Point of View
I am deviating from the usual Word Servant posts to share an experience. This past week, I had four wisdom teeth removed. The medications made life bearable as the pain intensified but it got bad quick. I have experienced hurts throughout my life, but this was on a level all to itself. Finally, after a close friend and my patient wife encouraged me to go get it checked out, I went to the ER.
Now, the first thing that I realize looking back is that while in this place of constant intense pain, everything annoyed me, and I turned into a real jerk. The dog got on my nerves with the licking and what I call air tasting, which is licking the air for no real reason with that tongue-smacking noise; my son was driving me crazy with the non-stop need to talk about any and everything; and my wife, we could not get on the same page for anything. In all of that, though, I realized that they weren’t doing anything unusual, it really boiled down to my being in so much pain. It changed the lens I was looking at life through to one of negativity.
Yet, isn’t that true for all sorts of pain? How often is our pain not even physical rather it’s emotional, psychological, or spiritual but just as debilitating? How many of us walk around in excruciating pain, lashing out at others and finding momentary relief from our suffering by shifting the focus on someone else’s junk? How many of us are in so much inner anguish that we make it worse by comparing our lives to the snapshots of others on social media and sink deeper when what we have doesn’t seemingly measure up? How many of us look at the world around us through the cynical lens created by our own shortcomings, past hurts, issues and effects of sin, then project that garbage onto others?
As I waited in the ER, there were many that came in. Some were there for obvious issues. Others I wondered why they were there, even though they made it clear that they needed pain medication to anyone that was within earshot. When I finally went back, my blood pressure was retaken. I’d arrived several hours earlier, and my blood pressure was around 127/80 at intake. Now, after my Orajel and Motrin had worn off, it was 160/100, 166/99 and so forth. The nurse exclaimed, “You must be in excruciating pain…” and after that it seemed like there was a shift in care. They determined that there is an infection and dry socket; and I must follow up with my oral surgeon.
This made me aware of two fact that we as Christians need to be conscious of in our walk with Christ. First, I realize that there are a lot of pain medication seekers that go to ER’s and that is something that is more common than not. Yet, as believers in Christ, how many of us look at members of our congregations like this? How many of us see the sin in a believer’s life, and rather than go to the believer directly and lovingly address it, we speculate, project and assume that we know what we are looking at? We treat the offending sinner as if they are unworthy of being in the church much the same way hospital staff treats those who are seeking pain meds due to addiction. Wonder what would happen if we recognized that the sins of a person are symptoms of a disconnect with God and we chose to do all we could to infuse God into their lives rather than project disdain and contempt? Like, if it actually could work this way, rather than cast the pain medication seeker out, we found a way to somehow connect them with an addiction’s counselor?
Second, when we begin to examine other peoples lives whom we do not do day-to-day life with, whom have not asked us to be their accountability partner and whom we only know via acquaintance-level interactions, social media and whatever lens we or someone else is examining them through, we do ourselves, our walk with Christ and our witness of Jesus a major disservice. Because what we say about others reflects more about our heart and who we are than anything, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. It also shows whether we are viewing others as Christ would, or as the world would. Something to consider.
So, how can we do better with this? What does this look like in your life? Have you forgiven those who have done this to you? Have you repented for those you have done this to? I pray that all of us can walk and act according to that which is pleasing to God!
Until Next Time,