Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hurt By The Church

Okay we are going back to the journal, today we are visiting April 17th, 2003. I am just going to share an excerpt here because this entry was a doozy!

I need You so much right now. I feel like I am under attack from every angle. Since I committed to Save-A-Life it seems like everyone is out for me. You know the situation with *****. I just want to say How Dare You, Do You Have A Clue What I've Gone Through Just To Be Here At All? but I know that is my flesh and I need to ignore it, but that doesn't make it any easier... 
I love You Lord and I trust in You.
In Jesus Name,

Whew, in this entry I was one hurting young lady. I remember the tears that flowed as I penned this prayer to my God. As I said, this was just the beginning, a small excerpt, of the hurts that I poured out that day in the pages of my journal.

One of these great hurts was coming from someone in my church. I had just been reprimanded for being late and due to this day I quit teaching the class that I was over. I was devastated and humiliated. Of course what the one who did the reprimanding saw was just me coming in late. What they didn't see was the fact that I was a young mother who had a baby that had not slept more than 45 minutes at a time since birth and I had a husband who worked night shift and did not attend church regularly with me at that time. I also worked outside the home part-time.

I was worn out and doing the best I could. I had a desire to serve and to teach and to be an active serving part of the church and at this moment I could have said fine see if I'll be back ever. But that was not the call I made.

I chose grace.

I was hurt, but I chose forgiveness.

And the thing is the one who made this reprimand is to this day one of the dearest people I have ever known and I love them greatly still.

They were not evil. They were not out to get me. The enemy attempted to set up destruction, but he failed, and the love of God prevailed. I still continued in my church and continued teaching my other class.

Had I walked away from God and His church at this time in 2003... oh my the blessings I would have missed! The friendships I would have never gained, the eternal lives I would have never been a part of, the opportunities to love, laugh, cry, encourage, serve, grow... all missed if I had of chosen to hold this hurt in bitterness and throw my hands in the air and turn my back to the church.

I wish I could say this was the last hurt I ever experienced in the church, but it's not. I've lost count of the times I have been on my face before God in tears over the hurt delivered to me through someone in the church, in my church, the one I am still a member in. We just don't leave because of hurt feelings, because this is where God has planted me and my family. Feelings lie. Feelings don't see the whole picture. They are selfish and nearsighted and prone to exaggerate and manipulate.

Jesus does not forsake me because I have hurt His feelings... so I shall not forsake Him because someone in His body hurt mine. His body is immature and in a growth process. It's not attained perfection yet, it's not complete yet, there is still lots of growing up to do in the church and if the parts of the body keep forsaking the body then how on earth is it ever to grow up?

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:11-16

If the joints and ligaments keep checking out because of a bout of arthritis the body is never going to get anywhere. We don't forsake our earthly bodies because a part of it is hurting us and not working right so why should we forsake our spiritual body because it's hurting us and not working right? When it's our physical body we try to get to the bottom of the hurt and fix hit, we don't just walk away from it.

I can guarantee you that if you regularly and actively attend a fellowship of believers at some point and time someone will hurt you.
It's a family.
Families hurt each other sometimes- but the love always outweighs the hurt.

To share a quote about the home:

A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world’s perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which at close of day the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place where love learns its lessons, where life is schooled into discipline and strength, where character is molded. ~ J.R. Miller

There is a reason we say "This is my church home"
If we can't learn to model and give grace and mercy and forgiveness and love within the church to fellow believers, how on earth do we expect to learn to give it to those who are lost and know God not?

Before you leave a church because you have been hurt by the church... seek God.
Ask Him to give you eyes to see past what your flesh feels.
Bring the hurt to Him.
Seek Him in His Word.
Talk to a trusted believer who will not begin a gossip ring, but will speak truth to you and keep your confidence.
Whatever you do, don't just leave to be leaving.

Then Peter came and said to Him,
“Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me
 and I forgive him?
Up to seven times?” 
Jesus said to him,
“I do not say to you, up to seven times,
 but up to seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21-22

Let us also not forget that we were told that there would be tares among the wheat until the day Christ comes to reap.

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying,
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Matthew 13:24:30 

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