Wash away

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1. Wash away my dread, Lord God,
And take away my pain.

2. Cleanse me of all guilt and sin,
And give me hope again.

3. Wrap me in your loving arms,
So I may feel you near,

4. And fill me with your joy and peace –
Then I will have no fear.

 


References

1. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day (Deuteronomy 28:66; NIV).

There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT).

2. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7; NLT).

Your word is my source of hope (Psalm 119:114; NLT).

3. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27; NLT).

From Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, wrapped in the love of God the father and kept for Jesus Christ (Jude 1:1; NET).

You have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13; NLT).

4. Give me back my joy again (Psalm 51:8; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give you is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13:6; NKJV).

My dilemma

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Introduction

Two people have hurt me badly in the last few weeks. In both cases, after some thought, I was honest with those involved, expressing my response as lovingly as I could. However, they both reacted with anger and blame. Sadly, offering to meet for reconciliation has brought no response.

Since then, I repeatedly go over all that happened, which generates a constant, painful, and exhausting sense of dread.

The crux of my anxiety is that when someone hurts me, I don’t know whether I should speak out, or say nothing. Each approach has different consequences.


What did Jesus say and do?

As always, I look for guidance in Jesus’ teaching and example. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt and injustice, which I find confusing.

Until his arrest, Jesus always spoke the truth in love when people criticised or insulted him. He was, in fact, very direct. His honesty made him a lot of enemies, and contributed to his death.

After his arrest, Jesus said very little, no matter what he was accused of, and how he was treated. This puzzled his captors, perhaps antagonising them even more.

Over the years, I’ve tried both approaches. What happens when I follow Christ’s example in these two, very different, ways?


A. Speaking out

When I “speak the truth in love”, it almost always backfires. The person I’ve been honest with turns on me, angrily blaming me for what I said, even though it was their own hurtful behaviour towards me that I spoke about. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic chronic dread.


B. Saying nothing

When I say nothing, I simply allow the other person to hurt me, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. Without feedback, of course, there is a risk that they may continue to damage me. This makes me feel helpless and powerless, worsening my chronic depression.

Either way, I can easily end up feeling as if life is not worth living.


Forgiveness

Fortunately, Jesus is absolutely clear that whether we speak out or say nothing, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never recognise what they have done, and never say they are sorry.


Conclusion

When people hurt me, I ruminate endlessly about how I responded, and what went wrong. Whether I speak out or say nothing, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health.

Worse still, I also feel guilty for having “caused” the other person to strike back angrily at me, and to hate me from then onwards.

So, when someone hurts me, should I speak out, or say nothing? I still don’t know the answer to this question, which has plagued me all my life. All I can do is to pray for those who hurt me, asking God to guide and heal us all.

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References

Introduction

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9; NLT).


What did Jesus say and do?

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33; NIV).

The leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise (Mark 15:3-5; NLT).

If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).


A. Speaking out

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).


B. Saying nothing

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

You have taken away my companions and my loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7;NIV).

Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? (Job 3:16; NLT).


Forgiveness

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).


Conclusion

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT)

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

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We are sinners

Father,

1. We are sinners –
Please forgive us.
Wash away our guilt
And make us whole.

2. Speak to us,
And help us all to listen.
Heal us, Lord,
In body, mind, and soul.

3. We forgive all those
Who sin against us,
Praying for our enemies
And friends.

4. Help us to bear our cross,
And follow Jesus
Through good and ill, Lord God,
Until life ends.


References

1. We are constant sinners (Isaiah 64:5; NLT).

Forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin (Psalm 51:2; NLT).

2. Let me hear your voice (Song of Songs 2:14; NIV).

O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed (Jeremiah 17:14; NLT).

3. We forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Love your enemies! (Matthew 5:44; NLT).

Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27; NLT).

4. If you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27; NLT).

Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).

Guilt (#2 of 2 linked prayers)

1. At last! I’ve grasped
A fundamental truth:
There’s no need to feel guilty
All the time
For praying, Lord,
However I can manage.

2. There are no other words
That I should say.
All you ask is that I’m real,
And honest,
For otherwise, Lord,
How can we be one?

3. This truth brings gladness,
Inner peace,
And freedom,
For it shows me
That your kingdom, Lord,
Has come.


References

1. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).

3. Worship the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the gift I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT).

Your kingdom come (Luke 11:2; NIV).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Guilt (#1 of 2 linked prayers)

1. At last! I’ve grasped
A fundamental truth:
There’s no need
To feel guilty all the time
For being, Lord,
Exactly as I am.

2. There is no other way
That I should be.
All you ask is that I’m real,
And honest,
For otherwise, Lord,
How can we be one?

3. This truth brings gladness,
Inner peace,
And freedom,
For it shows me
That your kingdom, Lord,
Has come.


References

1. Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

3. Worship the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the gift I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT).

Your kingdom come (Luke 11:2; NIV).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Within

The kingdom of God is within you
(Luke 17:21; NKJV).

1. God isn’t in the whirlwind,
But in our rage and dread.

2. He isn’t in the earthquake,
But in our grief and pain.

3. He isn’t in the firestorm,
But in our guilt and sin –

4. For God is in our darkness:
The still, small voice within.


References

1. Then he said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind… (1 Kings 19:11; NKJV).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

2. …and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake… (1 Kings 19:11; NKJV).

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4; NIV).

3. …and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire… (1 Kings 19:12; NKJV).

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; NLT).

4. Moses approached the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:21, NIV).

…and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; NKJV).

Contemplation

I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love
(Romans 8:38; NLT).

1. To contemplation, Lord,
I bring my body –
My weakness, tiredness,
Restlessness and pain.

2. To contemplation, Lord,
I bring my thinking –
My hidden judgements,
Envy and disdain.

3. To contemplation, Lord,
I bring my feelings –
My sorrow, longing,
Anger, guilt, and fear.

4. To contemplation, Lord,
I bring my spirit –
My faith, and hope, and love,
For you are here.

References

1. The flesh is weak (Mark 14:38; NIV).

2. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away (Psalm 139:2; NLT).

3. The Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; NIV).

4. Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).

God is with us (Matthew 1:23; NLT).

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).

You have blessed my life

Give thanks in all circumstances
(1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

1. Father,
You have blessed my life
With hardship and abuse;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each truth.

2. Father,
You have blessed my life
With suffering and pain;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each gain.

3. Father,
You have blessed my life
With sorrow, grief and loss;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
Lord, thank you for each cross.

4. Father,
You have blessed my life
With guilt, regret, and shame;
You’ve given me so much to learn:
I praise your glorious name.

References

1. God has seen your abuse (Genesis 31:42; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you (Psalm 25:5; NLT).

2. You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and life me up from the depths of the earth (Psalm 71:20; NLT).

3. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised (Job 1:21; NIV).

4. I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:3; NIV).

O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! (1 Chronicles 29:13; NLT).

Love is all

1. Father God,
I melt into your strength,
Where there is neither weakness,
Fear, nor pain.

2. Father God,
I melt into your mind,
Where there is neither striving,
Sin, nor stain.

3. Father God,
I melt into your heart,
Where there is neither hatred,
Guilt, nor gall.

4. Father God,
I melt into your soul,
Where we are one in love,
And love is all.

References

1. The Lord is glorious and strong (1 Chronicles 16:28; NLT).

2. The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NIV).

3. God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

4. All who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).