Spring Break 2015 Seminar This Weekend, April 17-18

04/16/2015 § Leave a comment

Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text


Spring Break is here! Join me for my annual Spring Break Relationship Conference tomorrow and Saturday.  This year, the topic is Your IMAGE and Forgiveness!  Admission is absolutely free!

If you are harboring animosity, resentment or dread over past hurts or injustices, then this two-day seminar is for you! We will discuss and share how forgiveness, with the healing power and grace of God, is the best way to conquer the past, free your mind and soul and experience true rest in Jesus Christ! Join us on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 for lively conversation, prayer time and fellowship! The seminar is free! Hotel rooms, if you choose to stay overnight on the 17th, are based upon availability.

Our program starts next Friday at the Hampton Inn in Stow OH at 5:00 PM. We will break for dinner and resume at 7:45 PM and continue until 8:30 PM, where we will break for the evening. The program resumes Saturday morning after breakfast (hotel guests only) at 9:00 AM, and we will continue through the morning and conclude at about 12 noon.

For more information, call Melvin Gaines at 234.206.0345 or visit akronalliance.org.


Your IMAGE and Forgiveness – Free Seminar – April 17-18, Stow OH

03/27/2015 § 1 Comment

Spring Break 2015 Flyer Quick Text

Your IMAGE and Forgiveness – Spring Break Relationship Conference 2015 – April 17-18

02/24/2015 § Leave a comment

Your Hosts: Melvin and Lynn Gaines

Your Hosts: Melvin and Lynn Gaines

The act of forgiveness is very difficult.  An unforgiving person may experience extreme anger, anxiety or hopelessness…or all of these emotions.  Unforgiveness can cause others a lot of pain, as well—people may tend to avoid you.  What about you?  These unresolved issues are spiritually debilitating and can even make you physically ill.

There’s no need to avoid dealing with forgiveness any longer!  If you are harboring animosity, resentment or dread over past hurts or injustices, then this two-day seminar is for you!  We will discuss and share how forgiveness, with the healing power and grace of God, is the best way to conquer the past, free your mind and soul and experience true rest in Jesus Christ!  Join us for lively conversation, prayer time and fellowship!  The seminar is free (hotel stay extra)!

Friday, April 17   ·  Saturday, April 18

Hampton Inn Stow

4331 Lakepointe Corporate Drive  •  Stow OH 44224  •  330.945.4160

Special room rate for overnight stay (April 17) only $85.00 plus 15.25% tax.

When booking ask for the Akron Alliance Fellowship Church rate.

Book your reservation by Friday, March 20 (up to 4 guests per room).

A free hot breakfast is available for hotel guests

Free internet  •  pool  •  fitness center

  comfortable and relaxing amenities  •  shopping and restaurants nearby

Availability will go quickly!  Be sure to register today!

Questions?  Call Melvin Gaines at 234.206.0345 or visit akronalliance.org

What Now? It’s Time to Take Care of Your Business!

02/20/2015 § Leave a comment

It hurt my heart to find out yesterday that a person that I selected to work with me turned out to have a very stormy past–legal troubles–that still need to be reckoned with.  If you fail to disclose your past to a potential employer who intends to hire you, it is highly unlikely that you will be hired.  This is a test of your integrity and it’s also about facing up to your responsibilities, as well.

This job search cycle will continue over and over again unless you take ownership of your situation and deal with it.  You can’t ignore it or pretend that it will go away.  It will never go away completely.  You cannot leave this matter to chance.  Ongoing denial–failure to face and deal with the truth–will only hurt you and others around you.  You can’t be your best.  It robs from your potential for the future.

This is water under the bridge for the person who I wanted to join my team, but it is very, very important that any legal issues are addressed once and for all even though they may have happened many years ago.  Court records will follow you everywhere because many notable employers will run background checks.  The job application asks an applicant to disclose any information about the past (convictions or felonies), and if you do it and it matches up with your background check, you will stand a much better chance of getting the job, provided that you have resolved all open legal issues.  You need to also be honest about any misdemeanors, as well (anything that will show up on a background check).

