Are You There for the Wounded?

October 13, 2009

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Pretty much anybody’s interpretation of Jesus’ ministry has to agree that He was there for wounded people.  Whatever else you believe about Him and His purpose, you would be hard-pressed to argue that point.  Everywhere He went, He was helping physically, emotionally and Spiritually wounded people.  His best-documented sermon, the sermon on the mount, began with some words about wounded people…

Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven; Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted; Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled…Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven… Matthew 5:1-6, 11-12.

The fact is, Jesus looked out over a motley crowd full of hurting people who had been largely ignored by that society and told them, “I have some great news for you.  Heaven wants you, even if nobody around here seems to.”  It is a defining characteristic of Jesus: compassion and care for the wounded.

And it should be a defining characteristic of every local body of believers who claim to be following Christ…every single church, every single congregation.  A large part of being the New Testament church is looking out at our community and seeing the brokenness and trying to help.  That is a given, not really up for debate.

But how do we help?  And who do we help?  Obviously, not every church can be called to meet every need.  World hunger, AIDS, single moms, teenage pregnancies, drug abusers, divorce, homelessness, mental illness, special needs children, and the list goes on and on and on.  It would seem that the list of ways a church can get involved in ministry is literally endless.  And even if a church could somehow “discern” which type of ministry or ministries God has assigned to it, how in the world does it meet the need?  Where does it begin?

Praise be to…the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. II Corinthians 1:4

Here is His answer.  Your pews in your church are already filled with people who have been through difficult times in their lives.  God has already brought your own people through woundedness.  You have some who have come through financial hardship, some who have been divorced, some who have grieved the loss of loved ones, some who have fought addictions, some who have parented special needs children, etc.  They are there, in your pews.  They have already held God’s hand and found their way through that pain, and they can help others do the same thing.  They can be a support for those others, a guide.

It need not be complicated.  If I have experienced a particular kind of woundedness, and if I God has taught me some things through that experience, I can help others with that same problem.  I can start a support group for those people.  My church can sponsor the group and get the word out to the community about the group.  People from within the church can come and people from outside the church can come.  All I have done is agreed with Jesus, saying to them, “I love you and I want to help.”

And before you know it, my church has a support group ministry and is reaching people who had all but given up on the church.  Suddenly, they’re interested in the rest of what we have to say, all because we showed them that we care.

THAT is the picture of the church being the church.  It is the picture of Jesus.

If you want to see how one church has done it, check out Heart 2 Heart Ministries.

But don’t get paralyzed by the “how to” or the questions about structure.  Just start.  Trust the Lord to order your steps.  It’s what the church does.

© Blake Coffee

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5 thoughts on “Are You There for the Wounded?

  1. Donna M.

    Blake-I love this post. As the parent of a special needs child (now adult), I have experienced both the love, and occasionally the neglect, of the body of Christ. Sometimes I think that people within the church genuinely feel helpless, that they think they do not know what to do. Other times, I know, from experience, that pride keeps us from admitting when we need help, comfort, and encouragement. We don’t want anyone to know that we don’t have it all together. You have made a very important point using II Corinthians 1:4, my favorite verse for at least the past 20 years. Everyone has trials and struggles, and God has equipped us, as believers, to have a ministry to others who are experiencing similar troubles. That is, if we will allow Him to use us.
    Thanks again. I have been reading some older posts. I, too, loved the “Shack”. I’m sure an intervention is awaiting.

    Reply
    1. Blake

      Donna, thanks for the comment. It’s clear to me that God has brought you guys to a very healthy place through the blessing of Josh in your lives. So, I’m not surprised at all that II Corinthians 1:4 is important to you. I have a Romanian friend, Lydia Oprean (http://beckyshope.org) who is a mother of a special needs child and who has an international ministry to other such moms. She also facilitates the Parents of Special Needs Children support group in our church. I’ve traveled with her to Romania to speak at one of her “Moms’ Retreats”. It changed my life. Your ministry and hers is exactly what this post speaks to.

      Ted, I agree. These are all reasons church people often do not reach out to hurting people, and I’m sure there are a lot of other reasons as well. Love your observation that most of the people doing this well are not famous. What a wonderful observation.

      Reply
  2. Ted

    Some ignore, some tell you to ‘get over it’, others pity but are not sure they want to get involved, and the real spiritual ones just don’t want to interrupt what God may be doing in someone’s life. I’ve heard and experienced all of these.

    But thank God for the very few that will risk to be a catalyst for difference. They are few, and most are not famous. Sort of like in the Gospels…

    Reply
  3. Marshall Jones Jr.

    Thank you for reposting this. I found your blog through twitter. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Marshall Jones Jr.

    Reply
  4. Sharon

    WE JUST HAD GUY COMMENT SUIDE IN THE CHURCH WE ALL NEED HELP A AND A SERMON to help us >> There is a lot of ??? and his girfriend is really in bad shape for he tired to take her life also ..

    Reply

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