HOW LEFT-HANDED WARRIORS BECOME WOUNDED HEALERS.
By Rev/Dr. Eddie Donnally
Can the deeply wounded actually become God’s most effective agents for healing?
Judges 20:16 mentions 700 “select men,” among 26,000 Benjamite warriors who were left handed. “Every one would sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss.” In a dead run on horseback, they could sling a round stone at over 100 mph and place it in the middle of a foe’s forehead. They were the most deadly warriors of their day. The Bible typically depicts being left-handed as less than desirable and many theologians surmise that these fighters used their left hand because they had been wounded on the right side. Though they had to adjust and use their left hand, they were the elite.
All of us to some degree have been wounded, body, soul and spirit. Some wounds are inflicted by those we trust the most; friends, parents, our spouses or other relatives. For me, my mom died of cancer when I was five. My grandmother took over raising me but died when I was twelve. When I moved in with my new stepfamily, I was sexually traumatized by a relative.
Though I pushed my anger from my conscious thoughts, became a professional jockey, married and had children, it was still there. God made us in his image and we have God’s same yearning to rectify evil. Later, my relative was not available to hate and my rage found a natural outlet atop a half-ton Thoroughbred racing at 40 mph.
After 20 years of racing, I became a successful, workaholic newspaper writer and underwent a divorce. As is often the case, my adolescent behavior hit me like a running racehorse decades after it occurred. I suddenly acted out through same-sex promiscuity. I knew it was dangerous, yet couldn’t stop. My hate for my stepbrother had turned inward, becoming self hate. That self hate was fed by my behaviors which generated more self loathing which gave me more reason to hate myself. On and on it went.
In gaining my Doctorate of Ministry, I learned that the unfulfilled rage of abused persons often perpetuates this same deadly cycle. It’s why many abused females become prostitutes and males battle same-sex attraction. We act out the things we hate as a way to hurt ourselves and pay penitence for the guilt we feel for past and current behaviors. My drugs and alcohol abuse became another way to kill myself and on some level enjoy the process.
Yes, for some of us our deepest wounds are self inflicted.
A suicide attempt, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, anti-depressant medication and two stays in psyche wards followed my divorce and a descent into behaviors I abhorred but couldn’t stop. I was caught in the cycle of self hate. I was like a caged gerbil on an exercise wheel, running like crazy but remaining caged. After I hit my girlfriend and wound up detoxing in jail, my mind became clear enough to realize my rage was going to do more damage to others and destroy me.
Christ’s redemption comes in different ways for different people, but come it does if we genuinely seek it. Mine came in a large courtroom holding cell when a fellow inmate read James 1: 1-2 from a tiny Gideon New Testament given to me by a prison chaplain. The holding cell filled with a golden sparkling, music filled, smoky-blue haze I am convinced was the Shekinah Glory. All the prisoners had tear-filled eyes. We formed a circle of hands and asked Christ to change our lives. Though I had been in only one Pentecostal church service and thought it strange, I was given the gift of tongues, something I use in voice or silently every day.
Several things happened that day, December 16, 1996. II Cor. 5:17 says we become a “new creation,” when we come to Christ. I believe God rearranged my DNA. I first cried because of the misery I was in, then cried because I realized the misery I had created in others, and then I cried because God had forgiven me. In that was the bondage-breaking power to forgive my abuser. And I have.
Yet as a manifestation of God, my diving healing is, was, and is to come. I was, am and will continue to heal. God is no respecter of persons and why my redemption was so dramatic I don’t know, except God gave me the passion and perhaps ability to tell others about it.
The antidote for self hate is self love. That comes when we begin to wrap our minds around the fact that God the Father send God the Son, who lived as a human just like us and died a horrible death so we can be forgiven and have eternal life. If we are important to enough to have God die for me, how dare we hate ourselves. The antidote for rage is forgiveness and when we consider the extent of our forgiven sins, how dare we not forgive others. (Matt 18:21-35, Luke 7:41-48)
Salvation is the greatest healing miracle of all. Within it is not only personal healing but a passion to become an agent in other’s healing. That’s why I went back to school in my 60s, earned a doctorate, spent 16 months in a hospital resident chaplain program and now minister as a hospital and hospice chaplain. With my personal pain came an understanding of the depths of pain in others. That understanding empowered by the Holy Spirit becomes compassion
Repentance means to make a 180 degree turn and it does just that. Once our pain becomes compassion we act out Christ’s love for us just as we once acted out the Satan propagated hate for ourselves. That love ends the cycle of self hate becoming guilt-ridden, self punishing behaviors that only generate more self hate. Now, helping others heal helps us heal, and that healing generates a passion to help more heal, which additionally helps us heal. Christ’s grace has not only halted but reversed the cycle, 180 degrees. II Cor.1: 3-4 is a key. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This is how left-handed warriors become wounded healers. We don’t adjust. Christ’s love does it for us. Through the realization of His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we wounded become God’s warring agents for healing, as accurate and potent as the 700 elite Benjamites.