"Every boy, in his journey to become a man, takes an arrow in the center of his heart, in the place of his strength. Because the wound is rarely discussed and even more rarely healed, every man carries a wound.”
The Wound. John Eldridge, in his book “Wild at Heart”, says that every man has one. I was in college and going through this book with a group of guys when I began to look inward and discover what my wound was. Each week we would read a chapter and then gather to discuss how it had impacted our understanding of manhood. Jordan, Aaron, Gabe, Caasi, and LJ were guys that I had played ultimate with, guys I had been mocho with and talked girls with. They were guys that I had worked hard to impress and yet they would become the guinea pigs for my great reveal.
I was 21 years old and had been sitting on my secret since the age of 7. I had been sexually active with another boy and had never told a soul. This was my wound. It was the festering scab that I kept covering up and pretending would heal on it’s own and yet it was spreading through my body like a cancer in the way of sexual addiction.
As I prepared for our weekly meeting I was horrified. What would they say? What would they think? Would they accept me or reject me? I went back in forth in my mind, trying to come up with enough reasons to not do this, but God continued to break through my excuses with a single verse:
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16
I knew I needed healing, so I had no other choice.
I arrived that night afraid but I left changed. I remember sobbing and snotting and stalling and choking on my words. It seemed like it took an hour just to get it out. The guys were kind and patient as I walked them through my childhood and the circumstances that led to the choices I would soon disclose. They never gasped or giggled. They just sat patiently, listening and sympathizing with me. Then the moment came where I had to say it. I was gonna tell my macho guy friends that I had sex with a boy. And you know what they did? They loved me. They validated all the hurt that I had experienced, they prayed for me and encouraged me, and then they baptized me.
Wounds are gross aren't they? They make us a little queasy when we look at them. I don’t know about you but I have often seen a cut or injury of someone else and I can almost feel it myself. Our tendency is to cover up our wounds because they are hurtful and gross but they must be uncovered to receive the care necessary to healing them.
I remember being in 3rd grade and busting the back of my head open on the playground. As the teacher approached me I was clutching the back of my head as if my brains would fall out and she said two very important things to me. First she asked, “Are you ok?” and upon my reluctant affirmation she took my hand away from the cut and said, “Let me see.”
In that moment she expressed her care for me and her care for my experience, She didn't go prying into it with solutions, she didn't tell me to suck it up and get over it, she didn't tell me that if I hadn't been doing what I was doing, this wouldn't have happened, she just joined me in my hurt.
What wounds are you hiding? What areas of your life need healing? Who might you invite into that hurt so that you can find the healing you need?
Who is hurting around you? How are you making yourself available to those who are wounded and looking for a safe place to be honest? How can you begin to join the people around you in their hurts?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.