The power of pain in invitation

In John Maxwell’s latest book The 15 invaluable laws of growth, Maxwell writes about the the law of pain. John McDonnell once said, “Every problem introduces a person to himself.” What an insight! Each time we encounter a painful experience, we get to know ourselves a little better. Pain can stop us dead in our tracks. Or it can cause us to make decisions we would like to put off, deal with issues we would rather not face, and make changes that make us feel uncomfortable. Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.

When I first started to introduce the idea of a welcome Sunday to church leaders I was stunned at how they could possibly say no to the idea. Sometimes they were so negative that they even attacked me for suggesting it! It made me feel really bad. It didn’t matter that I convinced many church leader’s to try a welcome sunday, it was always the one nasty comment that remained with me and caused me pain. In order to do the work that I do I have to face and deal with that pain on a daily basis. As Maxwell says

‘It made me face the fact that I needed to change the way I was thinking. You could say I had finally reached a teachable moment. And that is the value of the Law of Pain. It gives us an opportunity to turn our lives around. Many of us numb pain and so lose the opportunity to grow.’

Richard Rohr says Pain that isn’t processed is passed on. Pain that isn’t transformed is transmitted. I’d rather live with the pain of self-discipline and reap the positive rewards than live with the pain of regret, which is something that can create a deep and continual ache within us.