It has been my practice for awhile to have daily devotions and prayer time first thing in the morning. I have some of Joyce Meyer’s devotional books and one by Ruth Myers, along with my Bible.
On Sundays, in addition to reading my Bible and daily devotional thoughts, I go through my devotional books and read the devotional for the same date each month (so today, I read all the devotional thoughts for the 10th of each month).
This one particularly jumped out at me, and I figure that usually means it not only speaks to me, but very likely is the one to share that may help someone else.
“The best healer is often the wounded healer, because he [she] knows what he [she] is dealing with since he [she] has suffered it himself [herself].
If you have suffered through some hard times in your life, you are going to be even more successful in ministering to those who are going through the same kind of suffering in their lives. Though you may have had a rough time in your life, God can use what you have been through for His glory–if you will allow Him to do so!
No matter where you may be today or what you may be going through, God can turn your situation around and use it to further His kingdom and bring blessings to you and to many others.”
–Joyce Meyer in “New Day New You” [Day Aug. 10]
I think there is a lot of truth to this thought. I know it isn’t wise to say that ONLY those who have suffered similar difficulties understand, because I’ve met plenty of compassionate people in my life who have not been through exactly what I have, yet have valuable words of wisdom to share.
However, more often than not, I think those who have suffered certain situations in life do have a special connection with other people in similar situations. For instance, I have lost both parents to cancer; my Dad to lymphoma in 2002 and my Mom to lung cancer in 2011. I know what it’s like to suffer the loss of loved ones, and especially to lose them to the insidious disease of cancer in various forms. I’ve also lost my beloved canine companion, just before Christmas, 3 months ago, so I know what it’s like to lose pets who are like family members.
I do think it’s usually much easier to receive words of comfort and advice from those who have been through something and/or found a solution for a problem, than those who have never encountered your particular situation.
For instance, it is difficult to accept advice about losing weight from someone who is in great shape and never struggled with excess pounds, who doesn’t understand that it’s not simply a matter of laziness or poor eating habits; sometimes overweight people have legitimate health issues or medicinal side effects that pack on the pounds and make it very difficult to lose them.
It’s equally difficult – and can be annoying, depending on the attitude – to listen to men or women who have never had children – try to offer advice about pregnancy, childbirth, and raising children.
What do you think? Is a wounded healer or someone who has been through a particular situation the best healer or best person to provide comfort and words of advice? Why or why not?