At the last “wild man” Saturday, I shared honestly with the men, that I had been in a cave, or an abyss, as I called it in an earlier blog. I didn’t get very far in, but it was dark enough to give my wife some concern. In my struggle, I continued to cry out to Jesus for grace and mercy. I put my trust in him as best I could. Today I would say that I am at the entrance to the cave, in the sunlight, wanting to move on. I was surprise at the response of the men. I have been the spiritual director of this group for years. So as leader, I should have it together. It was hard for me to humble myself and show my wounds. But it caused a deep sharing by every other man about their own pain and the resulting time in a cave.
I was reminded of Paul’s words in II Cor 1:4-5. “…who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” One of the lessons I am learning from my “cave time” is the realization that God can use my weakness for good. When I am willing to show my “emotional scars” and the help I am receiving from God, it can be used in the life of another men. It is also a good step in humility. Men, I encourage you not to hid your scars.
Listen to what Brennan Manning has to say in this regard, “Christian who remain in hiding continue to live the lie. We deny the reality of our sin. In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds, out of fear or shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. But when we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus.”
I hope this blog can be an encouragement to some man, who is existing in a spiritual and emotional “cave” to be willing to share his pain. To hide is to flee from reality. But as we share our struggle we help other in their struggle. This is what real life is all about. We need to face the pain of our struggles, and not keep it to ourselves. We become “wounded healers,” helping illuminate the road to recovery for someone else.
Matthew West in song entitled “The healing has begun” has a verse that talks about “our beautiful scars.” “There is a world full of people dying from broken hearts, holding unto their guilt thinking they fell too far. So don’t be afraid to show them your beautiful scars. They’re the proof, you’re are the proof.” So don’t hide your scars. Share it for your sake and for someone else who can learn from your story. Don’t waste you pain.