A Wounded Spirit

tumblr_miscymaIJM1r0izu5o1_500_large

 

By Charles Spurgeon

II. But now I have to answer a second question, what is a wounded spirit? “A  wounded spirit who can bear?” It cannot bear its own infirmity so it becomes a  load to itself, and the question is not, “What can it bear?” but “Who can bear  it?” “A wounded spirit, who can bear?” What then is a wounded spirit? Well, I  have known some who have talked about having a wounded spirit, but the wound has  been after all a very slight affair compared with the wounds that I mean. One has been disappointed in love. That is very sad, but still it is a trial  that can be endured. We have no right to love the creature so much as to make it  our god or our idol. I have known some who have been disappointed in the object  of their ambition, and in consequence they have had a wounded spirit. But who  are you that you should not be disappointed, and what are you that you should  have everything according to your mind? Surely if the Lord were to deal with you  according to your sins you would have something to bear far worse than your  present disappointment. As to those trials of which a person says, “Nobody ever  suffered as I have done, nobody was ever treated I have been,” such statements  are altogether wrong. There are many others who have passed through equal or  even greater trials. Do not therefore allow these things to fret you and to  destroy your peace. Be not like the Spartan boy who put the fox into his bosom  and carried it there, though it was gnawing at his flesh, and eating right into  his heart.

There are some people who are so unwise as to make earthly objects  their supreme delight, and those objects become like foxes that gnaw to their  soul’s destruction. I will only say this about such wounded hearts as these;  there is a good deal of sin mingled with the sorrow, and a great deal of pride,  a great deal of creature-worship and of idolatry there. Depend upon it, if you  make an idol and God loves you, he will break it. A Quaker lady once stood up to  speak in a little meeting, and all that she said was “Verily, I perceive that  children are idols.” She did not know why she said it; but there was a mother  there who had been wearing black for years after her child had been taken away;  she had never forgiven her God for what he had done. Now this is an evil that is  to be rebuked. I dare not comfort those whose spirits are wounded in this  fashion. If they carry even their mourning too far, we must say to them, “Dear  friend, is not this rebellion against God? May not this be petulance instead of  patience? May there not be very much here which is not at all according to the  mind of Christ?” We may sorrow and be grieved when we lose our loved ones, for  we are men, but we must moderate our sorrow and bow our will to the will of the  Lord, for are we not also men of God?

I will not dwell further upon  that point, but there are some forms of a wounded spirit which are serious, and yet they are not quite what I am going afterwards to speak about. Some have  a wounded spirit through the cruelty of men, the unkindness of children, the  ingratitude of those whom they have helped, and for whom they have had such  affection that they would almost have been willing to sacrifice their own lives.  It is a terrible wounding when he who should have been your friend becomes your  foe, and when, like your Lord, you also have your Judas Iscariot. It is not easy  to bear misrepresentation and falsehood, to have your purest motives misjudged,  and to be thought to be only seeking something for yourself when you have a pure  desire for the good of others. This is a very painful kind of wounded spirit,  but it must not be allowed to be carried too far. We should cry to God to help  us bear this trial; for after all, who are we that we should not be despised?  Who are we that we should not be belied? He is the wise man who expects this  kind of trial, and expecting it, is not disappointed when it comes. “How”—asked  one, of a person who had lived through the terrible French Revolution when  almost all notable men were put to death—“how was it that you escaped?” He  answered, “I made myself of no reputation, and nobody ever spoke of me, so I  escaped.” And I believe that, in this world, the happiest lot does not belong to  those of us who are always being talked about, but to those who do not know  anybody, and whom nobody knows; they can steal through the world very quietly.  So do not be broken-hearted if men try to wound your spirit. When thirty years  ago they abused me to the utmost, I felt that I need not care what they said,  for I could hardly do anything worse than they said I had done. When you once  get used to this kind of treatment—and you may as well do so for you will have  plenty of it if you follow Christ—it will not trouble you, and you will be able  to bear your infirmity without being much wounded by the unkindness of men.

There are others who have been  very grievously wounded by sorrow. They have had affliction upon affliction,  loss after loss, bereavement after bereavement. And we ought to feel those  things; indeed, it is by feeling them that we get the good out of them. Still,  every Christian man should cry to God for strength to bear repeated losses and  bereavements if they are his portion, and he should endeavor in the strength of  God not to succumb whatever his trials may be. If we do yield to temptation and  begin to complain of God for permitting such things to come upon us, we shall  only be kicking against the pricks and so wound ourselves all the more. Let us  be submissive to the hand that wields the rod of correction, and then very soon  that rod will be taken from off our backs.