If your past is catching up to you in your job searches, you can either settle for jobs that are much less fulfilling (personally and financially), or you can take and make the strides needed to live up to your true potential.  Take true ownership of your life!  If you can take a hint, then you need to get your business taken care of.

Finally, a good dose of self-examination is in order.  You had a difficult past, and you had moments of immaturity.  I get it, and most people get it.  We are in a nation that gives a lot of second chances, but they’re not always handed to you.  You need to put some elbow grease into some of them.  You absolutely need to be your own advocate to get these matters resolved.  If, for example, you were supposed to do community service, make sure that you complete it in its entirety and don’t blow it off.  Make sure that you get someone to sign off on its completion and keep a record of it.  Your goal, if you’re dealing with a first-time offense, is to get your records expunged.  Don’t squander your opportunity if it is in front of you.  If your court issue is something that you need to revisit, call the court and take ownership of your situation.  There are people there who genuinely want to help someone who is willing to help themselves.  On a personal front, surround yourself with people that support you and want to see you succeed, and (I shouldn’t have to say it, but I will) stay away from those people who are not going to help you in this area.  Bad company will negatively affect good people.  Drama also follows drama, if you get my meaning.

Once you decide that it is time to grow up, what are your plans to move ahead to the future?  A good plan is a target for you to aim for.  The target may move from time to time and change its size or shape, but at least you still have a target to shoot for.  Not having a target means having no plan.  Sit down quietly and make a plan.  It may begin with dealing with your past and getting it fixed, and doing what the court or the authorities tell you to do.  It’s not about liking it, but it is about getting matters to a place where you don’t need to explain your life to complete strangers over and over again when you apply for work.

Many will tell you to forget the past in order to move forward, but that’s not completely true.  You will need to deal with the past (and get some things fixed where you can) in order to move forward.  A lot of this has to do with looking at who you are and how you see yourself.  There is such a thing as reconciling with others, but there is also a need to reconcile within yourself.

There are many aspects of faith and trust in Jesus Christ that, first and foremost, deal with you personally.  If you sincerely regret your past, just tell Him about it and ask for forgiveness.  He promises that He will no longer remember your sins (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12).  Once you are confident that He loves you and that you are forgiven, you can begin to be your best before others.

There is hope for the future, but it involves a lot of hard truths.  The work is long and hard for those of us who have really messed up, but at least you still have a road to travel on.  Start from the beginning today, and keep moving forward.  Move forward with the knowledge that you have an Advocate who, as you trust in Him, will move with you (1 John 2:1).


Copyright © Melvin Gaines

A Heart of Reconciliation

10/21/2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve learned a lot about myself as I have matured in both age and in demeanor.  One of the things I have learned is that I have grown to be more protective of myself when it comes to interpersonal relationships.  There is no one closer to me than my lovely wife, Lynn, and I have often called her my best friend.  Outside of our marriage, I can honestly count on one hand the number of close friends that I have, and it’s all because of my life experience with friendships and close relationships.  I have always proceeded with caution in these types of relationships because of a latent fear of my friendships dissolving instead of evolving.

My concern about friendships or close relationships is probably not justifiable, but everyone will acknowledge that it is very tough when good friendships come to an end.  The end can be abrupt because of a blowout argument, or they can be very agonizing and painful as they deteriorate over time.  Some are blessed to have friendships last a lifetime; however, many of us know all too well of relationships when they go bad.  The memories of both good and bad relationships impact our lives, and they can have a lasting effect.

Interpersonal relationships come and go, and they sometimes change because we move, our environment changes, or we change as people.  We learn to adapt even during relationships, and we sometimes make choices to compromise or acquiesce in order to make situations or circumstances work out.  When this happens, we learn from experience that healthy relationships can evolve into unhealthy relationships, which can lead to ongoing misunderstandings, disagreements and defensive behaviors.  Friendships are more pressurized and marriages can be strained.

