Tortured Soul

Home » Sermons » Soul Detox » Tortured Soul

Auto Generated Transcript

If you got a Bible, invite you to turn to Psalm chapter 38. We’re going through a series together called Soul Detox. And and the important part of this series for us, what we’re trying to get across is we’re going through the poetic books of the Bible, most specifically the Book of Psalms. We’re looking at a few other poetic books along the way, but we’re sticking to the Psalms. And the reason we’re sticking to the Psalms is, is that the Psalms are are man’s praise back to God. They demonstrate for us how we can open ourselves spiritually and response to all that God is, and praising his name. In fact, the Psalms was Israel’s psalm songbook. It is Israel’s songbook. It’s where they would turn to sing praise to God. Our souls are important as God has made you a physical being, and so you need to take care of your physical self so it stands with your spiritual self, and what you trust in your soul is important. This morning I want to talk to you about the tortured soul. There’s a man being made famous by Hollywood right now named Louis Zamperini. He was the man featured in the film called unbroken. He was also featured in the book about his life called unbroken, written by Laura Hillenbrand. Louis Zamperini was captured in World War Two by Japanese forces and was made a prisoner of war. And if you were to see that movie, the you would note that at the end of the movie it’s just about his freedom from war.

But what you find is if you read The Life of Louis and what it communicates to us in his book, that his battle didn’t end when he returned home from war. In fact, one of the critics of the film wrote this if the worst things in life were war, torture, and death, then the movie might have done Zamperini justice. Louis himself, though, would testify they are not. There are worse evils and worse fates facing all of us, the darkness within each of us. The story goes, according to the book, that when Louis returned home, so excited was his family that his sister played an audio clip that she had saved of him during the war. They broadcasted his voice over the radio, and when Louis returned, his sister played it for him, and it records in the scene in the book that Louis immediately dropped to the ground screaming, take it off! Take it off in violent convulsions. Louis suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, a disorder that led to 30%. More likely, those who were POWs would would eventually commit suicide. And Laura Hillenbrand wrote this about POWs. They carried unspeakable memories of torture, humiliation, and an acute sense of vulnerability that attended the knowledge of how readily they could be disarmed and dehumanized. Once returning from war, he began to struggle. You struggle with depression.

He struggle with alcohol. He struggled with fits of rage. In fact, on page 365 of the book of his life, it says, though Louis returned to America, no one could reach Louis because Louis had never really come home. Louis eventually came to the belief that in order to fix his situation, that he needed to kill his torturer by the grips of his own hands, and only then could he be restored. A once singularly hopeful man now believed that his only hope lay in murder. All this he wrestled with. Until 1949. When Louie’s wife, who was struggling just to maintain in the marriage, went to a Billy Graham crusade and came to know the Lord, invited Louie to go listen to Billy Graham the next day. And when Louis went, he heard this message. Darkness doesn’t hide from the eyes of God. When he thought of his story in page 376, it says what resonated with him now, having heard of Christ, was not all that he had suffered, but the divine love that he believed had intervened to save him. He was not the worthless, broken, forsaken man that his Japanese captors had striven to make of him in a single silent moment. His rage, his fear, his humiliation and helplessness had fallen away. And that morning he believed he was a new creation. Years later, Louis was standing in the very walls that held him prisoner and had watched him suffer so badly.

He now looked into the eyes of many of the very men who had inflicted the blows. For the first time since the war. He was seeing the faces of his pain and humiliation. How did he respond? Did he devolve into seizures or violent screaming? Did he silently burn with fear and rage? No. Louis was seized by a childlike, giddy exuberance and bewilderment. The men who had abused him watched him come to them, his hands extended as radiant smile on his face. He later wrote a letter to the man who had tortured him, and he said, as a result of my prisoner of war experience, under your unreasonable punishment, my post-war life became a nightmare. But thanks to a confrontation with God, I committed my life to Christ and love replaced the hate that I have for you. Forgiveness, not survival, was the victor’s crown of Louie’s life. A man who was once horribly broken by sin. But now has been sweetly broken by God. All of us in our lives. Experience some degree of grief within our soul. Some might even call it feeling tortured. And all of us are spiritual beings, and all of us then therefore need the Lord. Which is why Proverbs 423 says, guard your heart. It is the wellspring of life. In First Peter chapter two and verse 11. Peter describes, there’s a picture of Louis. I keep forgetting to show that Peter first Peter 211 describes the waging of war.

