At a recent wedding reception, I grabbed the opportunity to talk with an older couple we had known since childhood! I had heard they were walking the road of church rejection, and my heart broke for them! I knew the pain … I wanted to tell them how sorry I was and to wish them peace! But as I found a place beside them, sat down and started conversing I burst into tears!
All the pain of the years past and the pain we were facing at the church we were then attending was heavy on my heart, and now here before me this bishop and his wife were facing the same heart wrenching breakup that we had gone through!
It’s a terrible pain!
An ache that chokes, belittles, and suffocates…
To be judged by men…controlled … held at arm’s length… and then cast aside …
It’s a pain the devil uses to whisper lies, plant lies, and grow lies!
What do we do with such pain and how do we heal and grow??
1- We must separate God and the organization we call the church.
That is something that isn’t so easy in our culture. Disapproval/ Approval of the church is not one and the same with God’s disapproval/approval. Why do we seek glory of men? Or honor one of another?? Our true honor, and self-worth comes from the One Who made us! Not from our peers! Truely we must view the judgements of men thru the discernment of the Holy Spirit!
2-We must call the judgement and cruelty of men what it is.
Abuse. Men trying to be gods. Men using their power to control. As children of God we must be offended by things that offend Him! Not to judge and get back at those that abuse us, but because we cannot excuse sin… Until we call spiritual abuse what it is we will carry unnecessary guilt and shame!
3- We must keep in mind who the REAL enemy is.
When we see peers or the church as the enemy bitterness grows. Seeing who the real enemy is keeps things in an eternal focus. It makes the battle about me, God and the devil, not about me and my peers.
4-We must pray against the spirit of offense.
A broken heart can be the devils playground. He wants to use these painful experience to build walls of distrust against future relationships and ruin ones of the present. When the heart is raw and bleeding it’s a perfect planting ground … Beware of the seeds you choose!
5-We must grieve.
We must feel. We must walk thru the pain. We must cry those ugly tears. Friends hurting friends is hurtful … wounding! Leaving churches where we built a life, a home, is heart wrenching … So often, subconsciously, as we walked thru the agony I pictured our family as loading up our covered wagon and heading out a cross the prairie, leaving dreams behind… Glancing back over my shoulder I saw the life we had built getting smaller and smaller in the blowing prairie grass. People I thought were our friends had loaded our wagon and handed us the reins. Now they stood with their backs turned, gossiping about us, as we drove away… Grief is a little (or big) bright pink sack, full of pain, in the corner of our hearts. Grieving releases the pain, and deflates the bag. Refusing to grieve allows the bag to remain and swell in a vital place of our lives, later erupting in times of fear and pain, causing more pain!
6-We must return to the salvation of our souls.
In a secure church setting it is so easy to focus on the group and lose sight of the goal. God uses times of church trauma to remind us of our eternal focus and His love for us.
Allow Him to speak those words of peace and hope to you.
Use the times of uncertainty to build your trust and hope in the true Anchor of our souls.
Put down roots in His word… Listen.
Allow your heart to hear the voice of God speaking personally to you.
Soak up that LOVE!
And share it with the broken world around you!!