The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

APRIL  2011






A Matter Of Faith

Your Choice

by Joel Lawler

Hurt people hurt people and we all are hurt people. We are all dinged and we all ding each other. That is the world we are born into.

I have never heard someone tell their life story without there being pain being a part of it. My story has pain. There are things that happened to me when I was a child that at forty years old I am still dealing with. That is the path that my heavenly father has laid out for me. He has never left me nor has he ever forsaken me. He has watched over my journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord my God has been with me, and I have not lacked anything.

Pain is neither good nor bad. Pain is given to us to get our attention that something is not right. It is an alarm to draw our focus to a need or that there is disease or illness somewhere. Our reaction to pain is a choice we make.

For a long time, I chose to be bitter about my past. I chose to allow the anger to fester into the cancer that is bitterness. It robbed me of the ability to give and receive love. I created personas to hide behind. I had all kinds of characters that I would play. I would use perceived expectations as a script and play the role. The real person was wounded and hidden deep in the shadows.

That is not living. There is no joy. There is only darkness. Such a life leads to seeking cheap thrills and quick hits of anything to divert the need to address the hopelessness. The truth is abandoned for lies. Life is traded for death. Hope exchanged for despair.

When pain enters our life, anger is a natural response. Anger is healthy. All emotions are healthy. The pain leaves us with a choice as to how we are going to react to the situation. We cannot allow our emotions to push us towards making destructive choices. No matter what happens, our response is ours to choose. We own our actions. We have no excuses for our actions. If we consciously choose evil or good, we are liable.

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

He provides a way to return to the truth and a whole life.

"Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him."

This verse is from John 9 and the story of the man born blind. The religious leaders threw this man out. His healing was a real problem for them. It went against the system that they had established to make themselves appear significant. This man was discarded trash to the leaders of his day. Jesus chose to heal him. Jesus used spit to make mud and put it on his eyes. He told him to go wash it off. I believe Jesus did this because that is what this man's value was to those around him. In order to be healed the man had to wash this off. He had to exchange the lie for the truth. The spit mud was not who he was. When he washed off the false self he was healed.

The man had to choose to go wash as Jesus had instructed him.

After he was healed, the authorities questioned him. They wanted to disprove his healing. His own parents were questioned. They did not stand beside him. They valued the approval of others more than their own son. They abandoned him.

The man was thrown out. He was discarded. The power of his story was a real threat to hell itself. They had to discredit him. He was a light shining in their darkness. His true story went against their system of half-truths and all out lies. His value to God gave hope to people that were being controlled and manipulated by fear. The leaders and his parents tossed him out.

He was alone. Something I am sure was all too familiar with. He had been thrown out. This was nothing new to him.

Jesus went and found him.

The man who was born blind and who Jesus healed chose life. He got his sight back. He has a new life. He chose to believe the truth and it set him free.


Joel Lawler