Flashback Friday…the day folks who forgot to post on Throwback Thursday get a second chance to go back in time. I went back in time to a not so great time. You know it’s a trip when you say “those were the good old days,” and those days were not too long ago. I mean, seriously, I can almost look over my shoulder to those days.
I got hurt in church. That’s a fact…yep, it happened. The truth of the matter is that
most ALL of the hurt I’ve sustained as a Christian has been at the hands of Christians. That is what has been on my mind on this fine “Flashback Friday!!”
If I were NOT a Christ-follower, I suspect the hurt would roll off of my back eventually. I’d be irritated, bitter, hard hearted and unforgiving. I would write off my oppressors and look forward to the day that they “got theirs,” preferably at the hands of another, but hopefully loud enough for me to hear about it.
If I were a Christ-follower I suspect the hurt may or may not roll off of my back, I’d withdraw, say I have forgiven, but be confused about what forgiveness looked like, and I’d probably be bitter, (if I was being totally honest), skeptical and unwilling to engage ever..period!
I was that hurt, bitter, skeptical unwilling to engage ever..period Christ-follower. It’s crazy to even type that admission after I type “Christ-follower.” Following the leader usually makes one look and act like the leader, huh? Not always, at least not in my case and I would venture to say I’m not alone. When I left church on that last day, I knew it was my last day and I left unannounced, uncelebrated, unnoticed…just like I had arrived. But I left with a secret, since I had a year to sit in my hurt right there at the scene of the crime.
I was pretty giddy as I got into my car that day. Freedom feels good!!! My secret? Some church was about to be blessed big time. Some church was about to be the recipient of a family who loved God, loved people and was willing to do whatever it takes to follow the leader…Jesus!!
I purposed in my heart to stay at that church and not take all of that hurt with me.
I had a residue when I left and I had to reprogram my heart and that’s where being stubborn and steadfast worked in my favor. There was no way I was going to allow people to change or alter my course or rearrange my purpose. Now, I so recognize the walking wounded and it hurts me in a different way. I’m saddened because there are so many not plugged in…just roaming, some hoping to re-engage some day, some too embittered to want to try again, some giving up altogether. This topic keeps showing up within me because I keep running into my brothers and sisters who don a fresh limp…a limp that makes me flash back.
Here’s a great quote I ran across in a study I’m doing in a “Think about it” section….
People we love have a unique capacity to hurt us. We are vulnerable to them in a way we are not vulnerable to others. Sometimes, this vulnerability is so painful that we pull away from connection and close off to others, hoping they won’t be able to hurt us again. But when we do so, we also close ourselves off to experiencing joy, happiness, gladness, and delight with them and even because of them.
What courage it takes to expose our hearts again after we have sustained great hurt. I would venture to boldly say that the people who hurt us were sent to heal us if that hurt drives us to the only One who can heal us.
The truth is that the enemy works the hardest within the walls of the church. There is no way he wants the church to be healthy, whole and free. That would be too great a threat for him and his kingdom.
Be healed church…move forward. There is a Body…there is someBody and you are the gift which that Body needs.