The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Kary Oberbrunner: Feeling the Pain

By The 700 Club - BEHIND THE BLADE

Kary grew up in a Christian home.  In 1986, when Kary was 10 and his mother had a close brush with death which left Kary depressed, angry and distrustful with God.

In 1992, Kary’s father had a heart attack that nearly took his life.  Kary, then 16, became depressed again and started cutting himself. 

“I had a lot of anger at God and felt guilty for being angry with God,” says Kary.  “I always knew rebellion wasn’t the answer.”  He turned to performing for God, not actually worshipping Him.  “I worshipped with my hands and head, but I didn’t trust Him,” he says. 

Stuffing his pain, Kary’s emotions went into self-injury.  “It became an addiction,” says Kary.  “You crave control where you’re calling the shots.  You create a world where you control the pain.”  Cutting, he believed, gave him control over pain instead of pain controlling him. 

Kary carved words like “failure” and “loser” which was how he saw himself.  “My self-injury was severe and secret,” he says.  Throughout Christian college and seminary while studying to be pastor, Kary continued to cut.  He would preach on Sunday and cut on Monday.  “I thought I was helping everyone with my perfect performance and religion, but I was a fraud.” 

In 2000, Kary fell in love with Kelly and got married.  The first year was toxic and the marriage began falling apart.  “I felt trapped,” says Kary.  “I didn’t want people to know me because I thought if they knew the real me, they would reject me.” 

One night, Kary had just finished cutting and decided to tell people closest to him the truth.  So Kary went to his professor, rolled up his sleeves and told him.  “I thought he would say, Thanks for sharing,” says Kary. Instead he said, “You’re not fit to be a counselor,” and failed him. 

Kary was devastated and his whole world came crashing down.  At home, Kary cut himself and had a breakdown in the bathroom.  He yelled at God and poured out 23 years of pent up emotions.  Kary dropped the knife.  “For the first time, I saw myself as nothing and was not afraid to bring that to Him,” he says.  “He took all the pain that I had absorbed like a sponge for years.  For the first time, I realized why I needed a Savior.”  It was the first step of healing when Jesus melted Kary’s heart. 

Kary dropped the act of trying to impress people.  He went to counseling and worked through all of the lies he believed over the years.  Up until then, Jesus had been a subject that Kary studied in school.  “I found freedom.  My story changed,” says Kary. 

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