Subversion of the Day- Help Heal Someone’s Wounds

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It’s been a long week.  Between getting settled in to this school semester, spending time with friends, trying to coordinate a big community event in Richmond, KY, and preparing for a sermon that I preached yesterday, I have been swamped.  But, today is Labor Day- and I am going to celebrate it by blogging!

Using my weekly meeting with my friend at Purdy’s (http://www.purdyscoffee.com) as a spring board, yet again, I want to talk about how you can subvert the powers of the world by healing someone, specifically those whose wounds are self-inflicted.  This is a very difficult subject, and many people don’t know the first place to go to deal with it.  I read a statistic that said 4 percent of the population self harms.  4 percent.  That may seem miniscule, but in a city of 40,000, that is 2,000 people.  And the vast majority of those are teenagers- kids.  Kids I work with.  It is a trend that has gained steam in the last few years, but one that has been around for a long time.  And usually, it is associated with depression- it is a sign that things aren’t right in someone’s life.

There are some great resources out there (which I will suggest later) to aid you in trying to help those who compulsively hurt themselves.  But first, let’s look at an old one.
People have been harming themselves for thousands of years, and in most cases, it is a gesture to connect with the deity they believe in.  But it is one that God forbade His people to do, because he knew that it harmed them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but that also back then it could have led to further harm through infections.  There is also a biblical example of self harm being connected to demonic influence.  Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit.  He lived among the tombs, could not be subdued (even by chains), cried out day and night and cut himself with stones.

This must have been a teenager.

That last comment was not really meant to be a joke.  I see kids all the time that suffer under the same darkness- they go in and out of the tombs, either literally by spending time in a cemetery, or figuratively by thinking about and idolizing death on a regular basis.  They are trapped in a culture of death.  Many teenagers cannot be held down or made to think a certain way- if any shackled are placed on them they typically refuse them and shake them off.  And many, many adolescents cry out night and day from the pain they feel, and do not know any other way to deal with it, so they cut themselves.

But what can we do?

To begin subverting this dark power, we have to care enough to step into the pain of others.  Not tell them to suck it up.  Not say they are just wanting attention.  And definitely not just ignoring them.  Learn about what they are dealing with.  You can get some knowledge about this from To Write Love On Her Arms (www.twloha.com) But, beyond these things, it is important that people who self-harm know that they do not have to hurt themselves to deal with their pain- someone else has felt their pain, and He has stepped in front of the blade for them.  Subvert the powers today.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.

Isaiah 53: 3-5

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Subversion of the Day- Be a Friend to Somebody

Friendship is a strong sign of the Kingdom come.  Christ even said that there was no greater love than that someone would lay down their life for their friends.  And really, that was Christ’s purpose- to lay down His life to make us friends of God.  And by proxy, friends of each other.  But for some reason, those of us who love revolution, who love waging war against the forces of darkness and corruption in this world don’t always see that friendship really changes anything.

However, friendship changes everything.

To really be someone one’s friend, means that you are willing to lay down your life for them.  If we are talking about bullets, most say that they will jump in front of the oncoming onslaught to save the life of the one’s they love.  They would be willing to die for that person, no questions asked.

But what if you are the one firing the gun?

See, we sometimes through ideas, accusations, obstacles, and an assortment of other nasty things that start with vowels at those we love, and refuse to be the one to stop those bullets.  Or, maybe we stop before that.  Maybe we refuse to love our friends, and fire it will.  (I like Will, whoever he is.  I don’t want to shoot him.)  I have experienced some who suggest that those in ministry (and also in the social work field) should avoid “enmeshment,” which means to get to connected with a person you are having a semi-intimate, professional relationship with.   But Christ is not a model for such an activity.  He did a whole bunch of enmeshin’; he spent most of His time with His disciples, ate with them, walked with them, probably had to run away from a few conflicts with them.  The greatest example of being enmeshed?  Yep, He died for them, even when they ran scared from dying, and left Him alone.  Some friends.

Christ was enmeshed.

And His cry to us is “Come, follow me” and “Take up my cross.”  So what does this look like in practice?  It depends on the two persons and their situation on specifics, but really the focus is to make a person a part of your family.  Eat with them.  Laugh and cry with them.  Be honest and gentle with them.  Be willing to listen to their stupid, repeated stories and their struggles.

Die for them.

Friendship will help us see the foundations and the walls of the Kingdom of God.  Subvert the powers today.

Love consists in this: not that we loved God,

but that He loved us and sent His Son

to be the propitiation for our sins.  

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.

 No one has ever seen God.

If we love one another,

 God remains in us and His love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:-12