Wednesday, September 19, 2001
When you hear a helicopter going over, you probably look up. I know I do. But it's probably not a major emotional experience for you. It is for Megan's dad. She told me she and her dad were outside recently when a chopper flew over. In her words, "My Dad suddenly hit the deck." In other words, he just instinctively fell to the ground. Now, you know you could look at that reaction and say, "Is he a little strange, or what?" No, he isn't strange. He's a Vietnam veteran. Obviously, Megan was really surprised by her father's unusual behavior - so she said, "What's wrong, Dad?" He said, "It's just part of post-Vietnam trauma. When I hear a chopper, it just triggers something inside. I'm suddenly in combat again." Now Megan understands.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Wound Underneath."
That father's hard-to-explain behavior is because of some of the battles in his past. He's not the only one. It may be some past battles that help explain what's behind the actions and attitudes of someone you're having a hard time dealing with.
Jesus, of course, knew that - and He had the wonderful ability to look beyond the deeds of a person to their needs. It's an outlook He wants you and me to have, too. Now our word for today from the Word of God begins in Luke 18:35. "As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.' He called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!' Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him.'" What follows is the miraculous healing of this blind man. And Luke concludes, "When all the people saw it, they also praised God."
Now, to the folks in Jericho that day, this blind man was a noisy, stubborn nuisance. They want to make a good impression on Jesus, and here's this man screaming obnoxiously. The people see nuisance. Jesus sees need. He knows that behind those screams is a man with a desperate need. And the man everybody else is trying to shut up Jesus stops for, responds to, reaches out to.
When you try to see the need behind someone's deed, it changes the way you treat that person. Like Megan. She could understand, and even sympathize with, her Dad's dramatic reaction to the chopper overhead when she knew the pain in his past that made him react that way.
There's probably someone in your world who needs that kind of understanding from you right now. It may be someone who has hurt you deeply, mistreated you, used you, even attacked you. You may be increasingly annoyed or irritated or angry with someone whose attitude or actions or approach really rub you the wrong way. But there's a good chance there's pain underneath the way they are. Past battles that have almost programmed them to respond in a way that they think will protect them from more pain.
Sometimes when people are bleeding emotionally, they bleed on us. If that person was injured in front of your house and physically bleeding, you'd respond with compassion and you'd do all you could to stop the bleeding. I don't think you'd get angry with them for getting blood on you. Now it may be that they're bleeding emotionally from past wounds - and they don't need one more person who wounds them, even though their behavior seems to invite a pretty harsh response.
When you try to understand the needs behind their deeds, you can finally respond as Jesus told us to - "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27-28). That person you struggle with doesn't need any more wounds, they need someone who will, in Jesus' love, help heal those wounds.