There are some who have been  greatly wounded no doubt, through sickness. A wounded spirit may be the result  of diseases which seriously shake the nervous system. Let us be very tender with  brethren and sisters who get into that condition. I have heard some say, rather  unkindly, “Sister So-and-so is so nervous, we can hardly speak in her presence.”  Yes, but talking like that will not help her; there are many persons who have  had this trying kind of nervousness greatly aggravated by the unkindness or  thoughtlessness of friends. It is a real disease, it is not imaginary.  Imagination no doubt contributes to it and increases it; but still, there is a  reality about it. There are some forms of physical disorder in which a person  lying in bed feels great pain through another person simply walking across the  room. “Oh!” you say, “that is more imagination.” Well, you may think so if you  like, but if you are ever in that painful condition—as I have been many a time  —I will warrant that you will not talk in that fashion again. “But we cannot  take notice of such fancies,” says one. I suppose that you would like to run a  steam-roller across the room just for the sake of strengthening their nerves!  But if you had the spirit of Christ you would want to walk across the room as  though your foot were flakes of snow!; you would not wish to cause the poor  sufferer any additional pain. I beg you, never grieve those upon whom the hand  of God is lying in the form of depression of spirit, but be very tender and  gentle with them. You need not encourage them in their sadness, but at the same  time, let there be no roughness in dealing with them; they have many very sore  places, and the hand that touches them should be soft as down.

Yet do I not wish to speak of  that kind of wounded spirit alone for that is rather the business of the  physician than of the divine. Still, it well illustrates this latter part of our  text, “a wounded spirit, who can bear?” But this is the kind of wounded spirit I  mean. When a soul is under a deep and terrible sense of sin —when  conviction flashes into the mind with lightning swiftness and force, and the man  says, “I am guilty;” when the notion of what guilt is first comes clearly home  to him and he sees that God must be as certainly just as he is good, then he  discovers that he has angered infinite love, that he has provoked almighty  grace, and that he has made his best Friend to be, necessarily, his most  terrible foe. A man in such a condition as that will have a wounded spirit such  as none can bear. Then you may pipe to him, but he will not dance; you may try  to charm him with your amusements, or to please him with your oratory, but you  cannot give him peace or rest. “A wounded spirit, who can bear?” You know that  there was one of old who said, “My soul chooseth strangling and death rather  than my life,” and there was another, Judas, who actually did strangle himself  under an awful sense of his guilt in betraying his Lord. Oh! I do trust that no  one of you will act as he did, for that were to damn yourself irretrievably; but  I do not wonder that you cry out, “Oh, that I could hide myself in the dust to  escape from the terrors of a sense of divine wrath!” “A wounded spirit, who can  bear?”

Sometimes the spirit is  wounded by the fierce temptations of Satan. I hope that you do not all  understand what this means; but there are some who do. Satan tempts them to  doubt, tempts them to sin, tempts them to blasphemy. Some dear friends whom I  know, who are among the purestminded of mortals, and whose lives are models of  everything that is devout and right, are worried by the great adversary from  morning to night, scarcely ever waking in the night without some vile suggestion  of Satan or some horrible howling in their ears, “You are lost; you are lost;  you are shut out from mercy for ever.” They are tempted even to curse God and  die; and that temptation brings a wounded spirit, such as they scarcely know how  to bear. Who can bear it? God save you from it if you have fallen under its  terrible power!

A wounded spirit may also come  through desertion by God. The believer has not walked carefully, he has  fallen into sin, and God has hidden his face from him. Ah, my friends, whenever  you trifle with sin, I wish you could feel as some of God’s true people have  done when they have been restored after a great fall! A burnt child dreads the  fire, and so does a true child of God who has ever played with sin; he has been  brought back to his Lord, but he has gone the rest of his life with an aching  heart and limping limbs, and many a time in wintry weather he has felt that his  broken bones start and cry out against him with the memory of his past sins.  “Deliver me,” says David, “from the sins of my youth;” and so may some of God’s  best servants say in their old age; and some who once were very bright stars but  who have been for a while eclipsed, will never be able to escape from a certain  sense of darkness which is still upon them. “I shall go softly all my years in  the bitterness of my soul,” may he say who has once grievously sinned against  God after light and knowledge. Therefore beloved, be very careful that you do  not backslide, for if you do you will have a wounded spirit which you will not  know how to bear.

I believe however that some of  God’s children have a wounded spirit entirely through mistake. I am  always afraid of those who got certain wild notions into their heads, ideas that  are not true I mean; they are very happy while they hold those high notions, and  they look down with contempt upon others of God’s people who do not go  kite-flying or balloon-sailing as they do. I think to myself sometimes—how will  they come down when their precious balloon bursts? I have often wished them well  down on the level again. I have seen them believe this, and believe that, which  they were not warranted by the Scriptures to believe, and they have affected  exalted ideas of their own attainments. Their position was something wonderful;  they were far up in the sky looking down upon all the saints below! Yes, dear  friends, that is all very pretty and very fine, undoubtedly; but when you come  down again then you will begin to condemn yourself for things that you need not  condemn, and you will be distressed and miserable in your spirit because of a  disappointment which you need never have had if you had walked humbly with your  God. For my own part, I can truly say that none of the novelties of this present  evil age have any sort of charm for me; I am content still to abide in the old  way, myself ever a poor, needy, helpless sinner, finding everything I need in  Christ. If you ever hear me beginning to talk about what a fine fellow I am and  how perfect I am getting, you just say, “He’s off his head.” Please put me in an  asylum directly, for I must have lost my reason before I could have believed  this modern nonsense. I feel sure that I, for one, shall not suffer any  disappointment in this direction, for I shall keep just where Jack the huckster  kept, and say with him,—

