We’re all familiar with the numeric pain assessment scale. How many times have you been asked the question, “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?” My Aunt Donna has been asked the question several times over the last week in recovering from her second knee replacement for the year. My favorite illustration of this process is when Baymax assesses Hiro in this clip from Disney’s Big Hero 6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEeBXUUOBiI
The answer is not as easy to obtain when dealing with children. In those instances, the FLACC scale may be used to determine the level of pain. There is also the FACES pain scale used to help children identify their pain. I remember as a child it was a challenge being asked many times over not only to rate my pain but also to describe my pain. It’s a difficult thing for children to be able to articulate the source of their pain and the intensity of it.
We can understand that though, can't we? Is it much different with all people? Not really. We’re proficient in expressing our physical pain, but those emotional wounds are another story. Wouldn’t it be nice to point to a face to indicate our emotional anguish or just slap a Band-Aid on those hurts until they heal?
Makes me think of Caden around four and five years old. Even the slightest of injuries warranted a Band Aid. And when I say “slightest of injuries,” I’m leaning heavily on the slightest end, referring to the most minor abrasion. Yes, that’s the delicate way of saying he wanted a Band Aid even for scratches. You know nurses, we assess the need, which only qualifies if there is an inclusion of blood, and many times over I assessed that Caden didn’t need a Band Aid. However, it didn’t take long to realize that he wasn’t like his big sister and big brother; he couldn’t be reasoned with about his injury. Forget the need, if Caden wanted a Band Aid, we weren’t moving on until Caden had a Band Aid. Soon I reveled in the simplicity of it. “Just slap a Band Aid on there and it’ll all be fine.” Oh if that were only the case in life.
In the NICU we utilize NPASS to assess pain in neonates. Babies can’t tell us how they are feeling, so we gather information in regards to their crying and irritability, their behavior, their facial expression, the tone of their extremities and their vital signs to assess their level of pain. These indicators help us meet their need. Sound familiar?
How often do we see people hurting who won't verbalize they are hurting? Let’s go even closer to home. How many times are you hurting and you never tell anyone your level of pain? Or here’s one more that might need a Band Aid after I put it out there. How many times has someone let you know of their pain and you only made the hurt deeper?
The last two weekends I have had the opportunity to take part in some very special retreats to speak into the lives of some very special women. I pray much hope, healing and love was received from our time together.
Of those retreats, one was based on the book Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. I was one of six speakers who poured our lives out to those in attendance. The point of it all is that we are all wounded. Recognizing those wounds make us cognizant to the enemy’s methods of attack. The defeated foe wants to use our pain to render us ineffective for the Lord.
This retreat was a time women were speaking to women to heal wounds. Unfortunately, far too often women speaking to women can intensify the wound.
Well, with the same things that bring healing can also bring hurt.
Wisdom and Words.
In James 3:13-18 we learn there are TWO kinds of wisdom.
- earthly, unspiritual demonic
- from above
Proverbs 18:20 we learn there are TWO kinds of words.
When someone trusts us enough to invite us into their wound, when they trust us enough to indicate their level of pain, let us be careful to use wisdom from above that, “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere;” and let us be careful with our words that they may speak life.
James 3:13-18 ESV -- Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Proverbs 18:21 ESV -- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Toby Mac says it well in Speak Life, “We can turn a heart with the words we say. Mountains crumble with every syllable. Hope can live or die”
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