing part of this book was altering how I viewed God, and my own view of myself.
I put a sticky note up on my bulletin board, and kept it there for YEARS, till the adhesive finally failed, but the belief is still inside my head, thank God. It was an almost mantra for me: "I am a person who is ALREADY pleasing to God." (And obviously, that's not because *I'm* cute, or *I'm* so smart....it has EVERYTHING TO DO with what Jesus Christ has done for me. "If anyone is in Christ, he IS a new creation. The old has gone....the new has come."
I, too, struggled with a false belief about myself: that God was looking at me with furrowed eyebrows, so very disappointed in me. And that was what was true about me UNTIL I decided to put my trust in what God says about me. HE says, I'm a new creation. He says I HAVE the righteousness of Christ. He loved me so much when I was still a REBEL at heart that He sent His one and only Son to die for me.
So, that's the truth I absolutely believe now about myself. And in terms of my sin? Well, He and I are working on that, together.
But that lie that I need someone else's affirmation to help me believe: "See? I really AM enough." That kind of affirmation is a lie sent from the pit of hell, if I'm relying on that to make me OK.
Each morning I spend time with my Father, reading His Word, confessing my sins, telling Him my hurts, asking Him my questions, and thanking Him for all that He's done and all that He's doing in me. Practicing trusting what God says is true about me is what has transformed me on the inside. I don't know, Patricia, if that applies to you, but that is what has helped me. Wishing you all the grace you need on your journey!
Saturday 5th of March 2016
I know this an old post, but want to echo the thanks for your great summary. Also wanted to,point out a further insight. You alluded to a belief that there may be someone, or a select group, I assume, in whom you can place your trust and open up to about the worst parts of you. You also summarized the first of the two solutions as, allowing God and others who I deeply trust to love me. I think something inherent in faith is minimized in that summary. You end up being the standard, your comfort level in both God and others determines your willingness to be loved, you ability to confide, to confess, to be vulnerable. Faith is a leap. Even when we are I sure, in fact when it really feels risky, that is when trust is an act of faith. God will never fail is, even though the outcome may disappoint us. Others will invariably fail us, but being betrayed as well as forgiving them as God in Christ forgives us opens us us up more fully to our union with Christ, the one betrayed and who always forgives.
Confessing our sins one to another, trusting deeply and being vulnerable cannot be limited to finding and knowing trustworthy individuals. It needs to be practiced regularly, by leaps of faith, in the midst of the family of faith, the holy community - our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will get hurt, we will be disappointed, but we will live out our union of Christ and be the visible body of Christ and rejoice in the smell of fresh ground coffee and the sound of honest and hopeful discussions in the room of grace.
Sunday 6th of March 2016
Beautifully well-worded insight, Todd. And while true, in theory, I'd like to tell you how it turned out for me, practically, within a "community of faith". I practiced that kind of vulnerability, and had it turn around to bite my children - and me - in the rear end. The result is that, where my kids are involved, I'm just less willing to do that than I used to be. It's one thing when *I* am the one who is disappointed. I'm a big girl, and I can put on my big girl spiritual panties, and practice all that beautiful forgiveness that Christ has offered me. And go my way, free, and in peace. But when I practiced that kind of honesty and vulnerability in a Christian academic community where I anticipated having my vulnerability met with people coming alongside to help me, and instead, they applied their judgment to my KIDS in such a way that their academic and social futures were affected, we were badly burned. I am no longer willing to share anything that might potentially jeopardize *my kids*. Within that particular group, I am happy to keep a low profile, smile and wave and keep any problems to myself, and hope for my kids to graduate without further incident. When they have, I'll go back, and share how their actions affected me. But not until they can no longer hurt my kids.
Thursday 16th of January 2014
This sounds like a wonderful book.
Thank you for sharing it.
Wednesday 15th of January 2014
Thank you Susan for condensing the chapter and making it so understandable. I feel that I need to print and carry this post with me at all times--as a diagram of life. I probably need to read it several times a day to put my issues in perspective.