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Prof urges encounters with wounded people

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Just as Jesus learned to deal with the wounded people who gathered at the pool of Bethesda, Christians can minister to those who have been hurt in today’s society, according to Paul Carlisle, professor of pastoral care at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo. In a Sept. 22 chapel message, he drew from the text of John 5:1-16 as evidence of God’s ability to heal.
“Since 1960 we have had major tumultuous difficulties in our culture,” Carlisle said. “As a result of “not having a truth source,” he said, “people get damaged.” And because “hurt people hurt people,” Carlisle stressed the need to share Christ as the solution to their problems.
In order to better identify wounded people around us, Carlisle listed some of their characteristics, including:
— They are not like healthy people.
— They are not sure what is true and, as a result, they maximize, minimize and misread.
— They are fearful of intimacy, expecting that closeness would result in more pain.
— They are extremists and somewhat unpredictable, seemingly enjoying living in crisis.
— They are hungry for safety, needing a place and a people where they can be themselves without being hurt further.
— They are emotional roller coasters.
— They cover pain with performance, replacing intimacy with God and others with activity.
— They have a need for relationships with healthy people.
With so much to consider, Carlisle said the question of what to do with wounded people must be considered. “Notice them,” he urged, observing from verse six that Jesus saw the man lying by the pool. Just as it was uncommon for the healthy to associate with the sick in Christ’s day, Carlisle said little has changed in today’s society.
He also called on Christians to understand the wounded. “Jesus knew that the man had been in his condition for a long time — 36 years.”
And finally, wounded people should be offered the opportunity to be made well, Carlisle said, just as Jesus asked the man if he wanted to be healed. For the wounded, asking for help is a lot harder than accepting help when it is offered, he added.
By accepting the view of wounded people that they can’t do what it takes to be well, Carlisle said a point will come where the “I can’t” statement crosses paths with the “God can” statement.” While some try to ignore wounded people or fuss at them, Carlisle urged the audience to follow the example of Jesus by approaching wounded people through ministry.

    About the Author

  • Larry Elrod