Tag Archives: grace

031 – Resolving Unresolved Guilt

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Unresolved guilt and shame can quietly suck the life out of us.  It can be a silent killer of our hope, relationships, and even life itself.

Until this point in our series we have mostly dealt with the trauma of the actions others have had on us.  The injuries we endured.  But there can be another side of Post-Traumatic Stress.  The side that is tied to our own actions or inaction.

Today we dedicate this episode to this topic and all who are carrying a heavy burden of guilt or shame.  There is hope!

Psychology can try to resolve these issues.  Scientist can explain some of the neurochemicals involved.  However, there is more.

Today I am sharing as a Christian that has experienced the mercy of God in my own life.  I am sharing from my heart as a chaplain, pastor and priest.

People experience guilt for things done and sometimes things left undone.  It can be powerful and if left unresolved can lead us down an even darker path.

We may have done things we dare not speak of to others.  Things that violate our internal sense of right and wrong.  Things that haunt us in our sleep.  Things that are slowly torturing and twisting our souls.

As it is hidden it grows and takes on a life of its own.  We can lose perspective and may things irrational thoughts about our actions.

Since we dare not speak of it, we may not see a good way to deal with it—let alone resolve the conflict.  This can be a source of isolation.  It can turn into anger, hatred, fear and self-loathing.  We may seek to quiet the guilt with alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other destructive behavior.

Part of the solution is to bring it to light.  But, how?  With who?  In some cases, if certain people found out, there may even be legal ramifications.  Another may think, “If people know what I did…they would hate me…think bad of me…

Consider the story of King David in the Bible.  He took the Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his soldiers on the front lines and got her pregnant.  He called Uriah home so that he would spend time with her to cover up his betrayal and indiscretion.  However, Uriah was so dedicated that he refused to stay with his wife.  Then David sent Uriah back to the front and give the order that Uriah should be abandoned to be killed by the enemy.  Wow!  Who could come back from that?

From this we end up seeing a man who turns back to God.  This is repentance, change, captured in Psalm 51.

Most of us probably cannot relate to King David for the specifics of what he did.  We may, however, be able to relate to doing something that at another time we would find unthinkable.

In war unthinkable things may be done.  Taking the life of another, even when justified by the rules of war, leaves a scar on the soul.  A much worse scar may be left if things that go beyond that are done by us or those around us.

In many Christian traditions there is something called confession (or reconciliation).  I prefer the term reconciliation.  In these traditions it is considered a “sacrament”.  These are moments and situations where God and interacts with us in a special and sacred way.  For these traditions, including my own, things confessed in this context are absolutely sealed.

Penance, as part of reconciliation, is not about earning forgiveness.  It is not about atoning for our sins.  Rather, it is about taking actions to help our heart and mind conform to who we are created to be.

Consider the Apostle Paul.  He once went about arresting, trying and voting to have followers of Jesus Christ executed for their faith.  Then Paul, then called Saul, encountered this same Jesus and his life was radically transformed.  Paul became the writer of most of what we call the New Testament part of the Bible.

I often hear the claim that people do not change.  Perhaps this is true.  At least part true.  We may not be able to change on our own; but God working in us can transform us from what we were to what we were created to be.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici on freedigitalphotos.net

018 – Healing PTSD: The Role of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness

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There are many parts and paths involved in any healing process.  Post-Traumatic Stress is no different.  We have to address physical, psychological and spiritual need.  Some aspects of these needs we all share in common.  Other aspects may be unique each of us.

The ideas of grace, mercy, repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness are part of the PTSD healing process.  To one extent or another these concepts impart our lives and our recovery process.

In this episode we will,

  • Go beyond the dictionary definition to practical application in a spiritual and healing context. (Dictionary referenced: www.merrian-webster.com)
  • Discuss the relationship between repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness: what it is not

Question: Is it ever right to not forgive someone?

Request: If you have been blessed by any of our programs.  Please drop us a line and let us know.  Leave a comment, a voice message via Speak Pipe or send an e-mail to david(at)HealingTheWoundsOfWar(dot)com

(Scriptures referenced: Romans 5:8; Matthew 18:21-35)

Ash Wednesday and Lent… What is the big deal?

Cross AshA Special post for; (a) those that follow Christ; (b) interested in Christian spirituality; (c) anyone curious about Christian history, teaching and tradition.

Many Christians all over the world are entering a season of the Church year called Lent.  In short, it is a time to remember our frailty and God’s gifts, goodness and offer for a new life in Christ.  It is a time of reflection and taking inventory of our life and actions.  This is not for the point of beating up on our selves, or others.  Rather it is on opportunity to let go of the past and things that weigh us down.

For those of us dealing with painful experiences and memories it is an opportunity to experience the power and freedom found in the act of repentance and offering and receiving forgiveness.  So Lent can also be a time of healing, even healing the wounds of war.

The following is a quote from the late Robert Webber on the practice of Lent.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps 51:10 KJV).

Ash Wednesday is the service and Lent is the season for repentance from phony Christianity, pretend spirituality, and words without works Christian living. The Holy Spirit uses the Lenten focus as a tool to open our hearts which have grown calloused through selfishness and pride. Throughout the busy year, we become spiritually dull and unapologetically self-absorbed. Our attitudes and actions are insensitive to others’ needs and disobedient to God’s call to life and holiness.

Ash Wednesday stops us in our tracks and reminds us that we are but dust and to dust we shall return. Dust can’t demand, dust can’t argue, dust can’t exalt itself, and dust can’t boast. Dust needs God to have life and only in God can these “jars of clay” minister life (Gen. 2:7, Job 42:6, Eccles. 3:20, Ezekiel 37:4, 2 Cor. 4:7). Ash Wednesday reminds us that we are nothing but dust, muck, and mire without the crucified and risen Jesus.

“We too easily forget our Maker and Redeemer; replacing God with things and ambition. Lent is the season that does something about this situation. It calls us back to God, back to the basics, back to the spiritual realities of life. It calls us to put to death the sin and the indifference we have in our hearts toward God and our fellow persons.

And it beckons us to enter once again into the joy of the Lord–the joy of a new life born out of a death to the old life. That is what Ash Wednesday is all about–the fundamental change of life required of those who would die with Jesus and be raised to a new life in him.”

Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004), pg 99.