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For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
Matthew 9:21

Hurt people hurt people. We’ve all probably encountered a hurting person who hurt us. Perhaps we’ve even been the one doing the hurting. Being hurt hurts. Even the process to becoming healed of this hurt can hurt. And, because it is an unfamiliar hurt, even this longed for healing can create anxiety in some. This can result in the hurt person blame-shifting, withdrawing, and becoming highly critical. Because they then tend to repel others, this makes helping them really difficult. But it can be done. As Jesus demonstrated time and time again. 

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
Mark 5:25-26

Some people have only ever known hurt and pain. From the youngest age they were the victim. They felt that all they ever deserved was rejection, betrayal, and mocking from those who should have most shown them acceptance, loyalty and affirmation. For these people, wholeness doesn’t exist and is not possible—until they witness it in someone else. Then they see what it can look like. This is what happen to the woman who had been haemorrhaging for twelve years. She had lost all hope. But then she began to hear the almost unbelievable stories of Jesus had done for others, and hope was rekindled. The first step toward wholeness for a broken person is a vision of what the pathway to wholeness looks like. For this broken woman it was getting close to Christ and then reaching out to Him. What she didn’t know was that Christ came near to her and invited her to be made whole.

She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even His garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease.
Mark 5:27-29

All hurt people travel with a map. From this map they derive the directions for navigating through their life. They come to certain ‘forks’ in the road they are travelling on which would look like constructive criticism or even a helpful challenge to most people, but their map indicates that  these ‘forks in the roads’ are attacks, or rejection, or pain. Their map suggests taking (what they wrongly consider to be) the easy road which can be traversed with offence, anger, and slander. And thus, their hurt grows and becomes a life template for how they respond to people who actually try and help them. The day that Jesus came near was the day this pattern changed for this broken lady. Instead of taking the easy road, she took what she had always considered to be the hard road and went into the crowd (her greatest fear) and encountered Christ there. But Christ made this hard road easy for her. She had always thought that in a crowd she was unseen and unknown. The day she encountered Jesus was the day she realised she was wrong. He had seen all along. He had seen the original abuse that had happened to her as a little girl which had caused the terrible injuries and had led to the humiliating and painful bleeding for twelve years of her life. He had seen the doctors trying but failing with their quackery to heal her brokenness and in the process taking everything she had.

And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.
Mark 5:25-26

From the moment that Christ made this woman whole, much more than just her bleeding stopped. Wholeness may begin with a physical healing, but most often it doesn’t — because it starts in a person’s soul where their mind and heart are. This woman would have left from her encounter with Jesus with whole new road map of life. Those things that once caused her to be afraid, no longer did. Those things that she had always interpreted as threats, now looked like open doors. When Jesus asked the question that He already knew the answer to (as He often did), the spotlight was about to shift onto this formally broken woman — which had always invoked this woman’s greatest fears. But now Christ showed her that this moment was an open door for her to testify and to walk into her wholeness for the first time.

And Jesus, perceiving in Himself that power had gone out from Him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?”
Mark 5:30


Whole people travel the same life journey but with a different map. They reach the same fork in the road but instead of their map marking these moments as attacks, rejection, pain, their map indicates growth, opportunity, and love. Their map suggests taking the low road (which always looks like the harder road). This road is traversed by humility, listening, and understanding. 

and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives Me, and whoever receives me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Luke 9:48

Many whole people were once hurt people. But they were blessed to have a glimpse of what wholeness looked like. When they saw it, it exposed their unforgiveness, malice, withdrawal and pride. It somehow revealed to them that each of those things were crippling them. This vision of wholeness encouraged them to use a different life-map. The next fork in the road was the hardest road-fork they had ever faced because they were so used to their fight or flight map that when they read their new map that Christ gave them, its directions included: listening, blessing, teachableness, and even generosity! As a hurt person they had previously become defensive, spiteful and self-justifying, but now their choice to be whole removed these responses from their new map.

¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you,
First Peter 5:6

A whole person still feels pain – although they respond quite differently to a hurt person. A whole person still faces disappointment, disrespect, and disloyalty, yet they take the low road of blessing those who spitefully mistreat them. They hold their tongue – not because they really want to yell at the one standing in their way – but because they have chosen to listen first. Rather than become defensive, they become inquisitive. Although the criticism from another person stings, they treat it as a gift that might help them improve – rather than to let that sting fester into a serious hurt. At other times when someone expresses their displeasure with them they can reasonably assess whether this person’s opinion is what they use to define their identity or worth. In many cases, it will not be and in these instances they may find themselves quietly, but resolutely, disagreeing with their protagonist. And this introduces my final thought on achieving wholeness as a hurt person.

Whole people are neither dependent or independent people. Hurt people need other people. We all hurt from time to time and in those times we need the help of others. But some hurt people react by withdrawing from others and become independent. “I’ll never let anyone close to me again!” they silently vow to themselves. Of course, connecting two hurt people together often results in co-dependency. Hurt people in a co-dependent relationship feel that they both need the other person, and that the other person needs them. A whole person doesn’t allow someone else to become unreasonably dependent upon them. Even a parent knows that their infant child’s dependency upon them is reasonable for a season. A whole child will replicate their parent’s wholeness and grow to  become a reliable, dependable, interdependent adult. 

The Apostle Paul once lived as a hurt man. He then encountered Christ and became a whole man. He wrote to a people who were once hurt, the Colossians, and described to them the behaviour of hurt people.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 
Colossians 3:8-10

He then goes on to describe how whole people live-

¶ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
Colossians 3:12-14

And that’s one of the clearest visions a hurt person can have for what wholeness looks like. The only truly whole Person is the only Person who can truly help a hurt person to become a whole person. Sometimes, because a hurt person is so down and low, all they can do is to reach up to just touch the hem of His presence (Matt. 9:21) which why Christ still heals brokenness in the midst of those already following and adoring Him. Wholeness begins with the simple act of praying to Christ. This then leads to the beginning of their journey to wholeness—a journey that Christ does not leave you to walk alone. This Sunday as we gather to follow and adore Christ, let’s pray that more broken people will experience the wholeness that only Jesus can give.


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