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Healthy Ministers Part 3: Keep, Sell, Throw Away

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Yesterday we talked about our attachment to hurts and, like material objects, we have a tough time getting rid of them.  Hurts, wounds, and offenses keep some people alive. If it were not for hurts, wounds, and offenses, some people would have nothing to talk about or blog about. A former pastor of mine use to call it “rehearsing your pain”. This is a great way to describe it.

Some people rehearse their pain as if they were lines from a Broadway play where they are the star. I don’t want to be that person. People don’t want to hang around those kinds of people. I am not suggesting we don’t talk about our hurts, but we have to sort them into what we keep, what we sell, and what we junk. Today, let’s focus on the Keep Pile.

The Keep Pile

Peter Marsh, host of the old show Clean Sweep, made disorganized people choose where they put their stuff. The first pile was the keep pile, and they only had so much room on a tarp to place the items they wanted to keep in the house. The video below shows Peter instructing a couple that their keep pile is too loaded.

Just like our homes, we have a limited amount of space in our brains, hearts, and souls and only have so much room to hold on to hurt before our emotional lives become unhealthy. Technically, we keep all out hurts. Hurts shape and form us and contribute to who we are positively and negatively. So, which hurts do we keep? Which hurts are o.k. to hold on to?

Which hurts have I kept?

My father passed away at young age.

I had a substitute teacher tell me I would not amount to anything. It deeply hurt

I’ve been fired from a church, twice. That really hurt.

I have converted these hurts into trophies because I have overcome them. Those are the hurts I keep because they are part of my testimony. They are what God brought me through. 

The Apostle Paul says,

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 affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.… 2 Corinthians 1:4

In fact, the Apostle Paul shared his own suffering when he wrote about all his woes in 2 Corinthians 11:24-29. Paul wasn’t complaining, he was testifying. At the end of of his testimony he says

If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.

I keep what shows my weakness and boast of God’s grace and glory.

I keep the hurts I’ve forgiven. I keep what is useful to others. If the hurt will comfort them or encourage them, I keep it. If my hurt pile makes me look weak and God look great, my keep pile can’t be big enough.

Next: How do we convert hurts into some thing productive.

Your Turn:

Do you complain or testify?

Have you sorted through your pain?

What does your keep pile look like?

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