“12 Invalid Ways to Respond to Suffering”
As I write these words, my heart goes out to you who are currently suffering. My heart goes out to you who right now, at this very moment, are experiencing some situations that are ripping your hearts into pieces. I am not writing this article to argue with you or to question the reality of your emotions. On the other hand, you must understand that there is a biblical and non-biblical way of dealing with your pain. I assume that you know enough Bible to know that when we approach problems in a biblical way, even as the pain is not taken away, the end-results and the fruits produced is life in abundance. However, when we deal with things in a non-biblical and carnal way, the end-result is death. God does not justify our sin based on the magnitude of our suffering. With or without pain, His precious righteousness is unchanging. We must ascertain, before we continue, that suffering is not an option, it is a reality that everyone, will face sooner or later.
Today’s days, it can become difficult for a Christian to understand the concept of suffering. In this way, the church is partially responsible. These new born Christians hear pastors speaking of the many blessing that they will receive; the financial freedom that they seek for but never seem to get. They wonder why their life has to be a living hell at times, as they wonder what they are doing wrong. It is almost like the pages dealing with suffering were taken away from the Bibles of many well-known TV personalities. However Romans 8:17 states:
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Yes, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, but there is catch. We must share in his suffering first. Sharing in the suffering of Christ is the key to sharing in His glory. The problem today is that we want the glory, the anointing and the charismatic gifts without the suffering!
The word “Suffering” found in Romans 8:17 is defined as, “To suffer or feel pain together; To suffer evils (troubles, persecutions) in the like manner with another.” This definition gets my attention because it clearly indicates that no matter what we are going through, we are not the only ones going through it. On that note let’s go over a list of 12 erroneous ways to respond to suffering:
1. Constantly complaining to others about what you went through.
One of the fruit of the Spirit is “Patience.” Patience means, “To endure tribulations without complaint.” Complaining about what you went through will resolve absolutely nothing.
2. Blaming others for the suffering; that includes God.
It’s everybody’s fault but yours! Psalm 130:3 tells us, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” Have you ever heard the expression, when we point at someone, there are three fingers pointing at us. When we get a revelation of how sinful we are, we will have no problems in looking at our afflictions with a whole different perspective. We will become responsible for our own actions.
3. Developing a Victim mentality.
This mind-set totally denies God’s redemptive power. 2 Timothy 3:5 tells us that there is group of folk in the church that have a form of godliness, but they deny the power. He ends this verse by encouraging us to turn away from them. To deny God’s power is an insult to the Holy Spirit. We are called to be more than over comers, not victims.
4. Developing a sense of entitlement.
At this stage, people that have endured suffering and are responding to it in a non-biblical way; walk around as if everybody owes them something. They walk as if the suffering they endured is the price already paid for all of their wants. This is a total contradiction to Romans 6:23 that established what we really deserve.
5. Filling with rage and anger as the result of your suffering.
Rage and anger are always manifested behavior that results from an unresolved sin committed against you. Rage and anger is a clear indicator that there is a deep pain in your heart. Every time that you are placed in a situation or obligated into dealing with people that remind you of that hurt, you will retaliate in anger.
People with non-forgiving hearts are constantly bringing the hurt they suffered into a conversation. They use that transgression against them as a VIP pass to always bring up the past when their carnality is confronted. This is a total contradiction of Scripture. As we forgive we are encouraged to never bring that issue up and to seek reconciliation for that relationship. Non-forgiveness, no matter the offense you suffered, is a sin that will keep you bound up and non-productive in God’s kingdom.
Because of your great suffering, all you can focus on is “self” and what “self” wants. Everything becomes about you and your needs.
8. Insensitivity to the suffering of others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 makes a powerful statement that establishes how a non-biblical life means to focus on us so much that we become insensitive to the suffering and needs of others:
|“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
|who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
One of the most powerful reasons for suffering is indeed for us to be able to help others in their tribulation. Suffering is part of our training for ministering to the afflicted. You are so used to viewing yourself as a martyr that that you are un-able to see the pain of others.
9. A Judgmental Spirit.
So, what else is out there to do when you are hurting? You judge others, you tear them down. Judgmental people have no mercy and no compassion. This kind of attitude totally contradicts Matthew 12:7.
10 Mistrust; that includes God.
Because of all the hurt; it is very hard for people to trust again. That mistrust is against God, also. It is very difficult for people at this level to move with faith. Behind mistrust is a great deal of fear to be hurt again. Mistrust becomes a fragile shield.
11. A Negative Spirit.
It is very difficult for a person without faith to be positive. Usually people at this level are known for being very negative people.
12. Ineptness and/or unwillingness to see the work of the Holy Spirit in other people.
People at this level are in the business of tearing down. They are bitter and they can’t or won’t see the work of the Holy Spirit on anybody, especially the person that caused him/her pain.