Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000015A
00:01 I don't understand
00:04 why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:21 Hello and welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers,
00:24 a place where we take the time to answer your questions
00:26 from a biblical Christ-centered perspective
00:29 on the stuff that matters most to you and your experience.
00:32 So today's topic,
00:33 we're actually dealing with the issue of identity.
00:35 I've got two friends with me here who are co-hosts.
00:38 We have Michelle Doucoumes and Mark Paden,
00:40 and what I'd like to do is just dive right in
00:42 because we've got some really heavy questions
00:44 that I want to deal with as soon as possible.
00:46 Here's the first one.
00:48 This is from a female, 26, from Illinois,
00:52 "How can someone restore their identity in Christ
00:55 after traumatic experience, especially sexual harassment?"
01:00 How can someone restore their identity in Christ
01:02 after some form of traumatic experience,
01:03 especially sexual harassment?
01:05 I think the first thing to recognize is that
01:08 when we go through traumatic things,
01:11 the heart is one of the most easy things to get broken.
01:15 And when we go through things that are really difficult...
01:20 Imagine it's like this,
01:22 somebody comes up to you and they break your leg, okay?
01:25 And then everybody expects you to walk on that leg afterwards.
01:30 That's as ridiculous as it is to expect somebody
01:34 who's just been severely emotionally hurt
01:37 to function emotionally after this has happened.
01:40 Now the difference between a leg being broken
01:43 and a heart being broken or hurt in some way
01:45 is that everybody around can see the broken leg
01:48 and so it gets treated,
01:50 you go to the doctor, you get it in a cast.
01:51 And even sympathy.
01:52 Yeah, exactly.
01:54 "Oh, I see, what happened, how can I help?"
01:56 Whereas, with the heartbreak, it's not immediately seen,
02:00 and what ends up happening is that
02:01 because of that it's not taken care of,
02:04 it's not treated.
02:05 And so, I think,
02:07 the first part of the answer to this question
02:09 is just recognizing that when we go through stuff,
02:13 it really breaks stuff inside.
02:15 You know, and I think all of us...
02:17 I mean, I know, I for sure have gone through things where,
02:19 you know, you get hurt.
02:20 And like years afterward,
02:23 you realize that you do certain things,
02:25 you have certain habits,
02:27 certain ways of dealing with people that are bad
02:30 and they really stem back to that breaking that you had.
02:33 So this question of how do we deal with this now,
02:38 I think the first thing is that
02:40 we have to recognize that it's happening.
02:42 We have to...
02:43 We have...
02:44 Any time we go through something traumatic like that,
02:46 we have to take a stop and really understand
02:50 what's going on,
02:51 what am I doing because of this,
02:53 and to intentionally look at,
02:55 "Okay, what am I doing as a result of this?
02:57 Is this a rational behavior,
02:59 is this the behavior that is healthy,
03:01 is it helping me is that helping others or not?"
03:04 I think the other thing to seriously think about
03:07 is some professional help.
03:09 If you've been really hurt,
03:11 especially if it's sexual harassment,
03:13 especially if it's a family member,
03:16 you really need to get some good help on that
03:19 because those are issues that are really difficult
03:23 for you to deal with in your mind.
03:25 In the context of spirituality, godly Christian counseling,
03:30 things along those natures, and Christian help.
03:32 Another thing I just want to make as statement briefly
03:34 is that what has been...
03:36 what I love about how God deals with this
03:38 and how the Word of God teaches the topic of identity
03:41 is that your identity is not based upon
03:44 what you have done
03:45 or what someone has done to you,
03:48 positively or negatively.
03:50 It's based solely upon what Christ has done for you.
03:54 And an illustration of this is in 2 Corinthians 5:19-21,
03:58 I think it's 21 specifically that
04:01 "God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us,
04:05 so that we might become
04:07 the righteousness of God in Him."
04:09 So let's say, I have a lot of shame in my situation
04:12 and my identity is based upon being an addict
04:15 or something else and it could be
04:16 because of some that was done to me beforehand
04:18 and that's what I ran to.
04:19 But regardless,
04:21 I don't have to identify myself with that anymore
04:23 because Christ became what I have been doing
04:26 so that I can become
04:27 the righteousness of God in Him.
04:29 And I believe that applies in all context,
04:31 even what's been done to us,
04:33 we can still have that security in Him
04:35 while working through the healing
04:37 we need from what's happened.
04:39 You know, it's crazy.
04:40 We hear a lot.
04:42 Romans 8:28, "All things work together
04:44 for good to those who love God,
04:45 who are called according to His purpose."