Instead of finding yourself gearing up for the next blowout or confrontation, or even making dire predictions that things are not going to work out, it is necessary for all of us to remember the importance of selflessness in these relationships instead of the practice of selfishness.  Exercising forbearance instead of frustration—humility instead of hostility.  Each of the positive traits that keep relationships strong and intact involve patience, persistence, and even practicing love for the other person when you don’t feel like loving them.  In order to live in this way, consider the attributes that God provides for us to follow when we operate through the Holy Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

What I have learned from the good and bad relationships in my life is that I needed to grow personally and develop my communication skills—to be a better listener and to be patient, especially with my children.  I didn’t start out as patient, but with God’s help, it became easier and easier over time to be patient with them and more attentive to them.

James 1:19-20

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.

The character traits in practicing effective communication with friends, family members, and close acquaintances require one to have a spirit of reconciliation.  The spirit of reconciliation results from having a heart for reconciliation.  It means you are always seeking ways to bring a relationship to an even keel—finding ways to resolve issues or problems.  To be clear on the meaning of reconciliation, here is a definition of the word reconcile from The Free Dictionary by Farlex, © 2012 Farlex, Inc.

1. To reestablish a close relationship between.

2. To settle or resolve.

3. To bring (oneself) to accept

4. To make compatible or consistent; to adapt.

5. To reestablish a close relationship, as in marriage.

All of these meanings require some sort of effort or undertaking by one or more persons to come to an agreement that reconciliation is necessary or even possible.  If one person makes the effort, there is always hope for progress within the reconciliation process.  There is no promise that reconciliation is an easy process; in fact, it can be a very long, arduous, and painstaking endeavor.  It can require a great deal of prayer, longsuffering and patience.  The Spirit must often take the lead in this process because God must be the catalyst in the repair of a troubled relationship.

Psalm 51:12

Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.

Philippians 4:6-8

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In order to have a spirit of reconciliation, you must make an effort to reach out to the other person and “forget” the things that brought about the conflict in the first place.  You don’t really forget the past, but you find a way to move beyond the past.  In fact, you may be the only person that talks about working things out or moving forward when the other person is not talking about it at all.  It takes a concerted effort to do this (you and the Holy Spirit), for sure, and it starts with forgiveness.  A sincere effort of reconciliation cannot begin without a sincere effort of forgiveness.

This is a very key part in the process of reconciliation.  Forgiveness is a necessity.  Forgiveness is a release.  It releases you from the burden of the pains and hurts related to the conflict.  You don’t forget the pain, but forgiveness relinquishes the burden from the pain.  Think of the burden that sin carries.  Without a release from sin, the burden is the guilt—the bondage that we experience.  We are released from the bondage of sin because of the forgiveness of sin that comes from our acknowledgment of the transgression before the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:6-7

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him (Jesus Christ) in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims.

The repentance is the first step.  Without it, the burden of sin remains in place.

Matthew 6:14-15

“For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.  But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.

1 John 1:8-9

If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God’s forgiveness is the beginning of the reconciliation process that we experience with Him when we seek Him in repentance.  Our sin separated us from Him, for God hates sin and does not fellowship with sin, but, thankfully, it is our repentance and recognition of who Christ is brings about reconciliation.

Romans 5:10-11

For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.

Sometimes we are harder on ourselves than others are on us…in other words, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for things we have done to others.  This is also a major obstacle to reconciliation.  If God says that we are forgiven, we need to believe in the forgiveness process and forgive ourselves, too, just as in the same way we are to forgive others.

Isaiah 43:25

“It is I who sweep away your transgressions

for My own sake

and remember your sins no more.

