Pain can be a powerful motivator feeding into our thoughts. As with many aspects of life, pain is diverse in nature and caused by a host of possible sources. Unfortunately, pain of any kind is memorable. In our humanity, it is not uncommon for our whole being: physically, emotionally, and spiritually, to hold onto pain and resists letting go. While we are blessed to live in a time where many aids exist to assist us with pain relief, there is no magic pill that fixes all. I suggest that pains of the heart are not only the worst, but they can be the most difficult to deal with.
Secret pain, self-condemnation, loss of dignity, guilt, repeated memory replay, unforgiveness, anger, abuse, and harmful desires, can all become the inner pains which scar the heart. Left unattended these can dominate our thoughts with devastating consequences. While Christians are not exempt from the pains of life, they do have God’s resources at their disposal to manage and even conquer such pains.
Solomon acknowledges that the heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy (Proverbs 14:10). There can be a world of activity happening within our hearts, and no-one else may know of it. The reality for most of us, is that even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief (Proverbs 14:13). The heart is complex, it’s secretive, and its relationship with our thoughts carry self-appointed authority which often oversteps healthy boundaries. Consequently, emotional scars can form lasting disfigurement of the heart if unresolved conflict is permitted.
Realise that Jesus Christ wants to step into this messy thing called the heart. He comes with understanding and the capacity to bring healing, restoration, and hope. The starting point of all Christian inner restoration is the Cross of Jesus Christ. Realise that when you come to Jesus Christ with a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, …God …will not despise or reject you (Psalm 51:17). Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:29, take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Christ enables us to forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). Forgiveness is powerful to heal inner scars, and we govern the implementation of forgiveness with our thoughts. Having received forgiveness, we pass that same forgiveness onto others in Jesus’ name. When memories of past hurts resurface, we surrender them to forgiveness, entrusting others into God’s care and His judgement.
With our thoughts, we choose to forgive and walk in love which restores worship and dignity. The love of God re-energises our weakness, it re-prioritises our heart, and seeks to communicate in recognisable ways. Love is remarkably therapeutic for everyone, but it takes thought to put it into action. So, we choose to love one another… to outdo one another in showing honour, …to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer… and to contribute to the needs of the saints. Being forgiven and loved ourselves, we bless those who persecute… we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, and we endeavour to live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:10-16).
Informing thoughts to comply to a more Christlike pattern also enables us to seek assistance from others. Be it medical, counselling, friendship, or guidance, but help is often needed and always involves others. This is because we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another (Romans 12:5). Jesus Christ heals painful hearts and corrects painful thoughts when we invite Him to transform and renew our minds (Rom 12:2).