My pastor, The Rev. Frank Briggs, delivers excellent sermons — messages which resonate. This past Sunday, the theme was “Defeating Darkness.” I love this sermon as it is my path to deep-seated joy. If you are searching for peace and happiness, I hope this helps you.
Rev. Briggs is creative and uses attention grabbing mediums. This time, he used made up words. He jokingly told us he was teaching us Greek words.
The first word was de-tend-un-iz-ate.
First, we DEny the pain.
Then we preTEND incidents do not work out the way they actually do. He gave an example of having a bike accident as a kid and jumping back on his bike as if nothing was wrong, when, in fact, he was in great pain.
We tend to rUN from our problems. Some use alcohol, drugs, power to hide their problems. Bitterness is another signal that the person is running from a problem. A bitter person cannot run far enough.
When asked, “How are you?” we minimIZE the underlying issues by responding with a pat, “Fine.”
Then we procrastinATE in dealing with our issues. We buy into the saying – time heals all wounds. He says, “Hogwash! Time makes things worse.”
Then how do we deal with hurts? Since we are beings who like to be in control, we need to own “I am not perfect.” God refreshes our soul:
Psalm 23:3-4 (NIV)
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
If you are like David and keep silent, pretending everything is under control, the more you pretend, the more agony you will be in. When we admit we are not perfect, we are saying we need help. Our heavenly Father is eager to come to our aid.
Psalm 23:5 (NIV)
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Rev. Briggs’ second word was set-ooth-isfy.
Let Jesus SETtle the score. Don’t get even. Trust God to make things right. Sheep depend totally upon the shepherd for protection. They have NO means of self-defense! This is the basis for the symbolism of Christ as our Shepherd and we are the sheep.
Romans 12:17 – 21 (NIV)
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Do not pay evil for evil. Live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge. Be syrupy nice and kind, because, in so doing, you are heaping coals of fire on their heads. Overcome evil with good.
God knows who has hurt you. Are you going to be bitter or better? Bitterness is taking poison and expecting the other person to die. Forgiveness is the solution! The Lord’s Prayer tells us, Forgive us our sins as we forgive others. Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Let Jesus settle the score.
sOOTHe – We read in Psalm 23:5 “You anoint my head with oil.”
We are leaving the flu season and getting into the fly season. Little things irritate us. We want to hold onto our wounds and have a pity party.
Matthew 11:28 – 30 (NIV)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus uses the metaphor of of placing a yoke on us. He promises it is easy and a light burden. Let Jesus soothe your wounds. The church is a place where our wounds are healed. Many of us have deep wounds.
SatISFY – Let Jesus satisfy your need. The last part of Psalm 23:5 reads: My cup overflows. We cannot expect people to fulfill our every need. God knows how to meet our needs. How are we doing with letting God overflow our cup? Be invested in God everyday.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We experience these fruits of the Spirit when we have given everything to God. What have you not let go of? You will have sorrow and bitterness if you don’t release to God. God will deal with whatever hurt you have in your life.