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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.
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