Tag Archives: wounded

From Whom All Healing Comes

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

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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

Pain and Failure as Keys to Community

Tuesday Re-mix –

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:41-47

I have two leadership roles in my church, two different “small group” ministries for which I am partly responsible.  I am pretty passionate about both of them, and I am always learning from each of them.  The Gathering is my Sunday morning Bible study group, open to any and all comers, all ages, all walks of life and all levels of spiritual maturity.  It is a slightly non-traditional offering as a part of my church’s “Sunday School”.  We meet around tables, effectively creating “small groups” of 6 to 8 people every Sunday morning for Bible study.  Heart 2 Heart is also a small group ministry, but for wounded people.  Every Tuesday night, these dear friends meet in small groups built around specific issues and pains in their lives.  Some of these groups …

Are You There for the Wounded?

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 …

Trusting God’s People…Again

I’m posting this under the category, “Books that Changed Me”.  When I created that category, I didn’t intend it to be for books I had written.  But I suppose it goes without saying, every book you write changes you.  This one was certainly no different.

trusting_vFINALlowDepending on whose statistics you use, anywhere from 15% to 40% of Christians today would say they have been wounded deeply by other Christians.  Think about that.  That is an enormous percentage.  If there are 100 million Americans today who claim to be Christian, that means that somewhere between 15 million and 40 million would say they have felt genuinely betrayed by their Christian brothers or sisters.

That betrayal coming at the hands of the church is among the deepest emotional and Spiritual pains imaginable.  After all, the church is supposed to be a safe place for us, a place where we are genuinely loved and accepted even with all our flaws and shortcomings.  When betrayal comes from there, it comes from the last bastion of Spiritual safety we know.  It cuts deeply and it renders us Spiritually (if not emotionally) incapacitated for a season in our life.  You may be one of these wounded saints.  If not, the chances are high that you know one.

The question this raises: what is the church’s responsibility for responding to these dear friends?

The reality is that the pews (or chairs, or benches) in your worship center are often filled with people hurting from this very pain.  They were hurt deeply in another church and left there and are now in your church.  And they brought all that baggage with them.  What they want most is to just sit in the back of the room and be invisible for a while.  They’re fairly certain they will not …