20190317 Sunday Worship Sermon
“Restoration of the wounded heart” (1Kings 19: 1-8)
We hear various news reports from TV or the internet.
Whether it’s international, from Korea, mainland or from our local area, we can realize that most of the news unfortunately make us sad and miserable rather than enjoyable and pleasing.
One of the sad news is about a suicide.
150 people a day commit suicide in the US.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first cause of death among Americans is heart disease, the second cause is cancer, and tenth cause is suicide.
However, for the ages from teenage to 30’s, the first cause of death is suicide.
I heard from the news report that the rate of suicide in Hawaii is very high, higher than other states, especially for teenagers.
It is a pitiful reality.
Today, I am not going to talk about suicide.
I am just thinking, “Why do people give up their lives easily? What make them chose suicide?”
It is said that most people who were thinking of suicide have had a hard time because of depression.
That is, there was a serious wounded heart, or damaged emotions.
In Dr. David Seamands’ book, “Healing for Damaged Emotions,” he mentions that among the causes of all diseases, over 70 % are resulting from the disease of the mind, and this disease of the mind make people choose an extreme choice, such as suicide.
I read an article that there are about 15% of people in the US have suffered from a serious disease of the mind, such as depression.
According to this article, among us, gathered here, may have suffered from this disease of the mind.
Although not a depression, many people have a hard time because of the disease of the mind.
Most people experience the damaged emotion.
Everyone probably has the possibility to get serious disease of the mind such as depression.
Christians are the same.
However, some Christians may ask this;
“Christian and depression. Do you think that these two words match? How come Christians fall into depression? If people truly experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit, falling into depression will never happen. If Christians fall into depression and have damaged emotion, there may be something wrong. It is because there remains a broken relationship with God or sin. Isn’t it?”
Some may ask like this.
Do you agree with this thought?
However, Christians can have the disease of mind.
Christians can fall into depression.
Rather, as for Christian, they may have more deep wounds of the heart.
We can see the wounded heart of King David.
In Psalm 42, David confesses with sigh.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? My soul is downcast within me…” (Psalm 42:5-6)
We can see that David was suffering.
In Matthew 26:38, Jesus said to the disciples with pain as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)
It is not true that to have wounded heart and damaged emotion is spiritually wrong.
Rather, it looks like another symptom that God gives us naturally.
However, these emotions should be healed.
For that, we have to realize the causes of the damaged mind.
What is the cause of making our mind hurt?
First is a “comparative consciousness”
This comparative consciousness comes from the atmosphere that compares with others under the same standard.
For example, there is the atmosphere to compare and judge people through what they have more than that their personality is.
In this atmosphere, people experience the distorted comparative consciousness that regard themselves of the weak and the small.
Yes, this is the cause of the damaged emotion.
Brothers and sisters, God created us all precious.
God made us all most valuable.
However, we compare again and again with others.
Then we consider ourselves as a loser.
This comparative consciousness hurts our mind.
The second cause of damaged emotion is Anger.
Anger occurs when we experience injustice or when jealousy is accumulated.
Specially, when we feel that other people do not recognize us, the anger is expressed.
This anger ruins our beautiful human relationships and not just us but creates pain for others.
The third cause of damaged emotions is sense of guilt.
Psychologist “Aaron Beck” states that 80% of the patients diagnosed with depression express hate and disrespect upon themselves.
We usually feel guilt when we feel failure that couldn’t become someone whom we really want to become.
Specially, for us Christians, we feel guilt that we failed to become someone that God wants us to become.
Another cause of damaged emotions is an indecisiveness.
The indecisiveness occurs when we are deficient in making decisions.
I’m not sure if anyone has a habit of pushing back our decisions in the moment we have to make a choice.
Or anyone who is afraid of taking responsibility or starting an adventure?
This is called the people of indecisiveness.
It scars many and ourselves when we are unable to make decisions.
I also had some moments where I could not confidently come to a decision due to many reasons.
Some people got tired of it because of it, and I also got tired of myself.
This is indecisiveness.
Indecisiveness is one of the causes for the wounded heart.
Thus, because of the comparative consciousness, anger, sense of guilt and indecisiveness, our hearts get wounds and we fall into deep frustration and pain.
Even though we are Christian, we are living with these damaged emotions.
And these wounded hearts should be healed.
Today, we read 1 Kings 19:1-8.
This story is about Elijah, the prophet.
Who is Elijah?
He was the great prophet of Israel during the era of King Ahab.
Indeed, Elijah was the great and faithful prophet of God.
The incident that reveals the appearance of Elijah as the great prophet comes in 1 Kings chapter 18.
You may know well this story.
In chapter 18, Elijah has a confrontation with the prophets of Baal at mountain Carmel.
There was only one prophet of God, Elijah, and 450 prophets of Baal.
The prophets of Baal built first an altar through their own way.
The prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning till noon.
But there was no response.
They shouted loud and danced around the altar they had made.
But there was no response, no one answered.
Now, with the stones, Elijah built an altar in the name of God and prayed to God; “Answer me, O God, answer me, so these people will know that you are the true God.”
Then, the fire of God fell and burned up the altar clearly.
After that all prophets of Baal were killed.
Yes, Elijah won the confrontation with 450 prophets of Baal.
