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Shalom: Peace and Wholeness are Possible

Uncategorized Sep 10, 2020

This week I continue to bring you some of the ideas that Carol Merritt writes about in her book, Healing Spiritual Wounds:  Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church.

Last week I shared some ideas that Merritt writes about the Great Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

She continues to explain that spiritual wounding, or “religious wounding” happens when the Great Commandment has been violated.  When the abuse happens to us, someone else has done the violating.  The Great Commandment has a three-part nature:  love of God, self, and neighbor.”  Merritt likens this three-part nature to “a machine of three pulleys – a machine that produces love.  Spiritual wholeness happens when the finely tuned mechanisms of love work in tandem.” (p. 31)

When any of the three parts stops working, the machine doesn’t operate anymore.  Instead distortions have caused a breakdown.  Violations of the Great Commandment can cause us to think that love is a limited resource (p. 30).  If we are to find a path to healing from the wounds, we have to “go back and relearn love.” (p. 32)

And then Merritt starts talking about “Shalom.”  She uses a metaphor of a shattered vase.  Healing consists of reclaiming the shards.  Shalom means peace, but it also means wholeness.  It’s “not a state of perfection, but a feeling in our gut and a way of responding to the world (p. 33).  Praying and working for shalom in our lives is being willing to do the hard work of looking at the shards, collecting them, and appreciating them for what they are (p. 34).  Why would we do such a thing?  Wouldn’t that hurt even more? 

The answer is because that’s the way to healing.  We would do such a thing because we yearn to be whole again.  We want that kind of peace.  This work isn’t easy.  It can take a long time.  It helps to have a soul companion to walk with us and to talk to along the way.  But it needs to be a person who is truly helpful – not one who furthers the abuse.

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