Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Mark 14:43-46
My ministry brings me into contact with a good number of people who have felt wounded by the church. God seems to have given me the awesome assignment of being an encourager and exhorter to those people. I co-authored a book with Debbie Taylor Williams aimed specifically at the pain of these same dear friends: “Trusting God’s People…Again”. It is on my mind this week, because I will be speaking from it the next two Sunday evenings at my church.
Being hurt by the church is by no means a unique experience. The statistics of those who feel injured by the church are pretty overwhelming! But the pain itself, the feelings of betrayal by God’s own people…those feelings are definitely unique to these circumstances. Being hurt by the church is just not comparable to any other pain…not really. It is a deep and lasting pain of being wounded by the very place which should be the safest place in the world for us. The healing process, therefore, is likewise pretty profound.
The good news is this: the One administering the healing from this pain knows all about it from personal experience. That makes a big difference! Here is the way I describe it in the book:
THE NATURE OF PAIN / THE PROCESS OF HEALING
Like physical pain, emotional or spiritual pain can be incapacitating. When your leg is broken, no matter how much you want to walk on it, no matter how important walking might be to you, you simply cannot do it. A healing process must take place first. Similarly, emotional or spiritual pain can make it impossible to function properly without some healing process taking place first. No matter how much we want to move on, no matter how much we want to trust again, the pain simply doesn’t permit it.
So, where does the healing come from? It comes from where all other healing comes: God’s Word. Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” The same Christ who raised the dead and who made the blind to see administers emotional and spiritual healing as well; this same Christ knows all too well the pain of being hurt by the church. You see, it was the church who betrayed Him and had Him flogged and crucified. It was many of his closest friends and family who ran and hid, denying they even knew Him. He knows your pain, and He has the healing balm for it.
That is why the journey on which we are about to embark is necessarily a journey through God’s Word. On this journey, you will examine real characters and true stories from the Bible, allowing God to speak healing into your life through them. Through God’s Word, Christ will take your hand and together you will walk the path of healing.
Would you pray with me about these next two Sunday nights? Would you pray to the very Savior who knows all too well what it feels like to be betrayed by one’s closest friends? Would you ask Him to breathe healing into those who hear this message and who truly want to be healed?
This ministry is such an awesome privilege!