The words ”remember your sins no more” is best understood as “put aside” what we know and move forward.  The positive relationship that you have with others, and even with God, is much more important than keeping score over issues from the past or any issues that come up.  The world’s approach is to maintain conflict at every opportunity, and even get back at the other party with a spitefulness or even revenge.  In stark contrast, a person who possesses a spirit of forgiveness opens the door for humility and a heart of reconciliation.  How welcoming is it to have a person in your midst that is kind and considerate, and operates with a peace-loving nature to work through issues and solve problems!

A heart for reconciliation requires a child-like faith—not child-like as in immature (1 Corinthians 13:11), but in a faith that is much like that when you first believed in Jesus Christ.  Jesus loved to see the children that were brought before Him.  There is something to be said about the innocence of the children seeing Jesus for who He really was.  Their desire was to be near Him because they knew that He had a genuine love for them and wanted them around, and they praised Him openly before everyone when they witnessed His healing powers.

Matthew 21:14-17

The blind and the lame came to Him in the temple complex, and He healed them.  When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that He did and the children shouting in the temple complex, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus told them. “Have you never read:

You have prepared praise

from the mouths of children and nursing infants?”

Jesus refers to His followers throughout Scripture, both young and old, as His children.  He speaks lovingly of His children and desires to have a relationship with them, but He wants His children to seek Him with a childlike, sincere enthusiasm.  To do anything other than this is a hindrance to the relationship with God, and it is certainly a hindrance to understanding the importance of reconciliation with others.

It is also important to point out that for those of us who know Jesus Christ as personal Savior, the Spirit that indwells us gives us the extra-special ability to understand the need for reconciliation.  The Holy Spirit is the foundation of our desire to be obedient to God and His will.  His desire for us is to have a heart for Him and a heart of reconciliation, for He has reconciled us to Himself.

2 Corinthians 5:16-19

From now on, then, we do not know anyone in a purely human way. Even if we have known Christ in a purely human way, yet now we no longer know Him in this way.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.  Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

We don’t know anyone in a purely human way because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We no longer operate as the world does because we have the power of Jesus Christ within us that guides us through the steps that need to be taken in the reconciliation process.  The presence of the Spirit leads to a heart for reconciliation.  If we really want to please God, we will seek Him throughout the process of reconciling with someone or with others.

God desires for each of us to have a heart for reconciliation.  It is this ability that makes a divine difference in a world of conflict, and our obedience to His Word as we work through issues and problems can truly change lives and win people over to Jesus Christ.  What a powerful and wonderful testimony!

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. All rights reserved.

Remember the Other Children on Mother’s Day

05/11/2012 § Leave a comment

Mother’s Day is normally regarded as a time for celebration of the life of a mother who provided a caring and nurturing influence in your life.  Mothers are always special and should always be considered to be special because of their role.  To be a mother, however, does not mean perfection in their performance, nor does it mean that there were not significant flaws within the family relationship.  Certainly no one can claim to be perfect, but we know that there have been families where a person who became a mother and a parent were hardly qualified to be in that role.  In those circumstances, a mother learns to grow into the role and does the best that she can do in raising her child, or she will resent the role and present all of her negativity towards the child.  The negativity would be demonstrated by abuse and/or neglect, a lack of care and a lack of responsibility.  One can never truly know how this can affect the child of such a parent, and only God’s intervention can offset the mother who refuses to accept her God-given role.

While Mother’s Day is not the time to confront a mother over her imperfections, it would be a mistake to assume that everyone who hears the greetings and sermons pertaining to Mother’s Day will have the same feelings of gratitude and appreciation for their mother.  There are many families (more than we want to believe) where the mother-child relationship was extremely dysfunctional.  If there was an abusive relationship between a mother or father and the child, there is no cause for celebration of the relationship; in fact, there is likely a lifetime of healing that needs to take place.  Forgiveness, beyond any reasoning or understanding, is something that the son or daughter needs to experience.  The sad part of all of this is that, in the healing and forgiveness over the hurt and sadness, the mother may be already deceased.  Only God can promote healing in these circumstances.

