How many times have you been shunned by others? How often have you extended a hand or spoken only to be ignored by that person? What about the moments when the words of another cuts you deep? Grow thicker skin is the world's response to such situations. Now what do we do when this situation is in the house of God? The house of mercy and understanding that is to extended to a hurting world. But now we have become the ones doing the hurting, hurting each other. More and more often we find people who have been hurt deeply within the family of God, leaving them worn and exhausted. More and more often we find believers, robbed of the joy Jesus promised in Him. When we find this hurt hanging on to our own bruised soul, it can make us want to leave the church and sometimes even want to "back burner" our God who seems to have allowed it all.
Sadly, we have come to accept that this is the way church is. There is an epidemic of fractured believers out there and we have actually come to accept this as the norm. So we either stay away and let our hearts become cold ... or we put on our Sunday best, call "forward march" and implement a new vision or program and hope the problems will just go away. The hurt in individual hearts and churches gets buried ... until it gets bumped again.
Let's face it, people in church can be unkind, judgemental, and even betray you. Leaving deepening wounds that are not soon forgotten. This kind of wound is horrible! We have a tendency to play down the problem and even discounting the wound.
Well, the point is, it hurt. It may not seem like much to others. But it hurt you badly or someone you know. And that's not OK, no matter how you look at it. It's very hurtful when someone in a church setting, which is suppose to be a Sanctuary from a hurtful world, acts in such an un-Christian like manner. That can create some very deep seeded bitterness.
Our Savior never intended the church to be like that. It is to be a place of encouragement. Our Lord built His church to be a place where we build each other up, where we inspire one another to do better, to love more deeply.
The Bible in Hebrews 10:24-25 says,"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another."
Unbelievers see how we hurt others and each other. "If that's how church is," they say,"I want no part of it."
This "silent killer" creeps in and eats away at the foundations of God's house. It picks us off one by one. The "silent killer" takes out the walking wounded by going deep; deep into the fabric of the mind, body, and soul. Negatively affecting the church until everyone drifts away, or it looses it's power, only to become cold and dead. Hurt is the one thing that the world gives us as believers. That is to be expected, but the church is the one place we go to be safe, accepted, forgiven, and free from conflict and pain.
Church is more than God's house, it's His home. Home is where you go back to when things get to be too much. Home is where your accepted, imperfections and all. Home is where you let your hair down. Home is where you bask in the love that a father has for his children. Home is where family has each others back. Finally, home is our shelter from the storms of this life.
Father, bring back the love that the first Saints felt for each other in Your home.
Sharing in each others suffering for Your Son's namesake. When one Saint hurt, they all hurt. Bring back that kind of love to us before it's too late. Let not one more brethren fall by the wayside. No more cliques, no more groups, no more walls to separate us from each other.
Give us hearts of flesh to replace these hearts of stone.
This I pray,