04:48 But a misnomer with that is not all things are good
04:52 and that's not what the text says.
04:54 There are bad things that happen in the world,
04:57 bad things that happen to good people.
05:00 That God doesn't choose.
05:01 God doesn't choose, God doesn't say,
05:03 "Oh, you know, it was my will for you to be sexually harassed
05:06 or to have these things happen."
05:08 It's not.
05:09 God is not the author of evil.
05:11 That's part of the process too,
05:13 realizing what's been done and realizing that's not God.
05:16 But at the same time, hold on,
05:17 God does want to do something with this.
05:21 God wants to bring something from it.
05:23 And I think of Isaiah 60,
05:25 it talks about how God gives us beauty for ashes,
05:29 and in Isaiah 61:1,
05:33 a prophecy about the Messiah
05:35 says that "The Lord has anointed me
05:36 to preach good tidings to the poor,
05:38 sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
05:41 and set at liberty the captives."
05:43 And so that's just an encouragement
05:44 is that God wants to give healing
05:48 and it is a process, it may take help, and counsel,
05:52 and working through these different things
05:54 but God is a God of restoration.
05:57 You know, one other note on that too,
05:59 this is a little quote that I just wrote in my Bible
06:01 from the book The Faith I Live By, page 63,
06:05 it says,
06:06 "For all that the world neglects to bestow,
06:09 God Himself will make up to us in the best of favors."
06:13 So for everything that is bad that happens to us here,
06:16 for everything that happens
06:17 where we don't get the nice things,
06:20 you know, we go through hard times,
06:23 God is going to make that up to us.
06:25 The other thing too that I wanted to mention,
06:26 you know, just in this whole context
06:30 of how we start to view things
06:33 after we've been hurt, there was one situation,
06:36 I was in where I got hurt quite badly
06:39 and it was a lot of that hurt
06:41 came from an authority figure in my life.
06:43 And afterwards,
06:46 I realized how much my perception
06:49 of how God viewed me was taking on the form
06:53 of how that person had dealt with me
06:56 and it really caused a tremendous amount
06:58 of heartache, and pain,
06:59 and spiritual struggling just because I couldn't handle.
07:06 It was hard for me to deal with a God that was like that.
07:08 And I felt like, "If this is what God is like,
07:11 how is this good?"
07:14 And I think, those types of things really react on us.
07:19 And so I just want to mention to any authority figures
07:23 out there that are watching this,
07:27 be very careful how you treat
07:32 those who look up to you,
07:33 you know, be very cognizant
07:36 about the influence and the impact
07:37 that you're going to have on them,
07:39 especially don't ever do anything to hurt,
07:44 especially sexually harass somebody.
07:46 Those are the things that...
07:47 They don't just hurt for a lifetime,
07:49 they hurt for an eternity many times.
07:53 The decisions you make
07:55 not only impact their physical wellbeing
07:57 but their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
07:59 And I mean, there's testimony after testimony of people
08:01 ending their lives because of abuse, harassment,
08:04 feeling they have no value or potential anymore
08:06 and so they go run into lifestyles
08:07 and things that they never would have done
08:09 were not for how someone instigate a situation,
08:11 to be in a position of authority
08:14 should put the fear of God in any of us.
08:17 And we should treat it as something
08:18 that we are stewards of,
08:20 not something that we're entitled to,
08:23 and be reminded of that.
08:24 We've got another question here
08:27 dealing with another heavy topic.
08:28 It says, "I feel so alone.
08:30 God, the faceless being seems to have favorites.
08:33 He for sure doesn't like me.
08:35 He's shown Himself in many ways to other people, yet not to me.
08:39 Does God care?"
08:41 It's from a female teenager in Tennessee.
08:44 So what do we do with this?
08:45 They feel alone that God seems to have favorites,
08:48 "He doesn't like them,
08:50 and He shows Himself in many ways to other people,
08:52 yet not to me.
08:53 So does He care?"
08:57 You know, I think it's natural for us
09:00 to look at rankings or favorites.
09:04 I don't know if you all felt,
09:06 this was siblings or such things, I know,
09:08 my brother and I would always kind of argue
09:10 about who was the favorite
09:12 and who got the most privileges and such things,
09:15 and even though we may know in our hearts,
09:17 "No, parents love us both", it can seem different.
09:23 Some of it is our perception.
09:26 But some of it is difficult.
09:29 We don't understand everything that happens sometimes.
09:33 But that doesn't mean that God's not there,
09:37 and that God doesn't care,
09:40 and that God isn't really working,
09:42 and that God isn't doing something in our lives
09:45 just because we don't always see that on the surface.
