W3jlf45459252sBefore I get started, one disclaimer: I am not a certified counselor or professional in mental health.  Just a pastor’s wife living with it.
One thing I’ve been guilty of doing, tempted TO do and observed others doing is using mental struggles as an excuse for hurting others. I don’t like that I have done this. And when I bounced my behavior off God’s word, I don’t think God likes this in me, either. In the bible, Paul wrote, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” (2 Cor. 12:7-8) From this text, I learn that Paul was tormented. Like Paul, some of us are mentally tormented. However, what I glean from the subtext, is that PAUL says HE has a thorn.  He owns it. He embraces it. He gives it to God. What Paul does not say is that his “thorn” is mine, your’s, ours.  It’s HIS thorn. And as the text continues, God used it to display His grace and power (2 Cor. 12:9). Sometimes, I’ve been tempted to say, “But I can’t help it. It’s just the way my mind works.”  But that doesn’t line up with God’s word. The bible says that we take our thoughts captive.  That means, my thoughts are not my master if Jesus is my Savior.  The bible also says the greatest commandment is to,  “love your neighbors and your enemies.” Love does not mean using my “thorn” to hurt others with it.  I hope you know my heart:  that I know this struggle is real. I live with it every day. But I also hope this honesty encourages someone today.

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