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When the deathsweat is on thy brow thou wilt need a better handkerchief than was ever made by human hands; and if the Lord thy God be not at thy side then to wipe the scalding tears from thine eyes, what wilt thou do? What wilt thou do? But now I have to answer a second question, what is a wounded spirit? Well, I have known some who have talked about having a wounded spirit, but the wound has been after all a very slight affair compared with the wounds that I mean.

One has been disappointed in love. That is very sad, but still it is a trial that can be endured. We have no right to love the creature so much as to make it our god or our idol. I have known some who have been disappointed in the object of their ambition, and in consequence they have had a wounded spirit. But who are you that you should not be disappointed, and what are you that you should have everything according to your mind?

Surely if the Lord were to deal with you according to your sins you would have something to bear far worse than your present disappointment. There are many others who have passed through equal or even greater trials. Do not therefore allow these things to fret you and to destroy your peace. Be not like the Spartan boy who put the fox into his bosom and carried it there, though it was gnawing at his flesh, and eating right into his heart.

I will only say this about such wounded hearts as these; there is a good deal of sin mingled with the sorrow, and a great deal of pride, a great deal of creature-worship and of idolatry there. Depend upon it, if you make an idol and God loves you, he will break it. Now this is an evil that is to be rebuked. I dare not comfort those whose spirits are wounded in this fashion.

May not this be petulance instead of patience? May there not be very much here which is not at all according to the mind of Christ? I will not dwell further upon that point, but there are some forms of a wounded spirit which are serious, and yet they are not quite what I am going afterwards to speak about.

Some have a wounded spirit through the cruelty of men, the unkindness of children, the ingratitude of those whom they have helped, and for whom they have had such affection that they would almost have been willing to sacrifice their own lives. It is a terrible wounding when he who should have been your friend becomes your foe, and when, like your Lord, you also have your Judas Iscariot.

It is not easy to bear misrepresentation and falsehood, to have your purest motives misjudged, and to be thought to be only seeking something for yourself when you have a pure desire for the good of others. This is a very painful kind of wounded spirit, but it must not be allowed to be carried too far. We should cry to God to help us bear this trial; for after all, who are we that we should not be despised? Who are we that we should not be belied? He is the wise man who expects this kind of trial, and expecting it, is not disappointed when it comes.

So do not be broken-hearted if men try to wound your spirit. When thirty years ago they abused me to the utmost, I felt that I need not care what they said, for I could hardly do anything worse than they said I had done. When you once get used to this kind of treatment—and you may as well do so for you will have plenty of it if you follow Christ—it will not trouble you, and you will be able to bear your infirmity without being much wounded by the unkindness of men.

There are others who have been very grievously wounded by sorrow.

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They have had affliction upon affliction, loss after loss, bereavement after bereavement. And we ought to feel those things; indeed, it is by feeling them that we get the good out of them. Still, every Christian man should cry to God for strength to bear repeated losses and bereavements if they are his portion, and he should endeavor in the strength of God not to succumb whatever his trials may be.

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If we do yield to temptation and begin to complain of God for permitting such things to come upon us, we shall only be kicking against the pricks and so wound ourselves all the more. Let us be submissive to the hand that wields the rod of correction, and then very soon that rod will be taken from off our backs. There are some who have been greatly wounded no doubt, through sickness.

A wounded spirit may be the result of diseases which seriously shake the nervous system. Let us be very tender with brethren and sisters who get into that condition.

The Wounded Soul

It is a real disease, it is not imaginary. Imagination no doubt contributes to it and increases it; but still, there is a reality about it. There are some forms of physical disorder in which a person lying in bed feels great pain through another person simply walking across the room. I suppose that you would like to run a steam-roller across the room just for the sake of strengthening their nerves! But if you had the spirit of Christ you would want to walk across the room as though your foot were flakes of snow! I beg you, never grieve those upon whom the hand of God is lying in the form of depression of spirit, but be very tender and gentle with them.

