This morning I listened to the Podcast, Let’s Talk, where The Gospel Coalition’s Jackie Hill Perry, Melissa Kruger and Jasmine Holmes discussed the topic, Overcoming Church Hurt. I don’t know about you, but I’ve received my fair share of hurt within the walls of the church from brothers and sisters in Christ. And while the Lord has used each and every one of my wounds to change, refine and prune me, I can’t say I would want to go through any of those situations again.
Several years ago, when I was still quite new to Women’s Ministry leadership, I received an email from a woman who had been at a WM event the evening before. She was livid. Someone had cut her off in a conversation she was having and hadn’t even apologized or, for that matter, realized the great offense she had caused her. For the writer of the email, this was the final straw. She was leaving the church and she, along with a close friend, would be starting their own church. She was convinced that her Sunday morning gathering would be a place where no one would get her feelings hurt.
Over the years I’ve learned some of what does and doesn’t work when dealing with hurts – both those that I’ve received and those I’ve given:
I’ve occasionally wondered how that Sunday gathering those wounded women started worked out for them. I have a feeling that they ended up disappointed simply because they had such high expectations of each other – as well as a sense of entitlement to their right to be justified and vindicated.
With those women as an example, here I add one more point – and perhaps it’s the most crucial and gospel-centered: we must be quick to justify others, but slow to justify ourselves. It’s not that we’re called to forgive others (though we are!), but that that we need to be forgiven constantly, not only by God, but by others as well.
In all these situations, may we be propelled by the Cross, which not only is the means of our forgiveness and reconciliation to God, but which also enables us to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility to count others more significant than ourselves (Phil 2:3).
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