Suffering That Hurts vs. Suffering That Helps

suffering that hurts -- suffering that helps -- man alone suffering

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My original post on this topic concluded with these lines:

Both living in truth and living in falsehood bring suffering.

In my next post, I’ll talk about why the suffering that truth brings is better.

Have you ever had a terrible, miserable, horrible, awful experience that, when it’s over, you look back on it and say, “That was beyond horrible– but I wouldn’t trade it for anything”?

Most people have.

Severe illness of yourself or illness/death of a loved one.

A major business/financial failure.

A divorce.

To live is to have horrible experiences, to go through stuff that really, really sucks.

It sucks away your passion.

It sucks away your enthusiasm and joy.

For a while, it sucks away a lot of what you have always recognized as your life.

But when you look back on those experiences and know you wouldn’t trade them for anything, that’s because they were redemptive. Something good came out of them. You know you’re better for all the suffering you did.

You’re better. Or stronger. Or wiser. Or more compassionate. Or deeper. Or gentler. Or more humble, or calm, or patient, or honest.

You’re just better.

Often suffering isn’t in our control, but sometimes it is.

And anytime you  have a choice in the matter, always choose redemptive suffering over non-redemptive suffering.

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“The Spirit in You”
by David Flowers/Wildwind Community Church

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Sermon Podcast
May 25, 2014

In the first of two stand-alone messages, Dave looks at Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit.

When you talk to true combat veterans very few remain “Gung-Ho” after seeing combat…they carry tremendous guilt even though many times there was no choice to their actions…killing ALWAYS damages the person doing the killing .

It’s the same with hatred and anger…it will consume your life if you let it…even if you were a victim and have every right to your anger…at some point you have to decide that the way to a peaceful life…a life of true meaning and rich experiences is love and forgiveness….not hatred and anger. It’s just the way it is. That’s nature (I believe divine nature). It does not matter if we/you believe it….it is TRUE…it is the way we are built.

“You cannot break the laws of nature….you can only break yourself against them.”

The Reality That Is Making Me More Liberal (theologically)

Crowd of People -- working with people

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People who don’t work with people day in and day out, in the trenches of their lives, can afford to philosophize about people, to make up abstractions, and talk about the rightness/wrongness of people in philosophical terms, holding people up to their abstractions and deciding who fits and who is lacking and how so.

But in all my years working with people, for example, I’ve never seen “homosexuality.” Never once.

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My Confession

my confession - man praying before cross

I have a confession to make.

I see grace growing in my life.

I see an ability growing in my life to withstand loss and suffering. I don’t love it, but I can do it, and I do not fear it.

I see growing in my life, imperfectly but perceptibly, the capacity to be criticized and respond with unforced kindness and love.

I see in my life the beginnings of a genuine love and care for the one person I have never been able to love. Me.

I also see in my life areas of deep brokenness and darkness, with perhaps more clarity than I have ever seen them before. And yet they do not depress or discourage me, as I know one day they too will be forgiven, redeemed, and brought into the light.

I know this does not come from me, because it started at the very moment I ran out of me and seemingly had nothing left at all.

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