And our soul says, dear friends, I warn you as as temporary residents and foreigners talking about this earth to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. All of us have battles we face with our soul, and in fact, Psalm 38 represents one such battle. Psalm 38 is included in a cluster of seven psalms found in the Book of Psalms. They’re referred to as as the penitential Psalms. Penitential psalms or psalms of lamenting confessional prayer before God. They’re psalms that that deal with an individual who is grieved because of sin. And it may not be the sin that they lived in their life, but sin has affected their lives. And so these penitential psalms express, express brokenness. Psalm six. Psalm 3238, 51, 102, 130 and 143 are all considered penitential psalms, a place where the soul is grieved before the Lord. In Psalm 38, when David writes this psalm, he, he, he relates to two areas of his life where he’s experiencing this grievance in his soul that is like torture. And the first deals in the first eight verses with himself. His personal actions have alienated him from his relationship to the Lord, and so he he is grieved before God. And the second is this the reaction of people? And so he records in Psalm 38 and verses three and five. He says, because of your wrath, there is no health in my body.

There is no soundness in my bones. Because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. All of us. Experience the effects of sin. Whether it be sin we conduct. When someone else conducts, or just from the brokenness of the world that we live in. We are affected by sin physically, emotionally, relationally, and whatever adversity you face, it will affect your soul. And what you do with your soul. Determines how you handle the adversity. What’s important for us to recognize. As we look at David’s Psalm, what he begins to express to us is that Jesus does not expect you to defeat it on your own. But rather bring it to him. Doesn’t matter how much of an exemption you think you are or how tough you think you’ve been built. There are things that can come into your life and just rock your world. Whether something happens to you physically. Mentally or through someone else. Your soul has to deal with it. When it comes to the book of John, it tells us that in our dealing with adversity before the Lord and our soul, that it’s important for us to walk in truth. In fact, it says in John eight and verse 44, you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.

Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks for those of his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus wants you to bring it to him. The devil wants you to believe otherwise. Exchanging the truth for lies. Where destruction comes from for us. And it may not even be something right now. It could be, like Louis, something from even the past. With the torturing continues to weigh up on you. And the twisting of truth comes into your life. And it says things like, yeah, but you’re not quite as worthy as everyone else. And just as they’ve received God’s grace. You don’t deserve God’s grace. But the news for us is no one does. And even in David’s sin, we recognize whatever has brought him to the place of torture before the Lord that he’s referred to in Scripture as a man after God’s own heart. And God continues after David. In Psalm 139. It describes the life of an individual. The psalm is a beautiful psalm from beginning to end, describing us and our creation as people. But in verse 17 it specifically says, how precious also your thoughts to me, O God, how vast is the sum of them? If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake. I am still with you. Search me, O God, and know my heart.

Try me and know my anxious thoughts, and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Maybe we say to ourselves in a lie, if anyone knew your secrets, they would reject you. They wouldn’t accept you. You did bad, so you are no good and worthless. You failed at something, so you fail at everything. You did bad because you are bad. And the truth is. Apart from the grace of God. None of us deserve to be near him. There was a story I was listening to as an older pastor sharing when he was younger. In college, he went to this religious gathering for college students and and he brought a young lady with her that with him that was struggling in life. And she had been leading a promiscuous life, and he really cared for her, and he wanted her to know God’s love. And he says he walks in and this guy is teaching about purity. And he stands up before the crowd and he’s opening illustration as he holds up this rose and he says, we’ll get back to this in a minute, but I just want to pass this rose out throughout the audience, and I want everyone to take a look at it. I want you to touch it. I want you to do whatever. Just make sure it comes back up to me at the end of the service.

And so they begin to pass it around and people fill the pedals, and slowly, one by one, the pedals start to fall off, and by the time it returns to him, the the top of the rose is broken and barely dangling there. And there’s just a couple pedals left and. And the man holds up the rose and he says, do you see this? Men who would want this that’s been touched and abused by by the world. And his illustration was the point back to promiscuous lifestyles and saying, now, now, who in the world could possibly love someone like this? And and this young man who later became a pastor says he’s sitting in this religious gathering just screaming on the inside saying, can’t you just be honest with your own beliefs? Be true to your faith. Jesus does. The truth is, all of us are broken. And Jesus wants you. And it doesn’t matter to him. The preciousness of your soul was designed for him as your creator. There’s a thought within scripture. That says this identity brings activity. Not activity brings your identity. And what I mean is, in a religious type of thinking, we would tend to say as people, we we do good so that God would accept us so that we can have an identity in him. But in reality, it’s when we shape our identity in God, and God has shaped our identity through him that we begin to live a life of praise towards him.

