Set Your Mind Above

S3 E6 - Hurt People...Hurt

March 09, 2023 Season 3 Episode 6
Set Your Mind Above
S3 E6 - Hurt People...Hurt
Show Notes Transcript

I sat across from a man currently spending some time in jail, but I realized he has been a prisoner for most of his life. He was a victim of abuse from the age of 5 on, a prisoner in his home. He sought freedom through drug use, which of course became it's own prison. Now he sat in literal prison, now seeking the only one who can set him free: Jesus. As I listened to his heart, I heard so much hurt - and I couldn't help but to sympathize with this poor man. Well...hurt people - they hurt. Do we just focus in on the hurt they cause others, or do we try and get to the root of the issue and address their own hurt? Christ saw people as broken, and it moved him to treat them with compassion which led to their repentance. Do we have that same attitude? 


What if I told you that God could be seen in the most ordinary things every day? 

What if I told you that everyday, ordinary events could teach us extraordinary eternal truths?

Would you believe me? 
 Hi, I’m BJ Sipe – and you’re listening to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast. 

I am a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father.

Thanks for tuning in!


Well, I hope that all of you have had a wonderful week so far – I sure appreciate you tuning in for another episode. I have some exciting news to share at some point before next week’s episode drops, so be looking for a special announcement to drop in the next few days. We are finally getting settled in after such a busy last month and back into the swing of things. Tonight, I want to share with you a story that I spoke briefly about on social media yesterday for those of you who follow my personal page. It’s not my story, it’s the story of a man that I sat across from on Tuesday afternoon. The last time I saw him, we were praying together at a hotel lobby table waiting to hear if he could get into a rehab facility to get sober from the drugs he was on. Nearly two months later, we found ourselves praying together in a very different place. I walked into the jail and said I was there for a ministerial visit, and asked if I could see this man. The elders and I have yet to do our training we need to sit down face to face with inmates, so I was led to a small, dark, and cold room with three metal stools bolted into the ground and three partition windows. As an officer unlocked the door for me, I walked in and saw his face smiling back at me from the center seat through the glass. He reached out with his fist and we “fist bumped” on each side of the partition before picking up our respective phones. “It is so good to see you,” he said with tear filled eyes. “It’s so good to see you too, brother. What in the world are you doing in here?” I said back. We laughed and caught up on what all he had being doing in the jail, and what was going on in my life as well. After about five minutes I said, “Okay, how are you really doing? What’s going on?” The next twenty minutes took me down a road that I certainly did not expect. He shared with me these dreams that he had been having, nightmares actually. Vivid, real, and terrifying. He told me that he had shared these nightmares with his mother, and much to her horror she was able to confirm that what he had been dreaming was not his imagination, but suppressed memories. He began to explain how he had been abused in every way imaginable starting at the young age of 5 by his own father. There are full years of his childhood that he cannot remember. The more he shared, the more I understood why he has struggled so much over the past years with trying anything he can to simply forget the pain he’s experienced in his life. Sadly, the things he sought out to forget the pain ended up taking control over his life – and heavy drug addiction has been his story for nearly a decade. Being incarcerated, he’s been sobered for a few months. But that sobriety is bringing back all of this trauma that was previously suppressed that he is now having to try and figure out how to navigate and deal with. To make matters worse, he received word from his wife that she was ready to divorce him as well. As he opened up his heart to me with tears streaming down his face, I realized something very important about this poor man: he has always been a prisoner. He was a prisoner in his own home all growing up. That prison led him to seek freedom, but what he sought to free him became its own prison. Now he sat here, in a literal prison, realizing that there is only one place he can look to and find the freedom he so desperately is seeking from all of this: and that one place is Jesus. We read from Isaiah 61 & Hebrews 12 before saying a prayer and our goodbyes until I can see him again as soon as possible. The experience shaped my whole day, and it has left me thinking about something very important that I want to share with you too. 
 I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression, “Hurt people hurt people” – and for the most part, this is a true statement. Sadly, we can often repeat the same atrocities that were performed against us upon others. The abused can become abusers. The neglected can become neglectful. The abandoned can end up abandoning. But that’s not what I want for us to focus on in this podcast. Instead, I want us to consider a different but profound truth that will help us to shape how we see and respond to others, and that is this: “Hurt people…hurt.” Before we jump into some scripture, I want to make a simple parenting analogy to set the stage for why what we’re talking about is so important. As a father of three young children, one of the things I’ve grown to learn is so important is to ask the question, “why is my child doing this?” Sometimes children push boundaries or even throw fits – especially at the young ages of 2 and 4 (I know, shocker)! On one hand, I could approach my children with an iron fist, saying, “You know the rules! Get it together now!” But in my opinion, that is some pretty terrible parenting – and certainly not helping to solving the root issue. Why is my child so upset right now? Is it simply because they did not get their way, or is there something else going on? It does not excuse their behavior and it needs dealt with, but when you take into consideration the context surrounding the behavior, it equips you as a parent to handle your children with the grace that you should. Are they exhausted? Are they in a new place? Are the sick or injured? Are they anxious? When we consider the context of the poor behavior, it often changes our whole approach to a situation. I want us to consider what is recorded for us in Matthew 9:35-37, “Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” Jesus looked out at this crowd of people, and without question who he looked out upon was a mass of sinners. People that were lost, people that had done wrong, perhaps were actively doing wrong, people that had hurt others. Jesus did not stand up, recognizing their spiritual condition, and start throwing fire and brimstone at these people. Look at the text, and consider what Jesus did. The text says that Jesus saw these people and felt…. compassion. Why? Because he considered the context. They were distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. These were not just people, but they were hurt people. Seeing them in this way, Jesus moved forward with compassion. Notice, he did not dismiss their spiritual condition and actions they were going to be called to repent from – he said there was work to be done. But knowing that he was dealing with broken people changed his entire approach.  It is that same compassion that Christ showed to others that drew them to him that we are called to show to others too. How do you see people? Do you focus in solely on the sinful actions of others and stand ready to condemn them – or do you seek to look deeper and understand the context of their actions? Don’t misunderstand me – sin is sin and must be repented from. But when I seek to gain understanding about the hurt that fuels the poor choices that people make in their lives, it will equip us to have the kind of grace and compassion that we should. In fact, it’s this very grace and compassion that moves people to repentance – as we read in Romans 2:4, “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” When you can validate someone’s hurt, show them that they are seen and sympathize with the things that have led to their brokenness – it will change everything. Consider also 2 Timothy 2:24-26, “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” My friends, people are not the enemy…Satan is the enemy. That is why the Lord calls for us to be kind, gentle, and patiently endure evil with everyone – because you need to consider the context. Satan holds us as his prisoners, but Jesus is willing and ready to set us free. Jesus would promise, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). I want to challenge you to change the way that you see people. Don’t just see the hurt they cause…see the hurt they have endured. Sympathize with the ways this broken world has broken them also. When we show this kind of grace and compassion, we can point them to Jesus who binds up the brokenhearted. 


Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Wednesday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for future announcements or even some special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, share it with someone else that you think would benefit from it also. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.