And the truth shall set you free!
As a leader, one of the realities that many of us face is this―some of the people who reach out to us to talk about their traumas don’t truly want to heal. They simply want to vent. This can be frustrating to any person who stands in as a counselor for a broken or hurting soul because, for one, you come to realize that the person isn’t there to listen. They’ve set up a session just to relieve themselves, but when you attempt to counsel or to pastor them, they are not interested in what you have to say. Instead, they will repeatedly interrupt you by constantly adding details to their stories, hoping to silence your logic and prove that they are within their rights to remain angry. This is why we have to cut many sessions short and ask a simple question―do you want to heal or do you want to complain?
It’s hard to conceptualize the fact that there are genuinely some people out there who would prefer to remain downtrodden or vexed, and it is hard to understand why anyone with a sound mind would choose to remain this way. But I’ve learned that people choose brokenness over sound minds because:
They want attention: The fact of the matter is, when we’re hurting, we draw attention to ourselves. And all too often, the issues that people complain about are not the reasons they are so vexed. The real issue is, they are dealing with childhood wounds that have led them to seek attention, both good and bad. In other words, they want attention, not healing.
They want to be in control: Let’s face it―some people are so broken that they don’t know how to have relationships with other people unless they are in control. And whenever they are not given the driver’s seat in any relationship, whether it be platonic, familial or romantic, they will look for or create issues in those relationships. When they find these issues, they become argumentative, condescending and emotional; this is all because they want to control the other person or people involved. This is centered around the fear of rejection and the fear of abandonment.
They are takers: People who fashion themselves as charity cases often cast themselves as victims to ensure that they are not required to be reciprocal in the relationships they’re in or the ones they want to be a part of. They want to always stand on the receiving end, and any time people stop giving them attention, money, food or whatever it is that they want, they find a way to cast themselves as victims all over again.
They want vengeance: It’s absolutely normal to desire to see the people who’ve hurt you receive their recompense, but the Bible tells us to not allow the sun to set on our wrath. This means that we have to have a plan in place to forgive people … fast! Nevertheless, when we don’t forgive, we find ourselves in a perpetual state of hurt. This causes our wounds to remain fresh, which leads to this irrational desire for us to see our enemies fail.
Of course, there are many more reasons why people choose not to heal. However, none of those reasons are good enough to justify us remaining in unforgiveness, given the fact that Jesus forgave His offenders while He was yet on the cross! So, the question you have to ask yourself today is―do I truly want to heal, and what does healing look like to me? Or am I just looking for attention?