And David comes to the psalm and he’s recognizing where things went wrong. Where he left and walked away from the Lord. And it says in Proverbs 28, he who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he confesses and forsakes him will find compassion. What’s David do? David starts to worship. In fact, it tells us in Psalm verses 38 and excuse me, chapter 38 and nine and ten, all my longings lie open before you, Lord. My sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds. My strength fails me. Even the light has gone from my eyes. Lord, I wait for you. You will answer, Lord my God, Lord, do not forsake me. Do not be far from me, my God, come quickly to help me, my Lord and my God. David turns his complaining a situation of loneliness into worship before the Lord. Um, my family, um, created a theme verse for 2015. Well, we didn’t write it. It was in the Bible. So the Bible created this theme verse. And and so we made it our theme verse. Um, it’s first Thessalonians 518 and then we, we got a matching verse in Philippians 214 because it’s, it’s like the opposite of, of 518 518 says in everything give thanks. And Philippians 214 says, don’t complain and grumble, right. So, so let’s, let’s get I get the negative and the positive.

It’s funny because this year as it started, every time my wife and I, if we start to say something that might sound like a complaint, we wrote this verse above our fireplace. So we tell each other, go stand in front of the fireplace and read, read that verse. But the great part is the verse says in everything give thanks not for everything, give thanks meaning. The life of Louis Zamperini. It was because of his despair that he found Jesus. And so in the circumstance, he can be thankful. But if you ask a man, are you thankful you’re a prisoner of war? In everything. Give thanks, but not for everything. I’m not thankful that bad things happen. And I don’t think Jesus is neither. But but I am thankful that despite the bad things, Jesus gets the victory over them, over them all and he is good. And therefore the bad work out for good because God is good. I’m not thankful that I have emotional and physical scars in my past, but I am thankful that God uses those scars to draw me to him and lift me in him. Though life may not go the way that I desire, desire God is bigger than all of it. First Peter dealing with a persecuted church. Peter says this, and he himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that he might die to sin and live to righteousness. For by his wounds you were healed.

For you were continually straying like sheep. But now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. The picture goes like this. Jesus spiritually heals us. And physically he could. But one day he will also resurrect. And he will do away with sin. And he will make us completely whole. And Peter says in this passage that he’s tending to the soul, that whatever we go through as individuals, beginning with worship, presents ourselves in an open, raw way before the Lord that he may minister to our souls. And so, David. In Psalm 38 and verses two and four. He starts with worship by beginning with confession. He says, your arrows have pierced me. And your hands have come down on me because of your wrath. There is no health in my body. There is no soundness in my bones. Because of my sin, my guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. I confess my iniquity. I am troubled by my sin. Sometimes it is other things that torture our soul, and sometimes it’s it’s within ourselves. What David does here is he just worships. And he uses this word confession. And confession for us is important to think about what God thinks about as it relates to that word. Because sometimes the word confession can can attach itself to religious thinking, which isn’t necessarily healthy or biblical. And what I mean by that is this.

When we talk about confession, there there is a part of us that does feel grieved as God feels grieved when we confess. But confession isn’t just about feeling bad. I was reading a story about a man who had done something wrong, and so to to pay penance for what he had done, he decides he is going to isolate himself for 40 years to punish himself for what he had had done wrong. Confession is not about punishing yourself. Confession takes an attitude of humility, but it’s not about beating yourself up. Confession really carries an attitude of agreeing with God. And sometimes in our lives when we recognize I haven’t agreed with God with what I’ve done. Sometimes within our hearts there’s this this attitude of of pain and hurt that we we could stand against God. But the important thing about confession isn’t about how you feel. It’s about restoration. Confessions about unity. Sometimes in our lives we can’t get relationships right because we don’t have our relationship with God, right? I mean, you look at Louis Zamperini, who comes back from war and and none, none of life is working for him. His wife is looking at leaving him. And the hope that he needed. Rested in his relationship to God. Confession about restoration. We get this right so we can get our relationships with each other right. Confession isn’t about abuse. It’s not about beating up. It’s not about walking around feeling guilty and paying penance.

