Wounds and Whispers

My husband and I attended a marriage conference a few weeks ago, the first one in our six years of marriage. There were a lot of dynamic speakers and being a marriage counselor I scribbled down ALL the notes. But the last speakers stopped me in my note-taking tracks. And the tears came. Matt and Lauren Chandler were sharing their marriage story. Parts of their story sounded like our story. The one-liner that got me, that made me catch my breath, came from Lauren. “When our whispers met, they spoke to the root of our conflict.” Matt went on to explain how he was unaware of his wounds from childhood and the whispers he had been believing ever since. Lauren shared her own whispers despite having a normal childhood and a happy home. I personally was aware of own my wounds, had processed past hurts, sought personal counseling and received graduate counseling education and training out the wazoo, but I was fully unprepared for how my husband’s and my whispers would create so much conflict in marriage.

Whispers are simply the lies we tell ourselves. They often stem from emotional wounds in life. These wounds can be traumatic but they can also be very subtle. The whispers creep in during times of disappointment, “Maybe you’re not worth it.” The whispers reinforce the wounds. “You’re still not good enough,” comparison hints. The whispers can also create the wounds. The pressure of success quietly lies, “It’s all up to you.” Maybe the whispers came not from a relational hurt but from a poor relational model. In our fallen world full of broken people whispers abound everywhere. Marriage gives you an up close, intense look at what your wounds and whispers are.

To quote another counselor, “Our past is the past until it impacts the present.” What wounds and whispers from your past are impacting your present relationships? Take a look at the feelings that repeatedly come up. Ask yourself what does it say about me that I feel this way? Yes, it may say something about the other person too, but you can’t control them. That doesn’t mean you don’t address it with them, but its often helpful to address your feelings first. What thoughts are influencing the way you feel? Any half-truths in there? It may take time and an enormous amount of perseverance to become aware of and begin changing your thought life. But I will leave you with an encouraging word as you begin this journey.

Last night as I was thinking about this blog entry, I was reminded of Christ’s wounds and His whispers to us. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Christ was not fallen. He had no sin. He was perfect, yet He was wounded. He was wounded by those that betrayed him. He was wounded by those that persecuted him. He was wounded by those that did not have ears to hear. He was wounded by those that blasphemed. Ultimately, He was wounded on the cross. To bear all of our wounds. All of our whispers. All of our sin.

Some of Jesus’ last words, his last whispers leading up to his death were, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). How can He bear all of those wounds, yet forgive? Even in Christ’s plea for His father to forgive criminals, He has empathy. “For they know not what they are doing.” How many times do we not know what we are doing, the damage we are causing when we act without thinking? But still Christ petitions for our forgiveness. Because Christ forgives us, we can forgive others. Forgive those that have wounded you. Forgive those that have reinforced whispers. Forgive yourself. Forgiveness is a powerful salve for our wounds and whispers.

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