Breaking the Cycle of Pain
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Fill in the blank. Dog collars are for _________. Dogs, that's right. Or, in one case, a not-so-bright nephew. My friend's nephew decided it would be fun to put his dog collar on around his own neck. It wasn't just any dog collar; it was the kind that gives the dog a little shock when he's barking too loud. Doesn't sound like something they should be selling, but you know what, this guy owned one. You want to guess the rest? Without thinking, he yelled something to someone across the yard, which triggered a shocking reaction from the collar, which made the young man of course, scream in pain, which gave him another shock, which caused him to shout "Ow!" again. Which caused...you got the idea.
A bad choice. Pain as a result. Doing something because you're hurting, and causing even more pain - compounding pain. That is a cycle you or someone you know may be trapped in right now, and it's hard to break out of that cycle of pain. Hard, but not impossible.
A lot of our bad choices would come under the Bible heading of "sin" - doing something in our life our way instead of God's way. Oh, maybe it looked like fun. Maybe it looked like it would help you meet a need or get ahead or get out of a jam. Or it could be you were just curious. It seemed like a good idea at the time; like putting on a collar that would ultimately inflict major pain. Our word for today from the Word of God in John 8:34 and 36 says, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin." That's what you don't count on. See, first sin captivates you and then it captures you. You thought you could stop. You can't. You thought you could get out any time. Wrong.
Someone has wisely pointed out that sin always takes you farther than you ever thought you'd go, it keeps you longer than you ever thought you'd stay, and it costs you more than you ever thought you'd pay. We really do become slaves to our sinning; whether it's a pattern of lying, of lusting, of losing it when we're angry, of living for ourselves. And there's no freedom until you first admit you're hooked; you're powerless to stop the sinning and the compounding pain that's coming from it.
Like that young man, yelling for help when the dog collar shocked him, we do things to deal with the pain that just cause more pain. We lie, we cover up, we sin even more, we do things to try to sedate the pain, and then we get hooked on the sedative, too.
But here comes the hope, right after the statement about being a slave to sin. It says, "But if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed." That son is the Son of God. Jesus Christ died on the cross to break the power of sin. The Bible says, "He carried our sins in His body on the tree so we could die to sin" (1 Peter 2:24). And He stands ready to help you break out of the bondage of sin and the cycle of pain that sin causes, if you'll call your sin what it is and pour it all out to Jesus. Admit that you can't do a thing to beat it and then you fall at His feet in total surrender.
If He has the power to walk out of His grave, don't you think He's got the power to beat the sin that keeps beating you? Don't keep trying to deal with it your way. All you're doing is making it worse. There's only one cry that will set you free - a cry to Jesus. You've been sin's slave long enough. This can be the day that you go free!
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.