Confession is about agreeing with God and seeking restoration in him. And so David starts with worship that leads to him in confession, and he recognizes something along the way that in the midst of his pain and hurt, sometimes people don’t respond well in it. Like we’re people and we’re messy, and we tend to live life in messy ways, and and we all need grace. And he comes to Psalm 38 and verse 19, and he’s saying, they’re kicking a dog while he’s down. It says many have become my enemies without cause. Those who hate me without reason are numerous. Those who repay my good with evil lodge accusations against me. Though I seek only to do what is good. David is saying. God before I even get this right. I need to make sure that we’re right. So before these challenges that I face. I know that you’re with me. The truth is, when it comes to the life of David, not not only was it his enemies opportunity and his sin to rise up and pound them down. But he also found it happening among his own friends. He says in chapter 38 and verse 11, my friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds. The word for wounds. Some translations say saw. It literally means diseased. The nation of Israel. If anyone had a disease, they were considered unclean and they weren’t allowed to be to touch other people or have that human contact.

When they when they walked in society, they had to yell unclean, unclean so people would stay away from them. That’s what David’s saying has happened in this passage. Because of my sin, rather than my friends rallying around me to encourage me, they have all fled from me. I can imagine if David’s enemies are rising up, that they are looking at David thinking, these enemies look pretty strong, David, I think they’re going to overthrow your kingdom as a possibility. I don’t want to be anywhere near you because when the king goes down, so do the people that follow after the king. Have you ever been in a situation? Where you’ve seen a soul that’s grieving and. And something within your human nature just rises up to just want to help out. I think. I think we experienced that when we see, you know, I don’t know the dog that sat on TV or the little kid that needs help or whatever it is. There’s something about the human sentiment that’s drawn to that and wants to rise up and and do something. But there’s also a point in our lives, too, sometimes where we pass this situation of torturous looking in environment that that it makes us uncomfortable. So rather than just figure out what to do, we just hurry up and turn a blind eye to it. Maybe we could call it Nazi Germany.

Maybe we could call it slavery in America. Oh, maybe we can call it homeless people on the street. Sometimes there are situations that seem so overwhelming to us, and so difficult that we and our souls don’t even want to look at it. We don’t face the reality of our own brokenness. David is saying that in verse 11. God. I’m a person and I feel isolated. You created me for relationship, but yet I’m lonely. In order to desire to be near you. I look at guys like Louis Zamperini and realize. I don’t have the power to fix that, man. I think his family realized they didn’t have the power to fix him, barring some miracle, intervene. And and he couldn’t get back what he lost in the war. But Jesus can redeem him. And so he starts with worship, and he starts by laying down his sin and and let his situation lead him to. That led him to anger and resentment and alcoholism. And he let it all go. And he stopped believing that he was damaged. And he came and he just trusted in the Lord. In this psalm. In Psalm 19 and verse 21 and 20, David begins to describe his enemies. He. He sets this difference between him where he he stands in weakness, and his enemies are are before him with strength. He was sick. The Nsabb says they were vigorous. But what David does is he clothes himself in the Lord.

He says in verse 21, God be with me. In verse 21 again, God be near me. Verse 22, be for me and help me God. In the Book of Luke, chapter 11 to to 19, there’s a story about Jesus traveling between Samaria and Galilee. And as he’s going through that land, he passes through ten by ten lepers. And they begin to scream, these lepers begin to scream for the Lord to come near to them and to heal them. And the story tells us in verse 14, listen to what? How Jesus says. And he looked at them and said, go show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. During that time they would have been unclean, and people would have to stay distant to them. If the priest gave them a clean bill of health, then they could interact in society once again. And so Jesus says, go back to the priest. And as they were going, they were cleansed. But then the story goes on a little further beyond the cleansing. And he says, and one of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus shouting, Praise God! He fell to the ground at Jesus’s feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan, and Jesus asked. Didn’t I heal ten men? And we’re. Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give God glory to to God except this foreigner? And Jesus said to the man, stand up and go.

Your faith has healed you. The beauty of the story works like this. Ten people come before Christ and they were cleansed. One man comes back to Jesus and he was healed. For us in our lives. I think there’s something more important. And the physical environment around us. And that’s what deals with the soul. Because when your soul is healthy. And when your soul trusts in the Lord. In the midst of adversity. Their strength to be found. And in that as people, as we struggle to respond. The sin of the world around us, the things that we react with in our own lives. We find healing. The lepers who had leprosy were simply cured. But the man who put faith in Jesus. He was healed. There is something deeper to us than just surface level. Something God created within us. That when the rest of the world seems to fall away, fade away, or cause pain, there is something within you, your soul. That endures. God has created us to place that trust in him, and whatever adversity you face, it will affect your soul. But what you do with your soul determines how you’ll handle adversity. The penitential psalms for us as people. Demonstrates to us in the midst of grieving, rather than take vengeance on our own, rather than depend upon our own strength just to fall to ourselves and trust in the one who provides Christ.

Heavy Soul

Seduced Soul