09:48 You know, one thing that I would like to say
09:50 to this question is that who are you looking to.
09:54 Yeah. You know?
09:57 Are we looking to the people around us
10:01 to tell us about what God is like,
10:02 are we looking at,
10:04 you know, maybe dysfunctional leadership around us,
10:08 are we looking at maybe parents who,
10:13 you know, maybe even have spiritual leadership someplace
10:16 but then when they're at home,
10:17 don't act like the religion that they teach?
10:21 Who are we looking to?
10:23 If we would take our eyes off
10:27 of the people around us
10:29 and start looking at God,
10:31 I think so many of these feelings would dissipate.
10:35 As we read verses like, you know, Isaiah 53, that...
10:39 Actually, let me pull that up because it's so good.
10:43 Isaiah 53, did I say 53?
10:47 I think, I meant something else.
10:51 But the verse that says that because He loves us,
10:55 we are like a royal diadem in His hands,
10:58 we are valuable in His sight.
10:59 It's somewhere in the Isaiah 40 to 50.
11:03 When we read statements like that,
11:06 it's hard to feel like God has favorites
11:10 or prefer somebody else over us.
11:12 When we see that God writes our names on His hands,
11:16 like that's powerful or just when we see His tender regard
11:20 for even the weakest of people,
11:23 like one of my favorite stories
11:25 from the gospels in the book of Luke
11:27 where Jesus is going someplace with His disciples
11:30 and as He is passing through this town,
11:32 He sees a funeral procession.
11:34 This mother has just lost her son,
11:38 she's already lost her husband, and in that culture,
11:41 that was terrible to be
11:43 without husband and without son.
11:45 And the first thing, God,
11:46 Christ does is He comes over to her and says, "Weep not."
11:50 He cared about her.
11:52 Here, in that society,
11:53 here is this insignificant voiceless woman
11:56 and yet He cared about her.
11:57 And then He restored her son to life.
12:00 When we read these stories and see the true compassion,
12:04 the truly compassionate heart of Christ,
12:06 it's hard to think of ourselves as less in His eyes.
12:09 And lost amongst the multitude like...
12:11 There's another story where there's a woman
12:12 who has been had internal bleeding for years.
12:15 She's given everything she had on doctors
12:17 and she says, "If I can just get to touch
12:19 the hem of His garment, I can be made well."
12:21 And she does it.
12:22 And Jesus could have just let this woman be lost in anonymity
12:25 and she has healing and that's good enough,
12:27 He stopped and He told her, "Your faith has made you well."
12:31 He made it clear that there's a reason why you're well,
12:34 you matter, you have value.
12:37 And this is a great way
12:38 for us to see our identity in the context
12:40 of other people's suffering is wondering if we matter,
12:43 how was it that Jesus dealt with all these people
12:45 who were seemingly insignificant,
12:46 how did He treat Mary Magdalene
12:48 when she gave the offering in the house, right,
12:50 the fragrant offering,
12:52 how did Jesus minister to all these people, Zacchaeus,
12:54 who's hiding in a tree that no one wants to talk to
12:56 or hear from 'cause he's a tax collector.
12:58 Jesus does care for the lowly, the disenfranchised,
13:02 the "rejects of society".
13:05 He cares about them deeply
13:06 and intentionally invests in them publicly
13:09 to show His disciples these people matter,
13:12 and He's showing us that we matter.
13:14 Another thing you can do is read Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22,
13:17 and read the emotional and psychological experience
13:21 of Jesus while he suffered.
13:22 And you will be amazed at how many thoughts
13:25 that run through your mind,
13:27 Jesus was tempted with in His sufferings,
13:29 feeling rejected, abandoned, and alone,
13:32 that He was in the situation
13:33 that was just like yours to be able to resonate with you
13:36 and to be able to offer you hope and healing
13:38 in the midst of that conflict.
13:40 We're going to have to kind
13:42 of land this plane unfortunately.
13:44 But I just want to close with this thought
13:46 that there's a Savior in heaven who understands you,
13:48 who cares for you,
13:50 and who wants to be with you for eternity,
13:52 and who's made a way of escape in all of your heartbreak,
13:55 in all of your sufferings,
13:56 and that we are not lost, we are not forsaken,
13:58 we're not cast off in essence of in His eyes.
14:01 He's pursuing and loving the whole time.
14:04 Thank you, again, for joining us
14:05 on Raw Questions Relevant Answers.
14:07 You can send your questions to RQRA3ABN on Facebook,
14:11 and we look forward to seeing you next time.