Our summer series on the Ten Commandments has really had me thinking. It has been both comforting and challenging to remember the God who commands our obedience tells us who he is before he tells us what to do. In Exodus 20, God reminds his people he has delivered them from slavery and oppression before he tells them who they are created to be and how to walk obediently in loving relationship to him and others. The Ten Commandments are God’s loving design for living in the freedom that Christ purchased for us on the cross.
As a counselor, I think of the questions and concerns of my clients whose lives have been profoundly affected by spiritual, emotional and physical wounds caused at times by their own sin, yet at other times caused directly or indirectly by the sins of others. The Ten Commandments shine a light on sin and suffering in our world and can lead to hard questions such as:
- How do I worship God as he has revealed himself to be when I can’t untangle him from the harsh, cold, dismissive, or abusive image presented by my parents, family, or church growing up?
- How do I experience Sabbath rest when my mind is ruminating with anxious thoughts and my body is full of tension and a feeling of dread?
- How do I honor a parent who has been so dishonorable?
- How do I forgive someone when the slightest reminder of their abusive actions brings intense emotional and physical pain?
- How do I repair a marriage bond torn apart by sexual sin and infidelity?
If these kinds of questions make it especially hard for you to connect the law of God with the loving deliverance of God, please do not lose heart!
Our ultimate healing comes through a right relationship with God purchased for us through Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus is the healer described in Isaiah 53 who not only was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities but who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. By his wounds, we are truly healed!
Scripture also shows that God works through human relationships to bring healing as the body of Christ comforts one another with the same comfort we receive from God in the midst of our hurt and suffering (2 Cor. 1:4). God’s call to believers in Romans 12 is to be devoted to one another in love, to be joyful in hope, to be patient in affliction, to be faithful in prayer, to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. We are called to walk with one another in love as we seek to heal from the wounds of our own sin and the sin of others in our lives. Below are a few ways others can walk with you in relationship as you wrestle with questions like the ones above:
- Relationships with mature believers in your community, such as a pastor, an elder, or a Christian counselor can help you identify wrong beliefs about God and what past experiences may have contributed to those beliefs. They can guide you to scripture and resources, and they can also walk with you as you begin to replace untrue images with an accurate view of a just and loving God. As Jesus said to his followers in John 8:31-32, “if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
- If anxiety, stress, or ruminating thoughts keep you from enjoying rest in the Lord, a counselor and medical professionals can work with you to determine any physical or emotional causes of anxiety. A combination of prayer, counseling, exercise, breathing, nutrition and sometimes medication can provide healing from the impact of anxiety that can keep you from fully enjoying the peace of God in Sabbath rest (Phil. 4:6-7).
- If a difficult or abusive relationship with a parent leaves you confused or with guilt about how to “honor your father and mother,” healthy boundaries may need to be established in order to love out of joyful obedience to God instead of out of manipulation or shame. Mercy’s Member Care Team can walk with you to find a mentoring or counseling relationship for support in moving towards forgiveness and establishing healthy boundaries that honor your parents and protect you from harm.
- If you are struggling with ongoing emotional pain from past trauma or abuse, a counselor trained in treating trauma can walk with you to carefully look at and tell the truth about past events that have wounded you. Bringing our deepest pain into the light allows us to specifically ask Jesus to bind up our broken hearts, lead us to a place of forgiveness, and deliver us from oppression.
- If your marriage has been broken by sexual sin or infidelity, please reach out to a pastor or elder to walk with you through the steps of repentance and granting forgiveness. A Christian counselor trained in marital therapy can assist you as a couple to understand the process of recovery, to heal attachment wounds, and to begin to communicate with each other in a way that brings healing.
Mercy family, Galatians 5:1 tells us, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Please do not become discouraged if you feel you have not found freedom from suffering, confusion, or emotional pain in an area of your life. There are many sources of help and support through relationship with Christ and relationships with brothers and sisters in our church and community. If you need prayer, support, counseling, or other resources, Mercy’s Member Care team can walk with you to connect you with care through community groups, trained care team members, elders, and Christian counselors in the area. You can contact our Member Care Team at 980-288-8239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.