13 Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
James 5:13-16 CSB
One of the lessons I have had to learn in my life is that community heals. It’s that simple. If you are surrounded by people who love you, and want to see you succeed, you will find yourself healing from the pains of your past. Going through it alone will only prolong your pain, but when shared with trusted friends, your burden is shared, and you begin the healing process.
We are not meant to be alone. In fact God created Eve so Adam was not alone. We are supposed to be in community. I do not mean everyone needs to get along harmoniously with every one they come into contact with, but we all need to have a group of people that we love and care about, and those people are who get us through trials and struggles.
We are told multiple times in the bible to be unified with other believers. We’ve heard verses referenced like, “iron sharpens iron”, and “a threefold cord isn’t easily broken”. But when you share your pain, and pray with one another, you start healing. You start to be free of the burdens you carried. The people around you help take some of your burdens, not to judge, but to give you the opportunity to grow out of that situation. And who you have around you matters.
When Job was suffering, he was visited by his three friends. They all took their time to share with Job about how the problem must have been caused by a secret sin. He must have done something to occur some form of wrath. Job endured their speculation, and when they left he dismissed it. These friends were not equipped with the tools to begin Job’s healing. After Job was restored, God spoke to him and told Job that his friends were wrong.
In the New Testament we see another group of friends. This group had a friend who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him to Jesus so he could be healed, but they could not enter the house because it was so full of people. This group, desperate to see their friend restored, bore a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down in to the room. Jesus, seeing this, acknowledged the friends of this man, and their faith. And the man was healed.
The people around you matter. They can either build you up or tear you down. When you have been friends with someone for a long time, what happens? You start acting a like. Taking on one another’s characteristics and mannerisms. In this, if your friends are not acting correctly, how can you expect to act better? But when your friends challenge you to improve, you will see the process of growth.
Who are your friends? What is your community? Do they tell you it’s your fault, or do they risk their safety to bring you healing? The people you have around you will make or break your future. Don’t stick with friends just because you have known them for a long time. And don’t assume this new friend will be the key to unlocking your past hurts. But when trust and a bond is formed, the sharing of burdens and pains can happen, and the healing can begin.
It’s not always easy. I have struggled with opening up to people my whole life. I have perceived sharing and vulnerability as weakness. And, because of that, I have dealt with my pain longer, and harder, than if I asked for help. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your healing. Don’t let the fear outweigh your faith. Telling someone a struggle might be exactly what you need, what they need, and what God wants.
Everyone needs someone to talk to. If you have someone, that’s great. If you don’t, I encourage you to find someone. Maybe they go to your church, school, or even your work. Maybe it’s a therapist or counselor (yes, that counts). But find someone, and let them know what you are dealing with. And you’ll be surprised at how much lighter you feel.