Chances are, you will meet a difficult person. You will have no trouble identifying them. They can be charming and nice, but then snap. When they snap, they lash out – and they hurt. These moments reveal just how underlyingly angry they are. But these moments also reveal just how hurt they are. Anger is always a symptom of hurt. And sometimes this hurt can hurt so bad that it numbs (or seeks to be numbed by) its host. 

When I was involved in a motorcycle accident (after I was hit from behind by a car) I was knocked unconscious for over six hours. Oddly, I’m rather grateful that this happened. I had clean broken my shoulder in two places, suffered concussion, bruised my entire right side, and, as it turns out, possibly broken my back. It seems that when our bodies experience intolerable pain, they shut down. What I have come to observe is that it’s not just our bodies which shut down, but our hearts can as well!

  •  Troubles and difficulties can sometimes be overwhelmingA teenage girl’s parents divorce. She begins drinking and experimenting. Before too long she has a reputation and she doesn’t care. She’s now hurting so much she’s numb.

  • Growing up he was always lonely. He wasn’t born blessed with attractive features and always felt ugly. Ugly is as ugly does which led him to wear odd clothes and even to begin wearing Goth make-up. Girls shunned him but predators noticed him. He became a piece of meat and mistakenly thought this must be what love is. He was being abused by several men, but he didn’t care. He was now numb.

  • They never felt like they belonged anywhere. Perhaps this is why they were always looking for somewhere. Staying in a place just long enough to begin to feel settled which then triggered the childhood words of their step-parent that they were ‘a nuisance’ and ‘always in the way’. Sleeping wherever they could, often in their car, they now drifted. No friends. No family. No body. They had become numb.

Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.
Proverbs 14:13

Everything is going wrong!Those who are blessed to grow up in a loving home where they take for granted that they are wanted and accepted may never truly appreciate what it is like to grow up without these rich blessings. This is why encountering a numb person can be so confusing. At first they appear to be nice but this superficial varnish quickly thins to nothing when their hurt triggers are activated. When this happens they can become moody, unreasonable, aggressive or even immediately withdrawn (all are symptoms of anger). This is a part of their ‘defence’ mechanism. By hurting the one they think is about to hurt them, they incorrectly think this will prevent them from being hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Normal human empathy recoils at the possibility of hurting someone else. But often these people are so hurt their empathy is now numb

… but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:13b


emotionsWe all need love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness. This is why a home is much more than a house. This is why a home is made of people, not of materials. The best chance we have of solving all of society’s ills is to ensure that we can build a generation of home-makers. The home should be a sacred place. It is the place where disputes are resolved, differences are understood, opinions matter, touch is appropriate, words are kind, rules are clear, values are instilled, generosity is modelled, hospitality is trained, respect is required, discipline teaches, and hugs comfort. The home is to be a secure place, a safe place, a sacred place. 

In the meantime, we now have a crisis on our hands as a society. Due to the large-scale absence of the above, we now have the worst drug crisis in human history, the highest crimes-rates in human history, more people being trafficked into slavery than at any other time in human history, the highest divorce-rate ever, the worst rates of depression and mental-illness, more single-moms than at any other time in our history, and the highest suicide-rate we have ever had! What can we do? 

¶ The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.
Isaiah 50:4

What can we do? That’s the primary question because the solution is mega-micro (lots of smaller efforts). We who are blessed with the privilege of living or being raised in a home are to play our role. We above all people have learned to forgive. Rather than judging/condemning your difficult person, try to see them.

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
Luke 7:44

If we can see, not merely a difficult person, but, a hurting person who is gripped by fears of rejection and being hurt yet again, we may see them differently. In doing this, we are not excusing their lack of empathy for others or even their inappropriate words and ways. But we can at least begin to understand them. And in my experience, the one thing that those who are so hurt they are now numb toward others most desperately need is someone who can at least understand them.


Perhaps it is you who is now numb from so much hurt? Maybe you have even said, “I just don’t care anymore.” You don’t have to go on like this. Jesus Christ can heal your heart, but it will necessarily be a process rather than a point.  

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

 The pathway to your healed heart is paved in trust. Firstly, trust Christ as your Saviour. Then, trust Christ to transform you and help you to learn how (and who) to trust again. Thirdly, don’t expect miracles from people – especially the miracle of mind-reading! Start by sharing some of your story with someone you can have some trust in. At least let them begin to understand you. As you do, you will begin to experience increasing feeling coming back into your heart.

It is my prayer that Sunday by Sunday the hurting, broken, lonely, confused and lost will come into our church service and begin to experience the very things they long so desperately for – love, acceptance, understanding and forgiveness. This is what happened in the early church, as the Apostle Paul describes below, and we should pray and then not surprised that it will happen again in our church – 

¶ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
First Corinthians 6:9-11

May God’s loving, accepting, understanding, and forgiving grace flow through each one of us this Sunday to those looking to be healed and delivered from their numbness.

Pastor Andrew