by: Mike Sanderson. For many years a friend has refused to take medication to reduce the pain connected to a sore back. I have observed him hunched over in severe pain and using a cane to help navigate from place to place. He moved only when necessary and relied on bed-rest and Chiropractic care to correct the problem. His refrain has often been, “Pain is your friend.”
He would correctly say, too, that pain alerts us that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. When pain is realized , the wise thing to do is discover the cause and then find the cure, if one is available. Unfortunately there are times when the remedy doesn’t seem worth it; a foul-tasting concoction, for instance, can seem worse than the original problem.
Addictive behavior and other sin bring pain to our lives and those of loved ones, although the actions bring a measure of pleasure. This makes it hard to stop and causes avoidance of people who have confronted the actions. Emotional pain is often felt by all concerned and it can seem worse than physical pain.
The cure for this type of discomfort is much harder than taking medication or staying in bed. Disclosure of the specifics can lead to embarrassment and so is avoided for as long as possible in some situations. Returning to the wrongful behavior sometimes seems as the only way to find relief. This “self-medication” though can bring with it even more shame and guilt and relief is sought once again. What a vicious and diabolical cycle.
Recovery from addiction or sin will not take place until one has felt as much pain as they can stand. From a distance, a transformed life (being born-again) can look and sound good, but seems somewhat painful too – fear will keep a person away as well. Change, then, will be avoided, in large part due to the “self-medication” factor. Again, temporary relief is quite attractive.
Hope is needed to help in the transition. Those of us who have a measure of success, living a transformed life, can provide that hope. We need to pass on the message that the perceived pain of change is less than the actual pain of addiction or sin. When this is discovered and believed, the Recovery process can start. At that time we can fall at the feet of the Lord and let His healing begin.
One final thought. There is wisdom in allowing our loved ones to experience the pain of their wrongful behavior. It is vital that we not shield someone from that pain. Doing so enables their actions to continue without consequence and this can prolong the time when change begins. Pain is needed for the admission of the condition and for surrender to the Messiah for the “cure”. Pain is indeed our friend.