Tag Archives: emotional hurt

4 Things the story of Judah teaches us to keep in mind when dealing with pain and fear

The story of Judah (Joseph’s brother) and his family in the book of Genesis interrupts the telling of the saga of Joseph. In Genesis 38, we read how Judah got married and then gave birth to three sons. How his first born, Er, was killed because of his wickedness – thereby making his wife, Tamar, a widow. It also tells how Judah’s second son, Onan, perished because he did not want to give his brother an heir through Tamar, whom he had married after Er’s death.  

It is at this juncture in the story that Judah sends his daughter in-law away until his third son was adequately grown (Genesis 38:11). This is how he dealt with his pain!

Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house – Genesis 38:11

 As we would later find out, Judah never planned on giving his third son, Shelah to Tamar as a husband but simply wanted to be rid of her! Why? Genesis 38:11 tells reveals that he was afraid for the life of Shelah – his third and last remaining offspring.

Of the many things that can be drawn out from the interesting incidents that occurred in the family of Judah (read Genesis 38), here are four key lessons this passage of scripture teaches us about pain and fear.

Pain has a tendency to blame

Just like any of us would be, Judah was grieved with the loss of his first son. Seeing Tamar’s pain and wanting to do right by her, he decided to give her as a wife to his second son, Onan. When Onan died, Judah – who did not understand why his sons died – started to search for answers.

Without any clear cut answers, all he could manage to do in his hurt was make the connection that his two sons’ had been with the same woman (Tamar) prior their death. As a result, he erroneously blamed her for their deaths and shamed her by sending her away! His pain turned Tamar into a monster! Here is what we can learn from this:

No lasting decision should be made when we are hot, hurt, and emotional

Pain leads us to think the worst about people

Hurt people end up hurting other people (especially the ones closest to them)

 

Pain turns coincidence into root cause

James Whitcomb Riley famously said ‘When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck’. While deductive reasoning is powerful, it can lead to the wrong conclusion if the base assumption behind the reasoning is wrong.

For example, the assumption we are making about James Riley is that he has studied birds and that he knows exactly what a duck walks like, swims like, and quacks like. If he does not know exactly what a duck walks like nor knows exactly how a duck swims, then what he thought sounded like a duck may have been someone using a duck caller!

Back to the story, just because Tamar was the wife of both of Judah’s son’s when they died does not mean she caused the deaths. What did Judah think – that Tamar had some sin that held her responsible for his son’s death? Hmm!

Here are some things to consider prior to assigning a root cause when dealing with pain:

Just because something is factual does not mean it is truthful.

Logic will always lead to the wrong assumption if the starting assumption behind the logic is not true

Correlations does NOT prove causation

Fear always leads to deceitfulness

Judah was afraid for the life of his third son. As a result, he lied to Tamar about his intentions to give him to her in marriage. I am sure Judah justified his deceitfulness by convincing himself that what he was doing was what any other parent would do. He was trying to protect his son, right? Wrong!

In truth, all he was doing was trying to protect himself from the pain of losing another son. He never asked his son what he wanted, even after his son had grown up. In truth, his actions were ‘self’ motivated; what he was trying to do was protect himself – not his son.

Unfortunately for him, what he did not know was that he was protecting himself from the wrong problem. The problem was not Tamar, but was the unrighteousness of his sons. But fear blinded all of that away and led him to make a promise to Tamar that he never had any intentions of keeping.

A person who cannot keep his/her promise is a person who is looking out for his/her own self-interest

A person who cannot seem to tell the truth is a person who is fearful. Get to the source of the fear and deal with it, and you would have dealt with the habit of lying

 

Fear leads to having double-standards

Judah’s response of ‘bring her out and let her be burned’ when he was told of Tamar’s immorality smacks of having double-standards. While he was perfectly okay with his unrighteousness, her unrighteousness deserved nothing short of death. ‘How dare she shame me like this’, he must have thought to himself! He forgot about the time he had shamed her by sending her away from his house and from her family!

