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In most people, unresolved pain leads to widespread anger in our lives. Whether it’s from a broken family, pain caused by other Christians or other relational pain, there is huge potential for any unresolved pain to lead to anger and bitterness. And this pain, anger and bitterness can cause you to walk away and reject God.
So, what can we do about this?
The first step is to take your pain to God.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Secondly, you need to plug into Christian community. When you’re struggling with pain, depression and doubt, you will be tempted to withdraw; and before you know it, you can find yourself drifting further and further from God’s people and God’s will.
Thirdly, you may need to look into professional Christian counseling. When done Biblically, counseling can be an amazing tool to get to the roots of your pain and doubts and discover some deep things that are going on in your life.
Now, how do we help someone else who is struggling with pain, bitterness and doubt?
One path is to become an Apologetic Therapist. Be a good listener. You may need to simply, patiently sit and cry with them. Just simply love them.
This isn’t the time to jump into all your rational arguments for God’s truth; but it’s the time to sit, listen and love.
Consider Job’s friends, who while Job was mourning his losses in sackcloth and ashes, they just sat with him in silence. They entered into the depths of his pain along with him.
This is even more important when comforting our friends who are non-believers. If you instantly go into “Biblical Truth Mode” and throw Biblical facts regarding God, Jesus or Christianity and you begin to see them become upset, that’s the time to step back, put your “apologetics hat” back into your pocket and simply listen.
One example of this is a missions trip Brett led which featured a meeting with an Atheists Club in Boulder, Colorado. Brett’s team encountered one particular girl who felt as though the Christian Church was always imposing their views on others.
Brett revealed that there’s no way he could impose or force her to believe in God. All he could do was present the case for who Jesus is and it was up to her to decide for herself, based on the evidence.
After continuing to protest, she eventually revealed some tidbits of her own journey.
She had grown up in a Seventh Day Adventist home that, according to her, was very legalistic and oppressive. When she was 17-years-old, her parents sent her to a “Change Camp” with the hopes of purging her lesbian behaviors from her. As she continued, she shared layer after layer of pain and bitterness caused by this experience.Some of the girls on Brett’s team simply began to ask her questions about her life: What was she studying? What was she into? How did she fill her days?
They simply listened to and loved her.
And Brett could visibly see her combativeness and deeply rooted defenses melt away.
You see, it appeared that this may have been the first time Christians had kindly, patiently and compassionately listened to her.
Emotional and Psychological Doubt derive from very deep and usually painful causes and must be dealt with differently than Intellectual Doubt.
Then there is a third type of doubt many people encounter: Moral Doubt.
Moral Doubt is when we question God’s moral law and the standards of God.
This might be rooted in several different causes: our own personal sin, our weak faith, peer pressure, or lack of spiritual growth in our lives.
1 The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.
First off, be careful not to prematurely hurl this passage at an atheist. It won’t get you anywhere.
But notice the connection the Psalmist makes between the person who says there is no God and moral corruption.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Paul writes that we, as human beings, suppress the truth in unrighteousness and our unbelief is directly tied to our twisting or even abandoning morality.
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