WE HUMANS have a strong instinct for survival. If not, we wouldn’t have lasted for so long. While human life is fragile, we’re incredibly tenacious as well.
But sometimes, our instincts get distorted and lead us down a dark path. When our instinct for survival is driven by denial, the results can be disastrous.
We see the damage done when parents deny their children’s struggles. We see people ignoring signs of illness until it’s too late. We see others making bad decisions again and again until they’re left destitute.
Nobody likes to feel pain. Nobody wants to suffer. But when we avoid suffering at all costs, we eventually pay a high price. And we can end up ignoring the suffering of others as well.
Still, shouldn’t we feel compassion for someone with a deep past wound? If they live in denial to cope with their pain, how can we blame them?
If you’ve been hurt, why in the world would you want more suffering?
So you look the other way. You say it’s not that bad. You tell yourself nothing’s wrong at all. You just don’t want it to hurt anymore.
Who can blame you? In the end, denial is your survival mode.
Still, there’s that voice inside, isn’t there? A voice that says, no, no, it’s not alright. Not at all.
Something is wrong. It’s unfair. Unjust. Unhealthy.
There’s a big problem eating away at your life.
But that fierce, genetically programmed instinct to survive, driven by fear, is a powerful beast.
For years, it can silence that inner voice crying out for freedom, healing, and mercy.
No matter how hard you try though, you feel it. We all do. In our heart of hearts we know the truth. And sometimes the truth hurts.
So what’s your answer? Should you go rushing to embrace the pain? How long can you live on the borrowed time of denial? How can you live truthfully?
When it comes to denial, psychologists provide some solid advice. They say to:
– Honestly examine what you fear.
– Think about the negative consequences of not taking action.
– Allow yourself to express your fears and emotions.
– Identify distorted beliefs about your situation.
– Write about your experience.
– Talk to a trusted friend or loved one.
– Join a support group.
All of these can certainly help. Unhealthy denial can be overcome with time. Still, sooner or later, you must face the truth. Yes, it can be scary and painful. But the truth will set you free.
And what’s one of the greatest truths?
The truth is God is merciful.
I believe if we start there, with the mercy of God, we have a much better chance at dealing with our denial.
Now by mercy, I don’t mean that God waves a magic wand to take away the pain. His mercy goes much deeper.
You see, our Creator isn’t interested in punishing you for your mistakes or failures.
Instead, God’s all consuming interest is your salvation.
Jesus Christ gave absolutely everything to prove this to us. He held nothing back. His work on the cross is definitive.
The Lord will never deny your history, your hurt, or your pain. And he fully places himself in your reality with you.
When faced with crucifixion and death, Jesus did not go into survival mode. He went into Savior mode.
And when you gaze upon the cross of Christ, you know that he will never leave your side.
He goes the distance with you. No matter how much it hurts, he is there until the end.
You can place all your fears and pain into his wounds.
This is not some kind of psychological trick. Instead it’s the true, supernatural grace of God.
The wounds of Christ have the power to heal you and free you.
From there, the Lord guides you through the darkest of nights, the most difficult times, the most painful and shameful situations. He shows you, this is not the end.
He holds you tight as you face your fears. His Spirit gives you clarity and courage to see where you’ve gone wrong and where you can change.
His forgiveness opens the door to your salvation.
So let it all out, all your insecurities and fears, O child of God. Set aside your pride.
Release it all into his wounds.
There you will find a spacious place.
Come. See. He is risen.
Place your finger in his wounded hands and side and believe. This is the will of God the Father.
The Lord our God will never deny those who cry out to him and believe.
. . . . . . .
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”John 6:39-40
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