In my inner healing prayer ministry, it’s important to understand the difference between lie-based pain and truth-based pain. Lie-based pain means that in my hurt, I am believing a lie. For example: As a child I may be blatantly told I’m worthless and good-for-nothing or I might come to this conclusion based on how I’m treated. If I believe I’m worthless, I will hurt as a result. When I face my pain and give it to God, He assures me that I am not worthless. In fact I’m so precious to Him that He sacrificed His own Son for me on a cross.
Grief from experiencing a loss is typically truth-based pain. There is a void, an empty place at the table, a loss of relationship with a deceased loved one, a distance from someone who has moved away or a longing for a thing, such as a childhood home. This type of grief must be fully felt in order to be released. Sometimes, however, truth-based pain gets muddled with lies, such as “I could have prevented my loved one from dying” or “It’s my fault Mom and Dad got a divorce.” Christ experienced truth-based pain. It was real. It was heart-wrenching. It was agonizing. But He never believed a lie.
When I read Romans 9:2 (regarding Israel’s spiritual condition) where the Apostle Paul says, I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart (NASB), I wonder which kind of pain Paul was experiencing. It sounds truth-based. I’ve never personally felt this kind of intense pain before. It’s easy to get judgmental about those who don’t live in peace, especially if it’s due to their own choices. But I’ve never been put into a situation where I’ve felt that much emotion. It’s hard for me to understand or identify with Paul’s pain. In verse 3 he says,
For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren.
I’m way too selfish to think that I’d be willing to change places with someone else and experience eternity without Christ so that that person could be with Him. I don’t understand that kind of willing self-sacrifice. But then I guess I don’t have to. This is Paul’s life, his story, not mine. I’m living a different life, a different story, with a different set of experiences, temperament, and calling.
If you were Paul’s counselor, what questions would you ask Him?