Years ago, while milking the family dairy cow, a rather mean-spirited Holstein, she would quickly step on my foot before I had a chance to move. Since this happened quite a number of times, it’s probably the cause of arthritis problems in my feet today. One had to push her off balance to remove the smashed foot.
Of course, a self examination of that throbbing foot took place as soon as the milking session was finished. I could walk with a limp and painfully move the toes at will, so it was assumed everything was okay. And it actually was okay for years — until the arthritis set in.
Sometimes we get hurt in our spiritual life by someone else’s actions or by some uncontrollable incident. We might look at our hurt feelings and sullenly figure we’ll live through it. We can go to work and maintain a good outward appearance. But, the hurt festers. There’s no real healing, even though the spiritual pain is covered up. We have no way to heal the hurt by ourselves.
As our spiritual wounds fester, they become as the gangrene of hatred, jealousy, and bitterness. Without the healing love of our Great Physician, we can only spiral downward in self-pity to our eternal ruination.
The Apostle John offers us some strong medicine, if we are willing to take it. He says in 1 John 1:5-10,
“And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
These words are an all-encompassing medicine. They include healing for all of life’s pains. Let’s look at the ingredients of John’s spiritual medicine.
1. Only God can light our way to see godly solutions to life’s problems. God will not fool us into sinful “solutions”. Therefore, we can trust God’s love in His word to guide us. If the way we try to assuage our hurts is contrary to the Bible, it is not the solution from our Lord.
2. If we want God’s forgiveness, we can’t be hypocrites. We must practice His command to love. We might be able to fool people into thinking we’re living godly lives, but there is not one soul that can fool God. We can’t afford to lie to God, so just don’t.
3. Loving as God loves will put us in a right fellowship with one another in Christ. In other words, we will see that we are all sinners. Understanding that our sins condemn us just as easily as our neighbors’ sins condemn them, helps us see that God loves our neighbor just as He loves us. To get rid of bitterness, love as we are loved by God.
4. Nobody wants to be caught in a downright lie. But, if we feel that we are pretty good Joes and not deserving of hell’s fire, we are deceiving ourselves. That kind of deception mimics Satan, and that’s scary.
5. And then comes true salvation. Honest confession causes God to forgive our every sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That’s a miracle. Look at it. True confession and repentance brings sure forgiveness. Then it brings cleansing from all that hatred, jealousy, and bitterness. What a relief!
6. Finally, the Apostle John notes that a refusal to confess is actually calling God a liar. True Christians don’t call God a liar.
The bottom line? We all need to examine our hurts in life, confess our sins, accept God’s forgiveness, and honestly live in the light of His love, so that we may be truly healed unto eternal life.