 

“I’m a poor sinner, and nothing at all,

But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”

IV. But lastly, suppose our spirit is wounded, how is it to be healed? Do you  need that I should tell you that there is only One who can heal a wounded  spirit? “By his stripes we are healed.” If you would be healed of the  bleeding wounds of your heart, flee away to Christ. You did so once; do it  again. Come to Christ now, though you may have come to him a hundred times  before. Come now just as you are, without one plea, but that his blood was shed  for you. Come to him. There is no peace for a soul that does not do this, and  you must have peace if you will but come simply as you are, and trust yourself  with Christ.

If however your wounded Spirit  should not get peace at once, try to remove any mistakes which may be causing  you unnecessary sorrow. Study your Bible more. Listen to plain preaching of  the gospel. Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching—where Christ is  everything and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace  through the work of the Holy Spirit, applying to the soul the precious blood of  Jesus. Try to get a clear view of the gospel and many a doubt and fear will fly  away when knowledge takes the place of ignorance.

Endeavour also to get a  clear view of your own troubles. We are never frightened so much by what we  know as by what we do not know. The boy thinks as he sees something white, “That  is a ghost,” and that is why he is frightened. He does not know what a ghost is;  he supposes that it is something mysterious, and he is superstitious, so he is  frightened by the object before him. If he would go right up to it he would see  that it is a cow and he would not be frightened any more. Half the fears in the  world have no real ground, and if we could but induce troubled persons  dispassionately to look at their fears, their fears would vanish. Write it down  in black and white if you can, and let some friend read it. Perhaps if you read  it yourself you will laugh at it. I believe that oftentimes with regard to the  most grievous afflictions that we have in our mind, if they fretted somebody  else, we should say, “I cannot think how that person can be so stupid.” We  almost know that we are ourselves stupid, but we do not like to confess it. I  would therefore urge the wounded spirit to look at its wound; it is of no use to  cover it over and to say, “Oh, it is an awful wound!” Perhaps if you would just  have it thoroughly examined, the surgeon would say to you, “Oh, it is only a  flesh wound; it will soon be all right again!” And so your drooping spirits  would revive and your wounded self would begin to heal.

One thing however I would say  to one who has a really wounded heart. Remember Christ’s sympathy with you. O thou who art tossed with tempest and not comforted, thy Lord’s vessel is in  the storm with thee! Yea, he is in the vessel with thee. There is not a pang  that rends the believer’s heart but he has felt it first. He drinks out of the  cup with you. Is it very bitter? He has had a cup full of it for every drop that  you taste. This ought to comfort you. I know of no better remedy for the heart’s  trouble in a Christian than to feel, “My Master himself takes no better portion  than that which he gives to me.”

Also let me recommend as a  choice remedy for a wounded spirit; an enlarged view of the love of God. I wish that some of you who have a wounded spirit would give God credit for  being as kind as you are yourself. You would not suffer your child to endure a  needless pain if you could remove it; neither does God afflict willingly, or  grieve the children of men. He would not allow you to be cast down, but would  cheer and comfort you if it was good for you. His delight is that you should be  happy and joyful. Do not think that you may not take the comfort which he has  set before you in his Word; he has put it there on purpose for you. Dare to take  it and think well of God, and it shall be well with your soul. If this should  not cure the evil, remember the great brevity of an your afflictions, after  all. What if you should be a child of God who has even to go to bed in the  dark? You will wake up in the eternal daylight. What if for the time being you  are in heaviness? There is a needs-be that you should be in heaviness through  manifold temptations, and you will come out of it. You are not the first child  of God who has been depressed or troubled. Ay, among the noblest men and women  who ever lived there has been much of this kind of thing. I noticed in the life  of Sir Isaac Newton—probably the greatest mind that God ever made apart from his  own dear Son —the great Sir Isaac Newton, the master and teacher of the truest  philosophy, during the middle part of his life was in great distress and deep  depression. Robert Boyle again, whose name is well known to those who read works  of depth of thought, at one time said that he counted life to be a very heavy  burden to him. And there was that sweet charming spirit of the poet Cowper. You  all know that throughout his life he was like a flower that blooms in the shade;  yet he exhaled the sweetest perfume of holy piety and poetry. Do not therefore  think that you are quite alone in your sorrow. Bow your head and bear it if it  cannot be removed; for but a little while and every cloud shall be swept away,  and you in the cloudless sunlight shall behold your God. Meanwhile, his strength  is sufficient for you. He will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are  able to bear; and if you cannot bear your infirmity because of your wounded  spirit, he will bear for you both yourself and your infirmity. “O rest in the Lord, and wait patiently  for him.” “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in  your Christ.” Go away you Hannah of a sorrowful spirit, and be no more sad. The  Lord grant his comforts to you for his Son Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

The Causes & Cure of a Wounded Spirit

http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/2494.htm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s