5 Warning Signs You’re Leading With a Wounded Spirit

You need not encourage them in their sadness, but at the same time, let there be no roughness in dealing with them; they have many very sore places, and the hand that touches them should be soft as down. Yet do I not wish to speak of that kind of wounded spirit alone for that is rather the business of the physician than of the divine. A man in such a condition as that will have a wounded spirit such as none can bear. Then you may pipe to him, but he will not dance; you may try to charm him with your amusements, or to please him with your oratory, but you cannot give him peace or rest. Sometimes the spirit is wounded by the fierce temptations of Satan.

I hope that you do not all understand what this means; but there are some who do. Satan tempts them to doubt, tempts them to sin, tempts them to blasphemy. Who can bear it? God save you from it if you have fallen under its terrible power! A wounded spirit may also come through desertion by God. The believer has not walked carefully, he has fallen into sin, and God has hidden his face from him. A burnt child dreads the fire, and so does a true child of God who has ever played with sin; he has been brought back to his Lord, but he has gone the rest of his life with an aching heart and limping limbs, and many a time in wintry weather he has felt that his broken bones start and cry out against him with the memory of his past sins.

Therefore beloved, be very careful that you do not backslide, for if you do you will have a wounded spirit which you will not know how to bear. I think to myself sometimes—how will they come down when their precious balloon bursts? I have often wished them well down on the level again. I have seen them believe this, and believe that, which they were not warranted by the Scriptures to believe, and they have affected exalted ideas of their own attainments.

Their position was something wonderful; they were far up in the sky looking down upon all the saints below! Yes, dear friends, that is all very pretty and very fine, undoubtedly; but when you come down again then you will begin to condemn yourself for things that you need not condemn, and you will be distressed and miserable in your spirit because of a disappointment which you need never have had if you had walked humbly with your God.

For my own part, I can truly say that none of the novelties of this present evil age have any sort of charm for me; I am content still to abide in the old way, myself ever a poor, needy, helpless sinner, finding everything I need in Christ. I feel sure that I, for one, shall not suffer any disappointment in this direction, for I shall keep just where Jack the huckster kept, and say with him,—.

But Jesus Christ is my all in all. Yet I am very fearful for others, for whom there awaits a terrible time of bondage when they once come back to the place where it would have been better for them to have stopped. I think I would much rather go on in my own quiet way, and keep within my own means than do any thing of that kind. There are nowadays many spiritual spendthrifts who are pretending to spend money that does not exist, and they will very soon find a sense of their poverty forced upon them, and their want will come like an armed man, demanding their surrender. My time has almost fled; but I want to answer a third question— how are we to avoid a wounded spirt so far as it is evil?

I answer first, if you are happy in the Lord and full of joy and confidence, avoid a wounded spirit by never offending your conscience. When Mr. Bunyan describes Christian as meeting with Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation, and fighting that terrible battle which he so graphically describes, he told us that the pilgrim remembered then some of the slips that he had made when he was going down into the valley.

While he was fighting with Apollyon he was remembering in his own heart the slips that he had previously made. Nothing will come to you in a time of sorrow and pain and brokenness of spirit so sharply as a sense of sins of omission or sins of commission. Why did I not do that? Again, if you would avoid a wounded spirit get a clear view of the gospel.

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  6. They do not know how a Christian stands in Christ. Spell it in your own bout, —free, rich, sovereign grace; and know that you, a guilty, lost sinner, are saved as a sinner, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, that in due time he died for the ungodly, and that your standing is not in yourself or in your own attainments, but wholly and entirely in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    It will often prevent your getting a wounded spirit if you understand the differences between things that do really differ, and do not mix them up as so many do. Again, you will avoid a wounded spirit by living very near to God. The sheep that gets bitten by the wolf is the one that does not keep near the shepherd. It has often happened that when I have been preaching there has been somebody dreadfully hurt. Let your cry be—. So much then for the prevention which is better then a cure.

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