King of Pain

Remember the song, “Doctor My Eyes” by Jackson Browne? For you younger folks, here is a link to his performance of it:

I believe this song accurately describes life in a fallen kingdom.

I’ve been thinking today about our amazing capacity for denial. Somehow we’re able to hurt, be hurt, or see hurt and just go on with life. Maybe we do this because grieving takes too much time. Or perhaps we fear that should be begin to mourn we will never stop. So, we “pinch it off.” We justify harmful actions, minimize them, or just ignore them. We do this but not without cost. When we bury hurt or regret, a part us gets suffocated. The shell which protects our vulnerability also imprisons our sympathy. We find that when we want to cry or at least should cry, we can’t.

Sadly, the one negative emotion which continues to seep out is anger. Because we’ve buried the hurt itself, the anger which seeps out manifests itself in ways which are disassociated from the original event. Subtle digs on others, quiet disdain, and outright abuse all perpetuate pain as anger widens its influence through others who will then deny their hurt. Can we really believe that the prevalence and predictability of this dynamic is attributable solely to psychological factors? I would like to suggest an alternate theory.

I believe that a malevolent spiritual entity insinuated pain into the stream of human society and that through denial he continues to proliferate it. Why? Because he exerts control through extortion and blackmail. To borrow now from an eighties’ song, Satan is the “King of Pain.” Every repressed hurt becomes a handle by which the devil and his agents can lead people around. By participating in denial, people unwittingly submit to Satan’s control in their lives.

For support of this idea, consider Jesus’ words from John 14:30 regarding Satan’s influence, “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me (literally, he has nothing in me).” Jesus never sinned therefore he had no secret shame or repressed guilt. When wronged, Jesus readily confronted and/or forgave therefore he carried no repressed offense. The life of Jesus was the “in-breaking” of the kingdom of God.

So how do we check out of the kingdom of pain and into the kingdom of the Son once we’ve yielded to our enemy? In the second sentence of his great sermon on the nature of his kingdom, Jesus spoke these words, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” With all of the pain in our fallen world, there is a danger that mourning could consume us. We don’t have to be afraid. Jesus promises comfort. We can talk with him and each other about the ways we’ve been hurt and caused hurt. In this way, will we overcome the King of Pain.


    1. Ain’t it great to dialogue civily and to appreciate what is great in those with whom we disagree! Keep thinking and writing. I’ll probably follow you for a while at least.

  1. I agree with the above comment, you have a good writing style that isn’t complicated and easy to absorb.

    What I will mention though is Jesus gets more press today than he did back when he was allegedly doing his thing. Great historians of his era such as Tacitus and Pliny never mention him. Tacitus does mention someone called ‘Chrestus’ from that area but there is no connection with Jesus or his deeds or indeed does the name relate to Jesus or Christ. So, if someone is going around performing miracles then wouldn’t this have been front page news at the time, and judging by the miracles he supposedly did, some time after!

    Instead we have disconnected stories wrote decades later that lack cohesion and no direct witness contact. Saul of Tarsus on receiving lets call it a direct download from heaven only knows about certain aspects of Jesus, Saul or Paul had never heard of Mary or Joseph, John the Baptist or miracles. He doesn’t quote Jesus, know about the entrance into Jerusalem and on it goes. All Paul does know about is the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. Even then, Paul puts the last three in a mythical realm.

    ‘If Jesus had been on earth, he would have been a priest.’ Hebrews 8:4

    Remember Paul is the link between the alleged life of Jesus and the first gospels which is a considerable and debated gap in years.

    1. Great stuff. Thanks for your compliment and for your input. I really appreciate hearing the viewpoints of others. Ironically, I’ve heard the same contention regarding Paul recently from a Muslim friend of mine. Obviously, I don’t agree. I consider Paul’s letters to be a very convincing proof of the veracity the Christian message. For instance, the Galatian letter dating by most at 55 CE, contains a rebuke over a heresy regarding the role of Christ in redemption. So, by 55 the message has had time to become codified, spread to Asia Minor, take hold, and fall into heresy. Pretty good trick assuming that the gospel was a human fabrication or adaptation.

      Regarding secular history, I don’t find a whole lot of secular records of anything from anyone who lived during the ministry of Jesus. Pliny, Josephus, and Tacitus were born 27, 37, and 55 CE respectively. Regarding the Tacitus quote you mentioned, here it is:

      “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

      Lastly, Hebrews was not written by Paul. However, the book has a ton of markers in it which suggest an early understanding of the essential gospel. Thanks again for your input. Very stimulating!