This attitude of ‘burn her for what she did, but never mind what I did’ is rampant in people living with fear. Why? It is because fear loves to the take the focus off itself and put it on other things. Fear loves to remain hidden and will out forward any distraction so it is not discovered. It loves to quickly point the finger of blame without ever finding fault.

A person living in fear considers others only for as long as it benefits them

Fearfulness will always lead to selfishness; selfishness will always lead to broken relationships

Has pain and fear caused you to become someone you are not? If this is you, there is freedom in God today. Refuse to allow pain and hurt to control your life today. Instead give it to Jesus – the one who took away all our pains and fear and made freedom and love available to you – and allow His Spirit to control your life through His word.

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Guard Your Heart – What it does Not Mean!

If you have attended church for any considerable amount of time, you have probably come across the statement ‘guard your heart’.  

If you tell me that it means we are to guard our hearts away from people who may hurt us, then I beg to differ. Jesus certainly did not adhere to that interpretation in that He chose to have fellowship with a traitor called Judas and in that all twelve disciples betrayed Him by scattering after His arrest. If Jesus was trying to guard Himself from hurt, He would not have chosen any disciples to follow Him. If He was so worried about being hurt and looked for perfection, He would not have found it and He would have had to go it alone. If He had gone it alone, then there would have been no one to give the Great Commission! Hence, no disciples = no believers today.

Light-bulb moment: When we guard our hearts away from hurt and so block people away, we open our heart to being alone, being depressed, and missing out on God’s best.

See, Jesus was not looking for the perfect heart (a heart that would not hurt Him) but was looking for hearts open to chasing after perfection. He understood that since only God’s heart is perfect, some level of hurt is inevitable when dealing with man!

Like Jesus, we need to make our peace with that right now. If we are dealing with man, we are likely to be hurt to some degree whether the person meant to do it or not. But most people I know do not desire to hurt people. Most people I know hurt people out of weakness rather than out of wickedness! We must know the difference just as Jesus did for Jesus separated Himself from those who had a wicked heart (Pharisees) but did not separate Himself from those who had a weak heart (His disciples, Tax collectors).

Light-bulb moment: Wickedness welcomes evil (falsehood) but weakness simply loses to evil.  

How was Jesus able to stand being hurt by those who had a weak heart? He was able to because He understood that the individual simply lost his/her battle against the forces of darkness they were fighting. He understood that His gripe and anger was not against the individual who did whatever they did to hurt Him, but against the powers and principalities ruling them (Ephesians 6:12).

Now we see why Jesus remained so calm with Judas. Jesus knew that Satan had entered Judas (Luke 22:3) and so Judas’s actions were now being controlled by Satan. While Jesus was no doubt angry at Satan for deceiving and using Judas, He felt sorry for Judas because he was now a puppet under the influence of Satan!

While Satan thought he was using Judas to hurt Jesus, all he did was use Judas to bring to pass the purpose to which Jesus was called! Simply put, Satan cannot thwart your purpose! Only you can by the way you react to His antics! 

We now see why Jesus was able to say ‘forgive them Father for they do not know what they do’ to those who were crucifying Him. He actually felt compassion for them because they were like silly putty in the hand of Satan – they were actually in bondage. All their actions did was further reinforce why He had to set them free through His death.

Forgiveness is easier when you realize the truth that the person who hurt you was being manipulated by a force that used them as an instrument to hurt you. Consider that the way Satan tries to hurt you most is not by the actions of that person but by the way you react to their actions. Satan wants you to respond in prideful unforgiveness. Why? It is because it gives him room to operate in your life. Do not give him that pleasure but forgive just as God has forgiven you.

Now that Jesus has set us free from the power of Satan, Apostle Paul explains that a struggle still goes on between the Spirit and the flesh (Galatians 5:17). See, the moment we allow the flesh to take over our heart is the moment we have missed the mark (sinned). Moreover, the moment we sin is the moment we hurt God! How glad I am that God does not guard His heart away from us when we sin.

Food for Thought: I cannot truly love if I walk around afraid of being hurt

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