It occurred to me to write this as I thought about the importance of being compassionate to others as we pass along the Mother’s Day greetings.  God wants us to remain compassionate in our dealings with others, and while Mother’s Day is a reason to celebrate the life and the godly role of a nurturing and caring mother, please be aware that not everyone may see Mother’s Day in a positive light.  If you know someone in your life that has been through an abusive relationship, please make it a point to keep he or she in prayer and to rely upon the strength of God to endure and promote healing.

Originally posted May 9, 2009 on melvingaines.blogspot.com (Psalm 37:4 – Melvin Gaines).

Copyright © Melvin Gaines. For more content, please see melvingaines.commelvingaines.blogspot.com and melvingaines.wordpress.com.

Pain Management

05/13/2011 § Leave a comment

The following is a sermon that I presented to Akron Alliance Fellowship Church on August 9, 2009.  The audio version of this sermon is available for download at my other blog page, Psalm 37:4.

Doctors and nurses in hospitals are trained to treat patients with various ailments, and in their training one of the more conscious efforts of their care is to help the patient deal with pain.  In fact, depending on the philosophy of the doctor, the management of pain will likely be the utmost concern in making sure that the patient is as comfortable as possible, especially in the event that the ailment is inoperable or terminal, or both.

Pain is certainly not an enjoyable experience for the person who must endure it.  There are different types of pain, of course.  Depending upon your headache and the level of pain that you are experiencing, you may decide to take Excedrin, Tylenol or Advil.  Muscle aches may require a heating pad or even a muscle relaxer.  All of these remedies are designed to manage the physical pain in your life.  While these things are part of the course of life, we also experience emotional pain.  The emotional pain we go through may have several outside sources, or it could be self-inflicted due to our own sin, remorse, and dealing with its consequences.  The pain may come from one person in your life who, day in and day out, makes you absolutely miserable.  Emotional pain, which is derived out of the stress and strain of contentious, prolonged relationships, can be debilitating and destructive, and even cause physical ailments to surface and become prominent if they remain unresolved.

Emotional pain seems to be more and more a part of our society.  With that pain comes abuse, and while there are many cases of physical abuse, emotional abuse is just as damaging.  In some cases, both may be occurring at the same time in a bad family relationship.  I’ve been speaking in general terms, but let’s personalize this message for the purpose of bringing it home to the sufferer of emotional, or even physical pain or abuse, and how to break through and overcome the feelings of despair, depression, and loneliness that comes from the prolonged exposure to pain.

We now need to learn how to manage this pain.  Who is the person that we need to turn to and to look to for a step-by-step recovery from the ongoing persecution and suffering that you are experiencing?  The answer to all of this is Jesus Christ.  This is not intended to be just a pat answer, either.  The answer is indeed Jesus Christ, for He is the source of our recovery and endurance through the hardship of pain.  This, in addition, is not a short-term solution.  For those of us who have been involved in what appeared to be a loving relationship that turned into something you now recognize as anything but wholesome and nurturing, you have a profound understanding of the emotional pain that you have had to endure, or perhaps you know a loved one who has had to go through such an experience.  Whether you are in the midst of this or observing someone close to you go through this, there is a profound feeling of helplessness and various degrees of hopelessness and despair.

One of the first things that is to be done in the process of recovery is to be honest about your feelings when you are in emotional pain.  First, you need to acknowledge that you are angry.  While James 1:19 reminds us that we are always to be “slow to speak and slow to anger,” we are not to seek staying angry because we can’t justify it in the long run.  Anger needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.  Dealing with it means acknowledging its presence in the midst of your pain.  Ephesians 4:26-27 gives us the limit to our anger…

Ephesians 4:26-27

Be angry and do not sin.  Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity.

Taking your acknowledged anger and turning it into a productive energy will move you into the direction of recovery.  Next, take the steps to move in the right direction to calm yourself down.  Pain has an effect on us where we need to respond to it.  A severe headache forces us, in most cases, to slow down our pace considerably.  In our pain, we need to slow ourselves down and calm ourselves in order to hear how Jesus Christ, our Advocate, can speak to us in the midst of our pain.  We need to remember how everything we are going through is nothing new to Him:

Isaiah 53:3-5

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like one people turned away from; He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.  Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses, and He carried our pains; but we in turn regarded Him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.

