home > Pastor’s Desk > 2016 > December 10th> Numb Hurts More

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

We 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.

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

1 Comment

  1. Matthew

    Thankyou Andrew. That was a beautiful reflection.


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Domestic violence, sexual assault, date-rape, sexual trafficking of minors, marital infidelity, street-gang violence, illicit drug abuse, high rates of suicide, increased ‘deaths of despair’, homelessness, are all major problems in our culture right now. Governments regard these issues as matters of justice (punishing offenders) while agencies regard these issues as matters of social justice (helping victims). Both are valuable but neither are equipped or positioned unilaterally to solve the causes of these growing problems, and many in both of these sectors believe that it can mever be solved. But I believe they can be. And I need your help. To achieve this, I propose two outrageous, yea – ridiculous – strategies. They are outrageous because they are simple (although not easy); and, they are ridiculous because, to materialists, these are just fanciful, idealistic and supernatural nonsense. However, I have history on my side. It will involve men and women, young and old. But I particularly need all men to read what I am about to propose and for them to share this with other men and together with everyone else help me to bring about the biggest social and cultural revolution our country has ever seen.


Perhaps I was a little unfair to this gentleman though, because it is a well established fact that all men are born with selective hearing (as every wife can testify to) and perhaps this may sometimes spill over into incidents such as the one I just recounted(?). But I also suspect that some women have a similar deficiency.

A few years ago the kids and I were a little concerned about Kim’s hearing difficulties. As it turned out, one day outside a shopping centre that we had just arrived at, there was a government sponsored mobile hearing clinic. We urged the reluctant Kim to go in and have her hearing checked. Much to the utter shock of myself and our children the clinician told Kim that she had “perfect hearing”! This then proved that even women may be able to imitate the innate ability of a man to produce selective hearing 🙂 Therefore, there is a high likelihood that both men and women are equally subject to hearing difficulties.

The problem with any hearing difficulties is that it inevitably leads to the far more serious problem of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is at the heart of nearly every relationship problem that anyone will ever face. Misunderstandings due to mis-hearing or mis-communication frequently leads to disputes that if not handled correctly, which it is mostly not, is likely to lead to relationship breakdowns. But there is a different – almost secretive – way to deal with misunderstandings. Let me explain by using several pictures that will make my point. 


Mark Lowry is normally comedic. But his now classic Christmas song is no joke! It presents baby Jesus as the eternal God the Son, the creator of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the world, the Redeemer of all humankind who turn to Him, the all-conquering Lamb of God, and the Great Judge of all people, the I AM. The event of His miraculous conception is known as the incarnation (God becoming human). But the incarnation was not Jesus the Christ’s first entrance into our world. In fact, it is as though He felt a divine right to enter our world any time He chose. These various appearances of Jesus prior to His incarnation are referred to as theophanies (appearances of God) or more particularly as Christophanies (appearances of God the Son). I want to highlight one of these in particular…


We have all seen parents abruptly terminate conversations with other adults to keep an eye on their children. Children can wander about easily. They could get involved in acts that are detrimental to themselves. Parental instincts, often reflected more in the mother, is one of those protective gifts that ensures children are kept safe.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 6 – The deGorified Newborn The ReGlorified Lamb of God

One of my favourite stories of concealed identity hiding in plain sight is from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Miserables, where the escaped convict, Jean Valjean, is pursued for years by now retired Inspector Javert. As it turns out Jean Valjean, who had changed his name to M. Madeleine has now become a successful business man and the Mayor of Toulon. Javert arrives in Toulon and is immediately recognised by Valjean. But Javert does not recognise the now clean-shaven, genteel aristocratic Mayor of Toulon as his nemesis. But when he observes the compassion of M. Madeleine he recalls the time in prison when Jean Valjean had also displayed a similar extraordinary compassion for unfortunate fellow prisoners. The more he observed such acts of kindness and generosity from M. Madeleine the more Javert became convinced of the true identity of Madeleine. There is something about this idea of concealed identity that comes from the story of Christ. The prophet Isaiah foretold that when the Servant of the LORD would appear He would be largely unrecognised – there would be no form, no beauty, that we would desire Him (Isa. 53:2). But how on earth was this possible? How in God’s Name  could those who were created by Him in His image not recognise Him for who He was? The answer to this great puzzle lies in one word: the kenosis.


Andrew, on occasions, used to wistfully say, “You know, all I really want is…” then he would say some ephemeral pleasure, like ‘a drink of coke’, or ‘quiet’, or ‘to get something finished’. So, one day I decided to ensure that his greatest desire (‘all I really want’) was met. This time all he ever wanted was a coffee, so I bounced up and brought him the best cup of coffee I could make and added a little yummy treat to compliment it. A few days later he once again said, “All I really want…” and I interrupted to finish his sentence for him … “was the cup of coffee that I was able to make for you the other day. I bet it was the best ever. I’m so glad I could meet that greatest desire you have.” He never said, ‘All I really want’ again!


THE LORDSHIP of JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 5 – He is the Creator of Heaven & Earth and all things Visible and Invisible
While the pagan religions in the days of the patriarchs, judges, and kings of Israel, all conceived of their gods as territorial, the God of Israel, Yeshua, declared that He was the Creator of all things and that He was Lord of Heaven and Earth. And He still is.

Freedom in Christ encompasses Freedom FROM and Freedom FOR

God offers freedom to those who turn to Him in faith, and this, as Pastor Andrew says, deserves a Toyota jump. It is worth celebrating. The freedom the New Testament speaks of is not just any old freedom. In Romans 8:21 Paul speaks of ‘the glorious freedom of God’s children’ (NET). In the same way you might savour a piece of chocolate as it slowly melts in your mouth, allow your spirit to savour the meaning of the freedom that is yours in Christ in all its richness. This single word freedom is densely packed with meaning, and we benefit from taking time to unpack just a little of what it means for believers.


Throughout the Old Testament, God made certain promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob/Israel) that their descendants, the nation of Israel, longed to see fulfilled. These promises centred on having a holy Homeland and a Messiah. Over the centuries that followed their expulsion from their Land which sent them into exile into Babylon initially and then into Persia, the Israelites became known as Jews. Their expectations of how these divine promises would be fulfilled became greatly embellished with powerful military overtones.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 3 – Before He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal LBefore He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal Lordord

For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.