USA (MNN) — Protests continue throughout the US as communities of color demand reform. A new poll finds nearly all Americans favor at least some level of change to the nation’s criminal justice system. Meanwhile, protestors tear down many statues they deem to be racist.
Dean Vander Mey of Set Free Ministries says anger, hurt, and injustice abound.
“If ever the world needed hope, it’s now. We’re living in some pretty tough days.”
Injustice inflicts pain, and the resulting anger may be justified. However, Vander Mey says, holding on to pain and anger doesn’t lead to healing or hope; only Christ can offer those.
“Jesus is the healer of a broken heart… Let’s turn back toward Him and ask Him to forgive us of what we hold. Here’s what most people hold: a lot of sin done to them; they just hold it and they get angry,” Vander Mey says.
“Jesus is saying, ‘I paid for all of it. Give me your heavy loads. I come for the weary to give them rest’.”
The path to healing
Ten years ago, Vander Mey walked into a local restaurant and met a man heavily burdened. He wore his pain and sorrow for the world to see. “[He] had slit his arms with a razor 30 times and the wounds were still oozing,” Vander Mey recalls. “The Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Help this man,’ and so I did.”
Reaching out with compassion, Vander Mey invited the man into a conversation. “I went up to him after he left the restaurant… And I said, ‘I see that you cut yourself, and I know you’re hurting. Can I help you?” The man accepted and began a journey toward healing, Vander Mey says, but it wasn’t easy.
“He had determined that his life was worthless. He was filled with hurt, pain, and anger, and there was no more hope.”
Past mistreatment in a Christian community filled the man with bitterness, anger, and resentment toward God and his fellow believers. “God was unsafe, church was unsafe, so he chose to do it his own way,” Vander Mey describes. “He was filled with anger. He had taken drugs; he had a mental diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenic [and] he was severely depressed… he had all kinds of labels.”
Through biblical counseling, confession, and repentance, this man left his anger at the foot of the cross and found new life in Christ. “That man today is not only happily married to his wife, but he has three kids, he’s gainfully employed, he has no mental illness, and he’s not on any medication,” Vander Mey says.
He’s also using his experiences and testimony to help others find freedom in Christ. “He just went with me three weeks ago to a young man that had overdosed and tried [committing suicide],” Vander Mey says. “I told him to wear short sleeves because the man who has scars gives the other man who had just cut himself hope.”
Through biblical counseling, Set Free Ministries offers hope to the hurting – no matter what the pain source may be. Connect with Set Free here if you’re struggling. “There’s only peace with a living God. If our hope is not in God, then we have no hope at all,” Vander Mey says.
“If you’re without hope today, if it feels like you’re stuck, just know that darkness is not dark to our Heavenly Father. He knows right where you’re at.”
Most importantly, pray. Pray for individuals in your community who struggle with painful pasts. Pray they will find healing and freedom in Christ. Use this Prayercast video to pray for nationwide healing and reconciliation.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy Sandra Seitamaa via Unsplash.