This was indeed the most dramatic and complete victory that might be memorable in history.
However, the important thing is what happened next.
What happened to Elijah after the incident?
Today’s passage tells us the story about that.
At the moment after Elijah completely won the great confrontation of Mount Carmel, Jezebel who is the wife of King Ahab sent a messenger to Elijah and said.
Let’s look at verse 2,
“May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them…”
When Elijah heard the message he was afraid and ran for his life.
At the time considered that all important thing is finished, the unexpected difficulties came closer to Elijah.
Elijah, the great prophet who bravely stood opposite the 450 prophets of Baal, the hero at Mount Carmel, felt a fear all of a sudden.
Because of a message that one person sent, the great and brave prophet Elijah ran away with fear to save his life.
It is hard to understand this ironic situation.
However, we can realize again the fact that human beings are so weak.
One so strong and brave can easily get hurt and experience damaged emotions because of the small things.
Elijah escaped into the desert and sat down under the broom tree.
He looks like a man completely exhausted.
He prayed that he might die.
He said, “I have had enough, Lord, take my life…”
Yes, we can realize deeply damaged emotion of Elijah,
Now, please check the condition of your heart.
Do you have any damaged emotions?
Are you under the serious disease of mind?
Are you suffering with wounded hearts?
Is your mind filled with any uncomfortable feelings, feelings of depression, anger, guilt, loneliness, and hopelessness?
If so, you are the same as Elijah.
Then, I would like to suggest you some practical ways.
I hope that these ways will help you to overcome and recover your damaged emotions.
First, aviod being alone.
When you are depressed, when you have wounded heart, you may not want to be around people.
However, force yourself to be with other people, family, friends, colleagues, and church members.
God doesn’t want people to be alone.
So, God send us his people to do fellowship together.
Second, Seek help from other.
When the deep worry and trouble come to your mind, your perceptions change.
A little hill becomes a great mountain.
You can no longer pull yourself out of the damaged emotion.
At that moment, someone can help you to escape from the quicksand.
Please abandon the thought that only I can solve my problem, and seek the people who can help and lead you.
Especially, seek the faithful person who can lead you spiritually.
It is never shameful to ask for help.
Third, Lean on the power of God’s word.
When we experience the damaged emotion, God can use any portion of the Scripture to you.
Especially, reading the Psalms may really help you.
Out of the 150 Psalms, there are 48, which can speak about our deep emotions.
You can read them out loud or you can meditate them in silence.
During meditating God’s word, you can feel the peace of mind.
Yes, God’s word has the ability to restore us.
Fourth, in little and small things, make an effort to be thankful
Even a basic life cycle routine, we should be thankful for every small and little thing.
Although others may have greater intelligence, better appearance, or great wealth, do not compare it with yourself.
Always be thankful for the small talents that God gave you and have pride.
There is the Christian song, titled “Me,” by the composer Myunghee Song.
Myunghee is disabled with cerebral palsy.
But she wrote many songs.
The lyrics of the song titled “Me” is this;
“I don’t have any riches that others have.
I don’t have any intelligence that others have.
I don’t have health that others have.
But I have something that others don’t have.
I have heard, seen, felt love and realized something that others do not have.
Fair God made me feel like I was something different from others.”
She is a disabled person who cannot move even one finger, and she lived in a wheelchair with someone’s help her whole life.
However, she confesses that her life is blessed.
She is singing that fair God loved her unconditionally.
Brothers and sisters, be thankful of the little things you have, then your hearts will be overflowing with peace and joy.
Your wounded hearts will be restored.
And finally, rest confidently in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus promised that he would continually be with us through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ favorite word for his promised presence in the Holy Spirit is “Paraclete.”
It means “the One called alongside”
Please remember the words of Jesus on your mind and be confidence.
When you are in the lowest depression, regardless of how you feel, the Holy Spirit is with you.
Please stand in this confidence.
Through this confidence your damaged emotions will be recovered.
God saw Elijah suffering under the broom tree.
Elijah, the great prophet, is shivering with fear under the tree wanting to die.
He fell into his discouragements.
This Elijah had a damaged emotion and was waiting to die.
But, God does not leave him alone.
God takes Elijah to the emergency room and gives him his first aid.
In the Scripture’s expression “an angel touched him” God is providing treatment for Elijah.
God sent an angel to touch, caress and treat Elijah.
God helps him to stand back up.
God helps him to recover.
Yes, God touches and cares Elijah.
God gives Elijah new strength and gives him food to eat.
Elijah gained new strength and his wounded emotions and spirit was restored.
With the strength God gave, Elijah got up and traveled continually until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
Brothers and sisters, we can fall easily, get discouraged and hurt at very little things because we are weak.
So, we are living with damaged emotions.
It is not easy for us to recover the wounded emotions.
But God does not just leave us alone.
God touches us with his soft hands, helps us to stand, and gives us strength.
God does not just look at us while we give up.
Just like how God touched and gave strength to Elijah, even right now, God is here, giving us strength and helping us to stand back up.
Brothers and sisters, we all have damaged emotions.
I really want that all our wounded hearts and damaged emotions will be healed and restored.
I bless you all in the name of the Lord to get up and continue your journey of faith looking to God who touches you and gives you strength. Amen.