  2. I’ll need to dust off my history books but the fact you quote Tacitus’s from Wikipedia (not always a reliable source for everything!) enforces my point, if he wrote that then why did he not mention more of what was known about Jesus if he was such a big deal? After all he could have learned more about him from christians who were then established. I respect the fact you consider Paul’s letters convincing but then if we look again at Wikipedia it states ‘Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are attributed to Paul. His authorship of seven of the fourteen is questioned by modern scholars.’ so veracity could be called into question I would say. According to other scholars (some religious) we have conflicting debate on events mentioned in Acts and letters wrote by Paul.

    On a side note, I visited St Pauls Bay on the island of Malta last year and may be going in that direction again soon. The Maltese are a lovely people and embrace their faith fully. As you’ll probably know Paul was shipwrecked there allegedly on his way to Rome. An interesting point is that Luke mentions in Acts 27 about the the local area is that they disembark on a beach and also mentions sandbanks. There are no beaches or sand on that side of the island of Malta, just rocks, maybe there could have been but it’s doubtful considering the local geography.

    Paul and his travels are interesting if widely contested by christian factions, there’s even rumour he came to the far west but that cannot be verified. For me though being an atheist the fact he allegedly saw Jesus in a vision and suddenly became aware of many things and evidently not so many things regarding Jesus’s life gets my alarm bells ringing.

    1. I respect your opinion. I only want you and other atheists to understand that there are well educated and rational people who believe in Christ. There are two sides to any disagreement between people. When one side belittles the other both sides lose. The fact that you were unaware that the Tacitus quote existed (in Wikipedia [not where I got it] or otherwise) attests to your limited perspective. My perspective is limited as well. The difference is, that I acknowledge my limitations. Perhaps you do too, I just haven’t seen much evidence of it in atheist blogs on the internet.
      Your reference to the incident at Malta serves to illustrate the human tendency to see only our own side and ignore conflicting data. Luke uses the first person plural pronoun throughout this section indicating that he was with Paul during these events. My question to you would be, “How arrogant would a person have to be in order to believe that he has a greater understanding of events from a vantage point 2000+ years removed?” Also, I found a picture of a sandy harbor on Malta. Here’s the link

  3. Yes there are sandy beaches or rather banks in Malta, I can’t refute that but having been to the island several times I know they are confined to one side of the island, not the side Paul allegedly landed at and then they are far and few between. I’m not so much taking a one sided look at that, I am just going on visible and known evidence. As your image shows from the map at the side it is from the opposite side of the island from St Paul’s bay.

    As for limitations, well of course my knowledge is more history based than from biblical scripture and if it comes to quoting the bible or finding our way around it I’m sure you’d beat me hands down. I’m not trying to undermine what you say or your belief, I am just trying to present alternate evidence not linked to the bible that is both known and credible. Regarding the Tacitus quote, well I’d read it before but I’m sure you’ll understand I cannot remember everything I’ve read and I’m sure the same applies to you. I was aware Tacitus had made some mention of something relating to a possible figure connected with Jesus or in fact Jesus but for clarification I am looking through my Roman history books.

    I guess being something of an atheist activist I’m going to have my own perspectives but rest assured my friend, I’m not going to be arrogant or disrespectful. I’m just going to present different explanations in order for healthy debate and discussion. I’ll have to check out more atheists blogs and I’m sure some aren’t very positive in some respects. Do you think atheists come across as arrogant? On a sincere note I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

    1. Yes, I realized that you had specified that the sand was not on the side of Paul’s supposed landing after I sent my reply. I guess I was premature as well. I appreciate opposing views and I don’t think that evidence for the supernatural is limited to the Bible. Would you take me up on a challenge in the name of scientific discovery? Would you go to a place where you are likely to meet people from a wide variety of backgrounds such as a bar or coffee shop and for four hours just ask the people if they have had any encounters with “the supernatural.” Ask them to tell you their stories and journal what you hear. I hypothesize that at least 1 in 10 will tell you that they have had such encounters and further that the majority would say that the encounters were negative. Let me know how it goes. Regarding atheists and their arrogance, I read an atheist recently say that gods are the product of human imaginations like hobbits 🙂 Think about what that implies about me. Think about what it implies about the knowledge you suppose yourself to have. I understand that this is what you believe. Just preface your statements with “I believe.” You have religious faith and I respect that. I just wish that you would acknowledge it instead of supposing that you are the only rational ones. Make sense. I’ve enjoyed this exchange. Feel free to leave whatever you would like on my wall but I probably won’t participate much further since it’s taking some time and mental energy which I need to spend on other things right now. I wish you the best*. (*I’m praying for you.)

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