Being powerless to stop pain is discouraging. Sometimes I think it is impossible for people to change. People don't even think that things can be different or better. CS Lewis talked about us being like children who happily play in a puddle of mud when we are being offered a trip to go to the beach.
Some people are so broken that we do not know where to start to help them be healed. Again I need to remind myself that what is impossible for me is possible for God.
I have been looking at this book by Parker Palmer, since I heard it mentioned by Rob Bell. This is the beginning of a really interesting passage about the difference between the cross and other philosophies which carry on pain rather than solve the problem of pain.
'the cross says, "The pain stops here." The way of the cross is a way of absorbing pain, not passing it on, a way that transforms pain from destructive impulse into creative power. When Jesus accepted the cross, his death opened up a channel for the redeeming power of love.'
Parker Palmer, The Promise of Paradox.
He reflects on two illusions, we have, which must die, for us to be channels of this redeeming love.
The false self - this is the me that is proud and in control
False conceptions about the world - the idea that the world is evil and separate from us rather than accepting that we are part of the world's evil.
'Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either - but right through every human heart - and through all human hearts...'
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.
Beck's triad, a cognitive model to understand depressive thoughts, encompasses negative thoughts about the self, the world and the future. I wonder if we have to give up a false view of the future, too. Without the cross, the future is something to be anxious about, to grasp at and plan obsessively. The cross allows us to stop our attempts to control what is to come, and gives true hope for redemption and change.