Hurt. We’ve all experienced it. When we do, it can be difficult to maneuver through. Mine from a couple years ago returned fresh to my mind recently.
I had just met this man, and I couldn’t help but grasp our conversation was no coincidence. For us both to be there at that exact time, was nothing short of what I call a “divine appointment.”
He and I didn’t have a whole lot in common, but what we did have was important: 1) We were both Christians, and, 2) We have both been hurt by the Church. (By the Church, I mean the people who make up the body of Christ, who may or may not be in an organized church building.)
Years ago I never knew this special group of people existed, those I’ve heard referred to as the “walking-wounded,” or “Church-damaged.” (Those are nice terms to be described by, aren’t they?) These are people just like you and me, and something has happened personally in their Church experience to cause them pain and heartache.
Now that I find myself in this group, my radar unintentionally seems to locate others who are also labeled as such.
And as it does,
I am continually reminded the Church is comprised of broken people, just as the world is.
(I may be the most broken.) God uses these broken people to relate to and reach other broken people. Understandably, wreckage can take place in a church, just as it can in the world around us. Maybe we have different expectations of the Church, thinking it’s a safe place… and in all reality, it should be. But so often, it isn’t. When damage occurs from this “safe” place, deep wounds filled with pain and heartache result and oftentimes remain exposed.
As I listened to his story, my heart grieved for what he has walked through. I understood his hurting heart, and how the pain caught him completely by surprise. Even though my situation was different, I knew of what he was sharing.
I knew his hurt all too well.
Time did not allow for me to share my story with him, and I see now I wasn’t supposed to. I was to listen, and encourage.
But I did disclose how I understood, and I expressed my sadness for his experience. I also very briefly shared with him some ways I dealt with my own Church hurt, and what helped me survive.
I’ll share them in tomorrow’s post. (If I included it all here today, this post would be far too long. You have other things to do today besides reading a lengthy post.)
But I’ll end today’s part with this:
God can use our hurt for good.
He has the power to turn what was once bad, into something for good–either for you or for someone else.
I was reminded that day, if I wouldn’t have walked through that time of pain (I’m still on the path to healing, by the way), I wouldn’t have been able to relate to my new friend. But since I had, I was able to help carry his burden for a short time, and to allow him a glimpse into the heart of a sojourner who is making her way to the other side.
Friend, without making light of your hurt and pain, I desire for you to be encouraged. If hurt fills your heart today, trust God in it. If you’re walking a painful road, trust He’ll bring good out of it.
I invite you to stop back tomorrow. And, If you are one of the “walking-wounded,” or “Church-damaged,” I believe you’ll especially be encouraged.
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