The images used in this graphic page contrast two different worlds, yet whatever the Gospel is, it must have a message for both worlds.
The New Testament tells us that Jesus went about “preaching the gospel” and telling people to “believe the gospel.”
But what was that message? And what does it have to say to hurting children?
Not everyone has a carefree childhood. Some people have a harsh and brutal childhood. Inside every hurting adult is almost always a hurting child.
This is why I think that in order for the Gospel of Jesus to have something to say to that hurting adult, it must first have something to say to that hurting child hidden deep inside.
Addictions are things we hold on to in order to not feel the hurt so intensely.
Whatever the Gospel is…it just can’t tell a hurting child (or addicted adult), “Get over it. Everybody has hurts. It doesn’t matter that it’s the only thing that has ever helped ease your pain. You can’t call yourself a Christian until you give that up. You can’t inherit the Kingdom of God until you stop it.”
A hurting child can’t see beyond what they know will help the hurt, even if only a little. They may be offered the most wonderful things possible that would ease and heal that hurt, a whole pile of gifts under the Christmas tree even, but they will not give up their ragged and tear-stained teddy bear because that is what eases the hurt. It’s what they know. It’s what they trust.
The hurting child grows up to be a hurting adult, and the teddy bear gets replaced by alcohol or drugs or tobacco or sex or gambling or food (too much, too little) or rage…and on and on…
Whatever the Gospel is…it just can’t tell a hurting child, “Give that up! Jesus has so much more for you once you give that up! You have to give that up first!”
Eventually the hurt child may begin to think that God only cares about what other people see, and not about the hurt that is getting buried and hidden even deeper inside.
Jesus knows about healing us and about replacing the things that we hold on to that ease the pain. It takes trust, and trust takes relationship and time. Sadly, sometimes time runs out, but never the love and grace of Jesus.