Because He understands our pain, He can provide us with comfort if we call on Him.  We need to examine ourselves and have a heart for repentance as we seek Him.  When you slow yourself down, it is an act of humility.

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares about you.

Jesus truly does care.  His care is not like taking an aspirin to wipe out your pain. His care means that you must grow in your relationship with Him while He provides healing in your painful experience.  The essence of your recovery is the desire that you will have to be in the presence of God over time.  The sorrow and depression may still be present, but God does not leave you alone in the experience.

Psalm 42:1-8

As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, God.  I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?” I remember this as I pour out my heart: how I walked with many, leading the festive procession to the house of God, with joyful and thankful shouts. Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me? Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God. I am deeply depressed; therefore I remember You from the land of Jordan and the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.  The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night— a prayer to the God of my life.

God wants your fellowship in the midst of your pain.

With your fellowship, He wants you to continue to seek Him in prayer.  There are many verses that describe prayer and its importance, but I will focus specifically on the mature prayers here to underscore the importance of the growth and development of your prayer life as you manage the pain in your life.  First, the prayers must be consistent.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Next, be persistent in your prayers.

It is your act of continually seeking solutions to deal with your pain that helps you to bear it because God is present in the process.

Matthew 7:7-8

Keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Then, develop your prayers to the point where they are selfless. True growth comes when we develop our prayer life even in that we can find a heart for God to pray for those who brought about the pain in our life. As our prayer life develops, it becomes our way of life.

Matthew 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing out of the ordinary?  Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?   Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

In order to be able to pray for your enemies, the act of forgiveness must be at the forefront of your thinking.

Mark 11:25

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. [But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.”]

Here are verses that continue after the section that refers to anger without sin:

Ephesians 4:29-32

No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need, in order to give grace to those who hear.  And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit, who sealed you for the day of redemption.  All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness.  And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

After reading these verses and all of this talk about prayer and forgiveness, how can we pray and forgive others or even conceive of doing this when we are in pain?  The answer is that we can’t do it on our own.  Look at who we have as our Advocate in all of this…the Holy Spirit.  He desires for us to rely upon Him in all of the pain and suffering that we go through, and He enables us to withstand and overcome our pain because He indwells those who believe in Jesus Christ—He reveals to us the truth.

1 John 2:27

The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him.

With that truth comes one more area where we need to rely upon God’s wisdom.  He wants us to be smart and wary of situations where we may come under harm or persecution.

Matthew 10:16, 19-20

Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves. But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour, because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.

Note the references used here about the people who more often than not are our adversaries.  Wolves are predatory animals.  Sheep represents innocent prey for wolves.  We also remember that sheep also refers to those who listen to the Great Shepherd’s commands.  Serpents represent the craftiness, or shrewdness, of those that are operating in the world.  Doves are symbols of peace.  Jesus wants us to be peace loving in our thoughts and actions yet be smart and savvy enough to be able to use good judgment when we are in difficult relationships or areas where we face opposition, especially from those that we know who wish to cause us pain.

This is very important in your development as you manage the pain in your life.  Use God’s available wisdom and guidance through the presence of the Holy Spirit to keep you out of harm’s way.

To summarize—pain management requires the following steps:

  • Acknowledging and channeling your anger
  • Allowing God to speak to you
  • Humbling yourself
  • Persistent prayer with a heart of forgiveness
  • Using the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to guide your steps and avoid further harm

All of these steps are a long, and sometimes arduous process.  Some days will invariably be better than others, but a consistent approach with the steps noted above, you will be able to manage your pain and add salve to your wounds over time.  God is gracious even in our pain and difficulty, and He never leaves us alone in it.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them.  For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.

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