I remember as a child being rather shocked to find out that there were rules for warfare.  Rules?!  Yes, rules.  For war.  One of the rules that everyone seems to violate is the rule against torturing captive enemy soldiers.  We all remember the brouhaha over water boarding and the precise language that attempts to define torture.  Our country is divided over whether we should torture our enemies.  It is well known that when we do not do this, we sometimes turn our enemies over to those who have no qualms about cruelty in order to extract information that may be useful to our country.  Torture is a loaded word and the images it conjures are most unpleasant.  Most people will do almost anything to avoid physical torture and the terrible pain it brings.  Sadly, many people suffer from a soul that is tortured.  All too often, they avoid the very One who can end the suffering of their tortured souls.

Monday…I remember receiving a phone call one evening more than forty-five years ago.  it concerned a young boy named Ronnie who was fifteen years old.  He had been found dead in his own home a victim of suicide.  He simply could not take the pain anymore from the bullying he received in his high school.  One can only imagine the pain his soul went through because of rejection and ridicule.  The take away for Christians is obvious: Christ has redeemed us and given us a hope we need to share with everyone we possibly can reach.  I Peter 3:15

Tuesday…When I was a professor at the Seminary in Cincinnati, I had a student who had come out of a horrible situation in Africa during which more than 900,000 people were killed in Rwanda.  He told me of the torture he had suffered as a result of two tribes fighting with one another.  I marveled at his resilience.  And I marveled at the joy he exuded.  Jesus had freed him from the bitterness, hatred and anger he had felt.  John 16:33

Wednesday…The rash of mass shootings experienced in America recently have caused the authorities great concern.  Average citizens are also concerned and with good reason.  Have you noticed the profiles of the killers?  To a person they are tortured souls.  That does not excuse their actions, but it helps us to understand their actions.  To feel extreme pain in the inner man, the soul, will eventually involve destruction and death.  Choose the narrow path and much pain can be avoided.  Matthew 7:13,14.  Forgive others and much pain can be avoided.  See the model prayer: “Forgive us as we forgive others…”

Thursday…Grace is truly amazing!  A sure fire cure for the tortured soul is to find rest in Christ Jesus.  It is a hard thing for some to grasp, namely the truth that God is love and that He wants to forgive and save but such is the case. Blaise Pascal said that he had a “God-shaped hole in his soul” and that only God could fill that hole.  Well said!

Friday…Peter denied Christ three times and relieved the torture in his soul by crying out to God for pardon.  He was pardoned and was given the incredible privilege of preaching the very first Gospel sermon 50 days after his cowardly betrayal (Acts 2).  Judas betrayed Christ and, because the torture in his soul was not relieved, he hanged himself.  See the prodigal run to his father (Luke 15) and do the same!