Have you ever been hurt by other believers? Alarmingly, recent statistics suggest that many believers stop participating in church regularly because other believers hurt them. Regrettably, some displaced believers equate an offender’s indiscretion with God’s disapproval, believing the lie that their wounding is the result of God’s rejection.
Why are we so easily offended? We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. Even among believers, it is impossible to live out perfect relationships.
Is the appropriate response to being wounded to run away from God? What if we ran toward him and allowed him to heal our wounds? When we experience wounding, to protect our pride, we tend to withdraw from church community, believing that to be the safest route. However, the enemy can exploit our isolation and vulnerability — such that our festering wounds will weep with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, hindering our fellowship with believers and God.
Centuries ago, on the first Christmas, Jesus left the majesty of Heaven and clothed himself in fragile human flesh to reconcile us to the Father. Throughout his infancy and his adult ministry, religious authorities, crowds, and even his disciples frequently offended him. He experienced isolation, exile, hypocrisy, rejection, betrayal, assault, suffering, and death. If Jesus perfectly forgave those who wounded him, then, as his followers, we can do likewise, in his strength. Scripture cautions us to guard our hearts from spiritual arrogance and pride and to devote ourselves to cultivating respectful relationships that reflect grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Dear Jesus, thank you for leaving the majesty of Heaven to reconcile me to the Father. Help me willingly forgive those who have offended me and release them into your loving hands.
Throughout This Day: Ask God to show you if you are carrying any wounds in need of healing. Invite him to examine your heart and reveal to you the name of anyone you might need to forgive.
Read Making Sense of Suffering.
Photo Credit: Max Beck on Unsplash