The pain is so real. The pain is so intense. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain from traumatic events can cause people to do many things to try to escape, numb, or cope with the pain they are feeling. A person may turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, cutting, denial, anger, and other self-destructive behaviors. Numbing the pain with drugs, alcohol or other ungodly coping mechanisms to try to alleviate the pain can lead to addiction. However, the Lord is the only One who can bring true, lasting freedom and healing from the pain.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)
Traumatic events include betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, domestic violence, divorce, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. As traumatic situations become more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, cause physical illness.
Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes disabling, amounts of primary and secondary pain and trauma.
Trauma is energy. It comes at us like a blow to a bone. That bone can receive a hair-line fracture, a splintering, a complete break or several breaks depending on the force behind the blow. Emotional and spiritual trauma have similar effects on our hearts, minds and spirits. The effects from traumatic events that do not receive healing will steadily distract our focus and drain our energy away from reaching our God-given destinies. The pain from trauma will fester and eventually erupt like a volcano if it is not released and the damage is not healed.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious result of extreme traumatic events. It is not just limited to veterans of war, although there are a high percentage of veterans suffering with horrific PTSD symptoms. Many more people are living with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than anyone realizes. PTSD is a real illness. It can develop after living through or seeing a life-threatening, traumatic event. PTSD makes a person feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or night terrors, feeling alone, and panic attacks. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a terrifying event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later. PTSD can lead to all of the ungodly coping behaviors mentioned above and that last, most self-destructive action of suicide.
Current traumatic situations can, and often do, bring the emotional pain of similar past traumatic experiences to the surface. We were meant to love God with whole, not broken, hearts. We cannot do that when the pain and trauma are constantly bombarding our hearts and spirits.
Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)
The pain can also cause us to wear an emotional “mask” around others. We don’t want others to see how deeply we are hurting. Many people just don’t know how to cope. They may try to get help, but it may be unsuccessful, or even cause more damage. So, they may eventually turn to wearing a “mask,” not letting anyone know how severely brokenhearted they are—not letting anyone know the level of pain that they are carrying. However, the more they wear that “mask,” the more the “mask” becomes part of who they are! The following poem by Helen Joseph, The Mask, addresses this very well.
Always a mask
Held in the slim hand,
Always she had a mask
Before her face–
Smiling and sprightly,
Truly the wrist
Holding it lightly
Fitted the task:
Was there a shiver,
Ever so slightly–
Holding the mask?
For years and years and
Years I wondered
But dared not ask.
I looked behind,
Behind the mask
Nothing–She had no face.
She had become
Merely a hand
Holding a mask
I have quoted the above poem during Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry seminars and workshops for many years. There has always been a very strong reaction to the poem from those in attendance. Many people can relate to wearing am emotional mask/false face. It is not socially acceptable to wear our pain on our sleeves—to let it be known to others. Unfortunately—very unfortunately—in Christian churches, there is an enormous amount of emotional and spiritual pain being carried by believers, and they are afraid to be real with anyone. They have been hurt too much. They may have been spiritually abused and deeply wounded by professing Christians. They don’t want to take a chance that it will happen again and understandably so.
When we go to a church service and look around, we will normally see rows and rows of people wearing their emotional masks. If we ask them how they are doing, they will answer, “I’m doing fine. I’m doing good. I am blessed.” Yes, Christians are blessed because Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we can spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. However, life on this earth is difficult to say the least. It is not a bed of roses even for, and sometimes especially for, Christians. We have all experienced emotional pain and trauma.
The answer, however, is not to walk around wearing a mask! The answer is not to worry about what others will think. Our Most High God is the only One we need to please. Wearing “masks” does not please Him. If we please Him, then we will be pleasing those people He wants us to please. We cannot do that while wearing an emotional mask!
Instead of continuing to wear an emotional mask/false face that will draw us deeper and deeper into isolation from our Most High God and other people, we need to find someone with whom we can share our deepest pain. We need to allow that emotional mask to come off. We need to be careful, because as many of us have discovered, not everyone is safe. However, we can ask a trustworthy, Christian friend or family member if they know a safe believer who can help us receive freedom in Biblical ways. We must reach out and not isolate ourselves in order to receive the inner healing we need.
The LORD is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).
Psalm 34:18 (AMP)
Healing for our pain requires that we take the first step and sincerely ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We must obey God’s Word and repent for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was a huge price paid for our freedom and healing, and we need to honor it by being honest with our Most High God and genuine in our confession of faith.
Jesus Christ can release and heal our pain and trauma!
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
Luke 4:18 (NKJV)
JESUS is always safe! We need to talk to Him. We must pray and listen for His response. He will lead us and guide us on the healing path that we need to follow for the specific pain and trauma that we have experienced.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)
May the Lord Jesus bless you as you seek His healing and freedom from pain and trauma. I pray that your heart will be open to receiving that healing and freedom and that nothing will stop you from pursuing it. I bless you as you determine to stop wearing an emotional mask long enough to get the help you need so that one day you will not have to wear that “mask” ever again. May Jesus Christ strengthen your heart and give you courage. May you see the goodness of the Lord as you remove your mask!