One of the assignments in my Introduction to Counseling class was to write a short paper about any particular heart issue that I would have difficulty addressing with a counselee because of my own personal struggle with that issue. After some reflection, I concluded that I would have difficulty addressing any heart issue with a counselee because I really didn’t understand how my own heart worked. I was a mystery to myself.
God must have read my paper because He immediately enrolled me in His own custom-designed, progressive program through which He would show me how my heart functioned—and malfunctioned. Through a season of trial and difficulty I began to see the multiplied effects of my heart dysfunction as if I was watching my heart’s control panel light up with fault warnings. But I had no idea why all those warning lights were flashing at me.
It was John Eldredge who first introduced me to the unseen operation of “wounds, lies, and agreements.” We experience a painful event in our lives—like a betrayal—and the enemy whispers a lying interpretation of that painful experience. “No one can be trusted, so don’t ever trust anyone.” And, deep down in our hearts, we agree with the lie. We begin living from our betrayal wound. We start living from the lie. The troubling effects will manifest, even while the root cause remains hidden from us. The enemy operates in stealth, and we are often unaware of what’s going on in the deep places of our hearts.
Here’s what I learned about heart wounds from my own experience:
- We can’t ignore them, reason with them, or silence them.
- There is no toolbox of strategies or principles we can use to fix them. Mechanical problems can be fixed. Heart wounds must be healed.
- There is no First Aid kit we can use to treat our own wounds. We will need to bring our wounds into safe community.
- Recognition of our wound is not healing. It’s the beginning of a process.
- Wounds hold us captive. Healing sets us free.
- Jesus desires to heal our wounds and release our hearts from captivity. As we cooperate with the Liberator we will find liberation.
The pathway to the bright light of healing leads us through deep darkness. We’ll follow that path next time.