Have you been wounded by another person? Did that person confess to be a believer in Jesus Christ? Is that person in a position of leadership in a local church? Have you been wounded by God’s people? I’m sorry you’re in such pain as you start to read this. I wish as a pastor and a friend, I knew the secret formula of erasing pain (one doesn’t exist). While I can’t remove the pain, yours or mine, I can point us to the One who heals, cleanses, and restores. I wrote a note to a friend recently and have edited and expanded it to share with you. I pray it encourages you.
I’m sure the last many days have been hard, confusing, and maybe even your head is in a fog. It’s so disorienting to be in a fog. Things are warped and perspective is twisted, even lost. If that is what you’re feeling, it’s normal. It’s not just you. You’re not weird or strange. Being wounded by people is painful, but by those who profess to know Christ, it’s doubly painful. Yet which one of us have been promised to avoid pain, suffering, and hardship following Jesus. It was our Savior Himself who both taught us and modeled for us a theology of suffering followed by triumph.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
I’m praying for His presence to be real in you and your family, that you are able to stay out of any mud slinging, and that the Lord brings justice where it is lacking. In your weakness, please be careful to not fall to the “temptation bait of blame”. You may even find people coming into your life that all they talk about is blame this, blame that, blame her, him, etc. These people weren’t there when you doing well. They weren’t calling to encourage you, to uplift you, to help you along the way. But now that there is trouble in your life, they see it as an opportunity to destroy, tear down, and push their unbiblical agenda. As it’s been said before, the devil loves to fish in troubled waters.
What is the biblical agenda in difficult times of being hurt by a believer? Humility. Repentance. Reconciliation. Restoration.
In difficult times we so often meet Job’s counselors face to face. They come so confident, so sure of themselves, so exact on what they believe the problem is with him, with her, with the church in America, with pastors, with leadership structures, with buildings, with worship, etc. Oh my, slanted opinions abound in the troubled waters of pain! Man’s opinions are not helpful in times like these but often people will offer their opinions because they value them more than God’s Word. Imagine that? It’s true.
Cling to the truth that God loves you and your family. He is using this situation to draw you guys closer to Him than ever before. With pain Ed? Yes, with horrific pain. I’m sorry bro. My experiences in ministry throughout the years, especially in the pain and betrayals have helped me over the years to cling to Jesus in the midst of people hurting me. Please don’t take this note as a statement that I haven’t hurt people. Unfortunately I have and I wish I could navigate through life without making needless and unintended mistakes that cause others pain. Many times, the Lord has triumphed and through repentance, He has restored relationships! It’s glorious when He does that. Still other times, bitterness and anger, or pride (and a whole host of reasons that aren’t revealed to us) have taken root in other’s hearts and restoration hasn’t come yet. The language of ‘yet’ is rooted in the hope of Jesus Christ! Don’t let that happen to you in this situation. We can rest in our sovereign God who knows all, and works all things together for the good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).
Unfortunately there is more pain ahead for you and your family. You’re going to gain new information that you didn’t have before. You will find out who your real and true friends are. You’ll find out those you thought were friends, actually, weren’t. Even though the Bible discourages it, people will take sides. Even if they take yours, which may feel good, you don’t really want that. We need to run to the Lord and take His side. We need to take people with us to His side, instead of defending ourselves and trying to convince people that others are evil. Maybe what they are doing or what they did is evil, but Jesus died for them too. It’s at the cross that we win, dead to ourselves, and alive to Christ! You’re going to find out men of God that really aren’t. You will be overcome by the doubts, the fears, and the unknown. I’m sorry but that’s the reality. As a pastor friend once looked me in the eye and shared with me, “Take the high road Ed. Stay above this and don’t be taken down.” It’s good spiritual advice for all of us.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Gal 2:20-21 (NKJV)
God is faithful and will work through this situation in making you a stronger, humble, believer in Him. Trust Him. He is on the throne, unmoved by the chaos swirling around you. He loves you. He is for you not against you. He wants you. He will remain faithful. God can work in this. He is working in this. It can end well. Pray for that. God hears. God answers.
Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who hate him. Therefore, obey all these commands, laws, and regulations I am giving you today. Deut 7:9-11 (NLT)
My friend, Pastor Zach Adams, recently shared, “Friend, when God’s will leads you down a difficult road – when you inevitably find yourself in a desert that causes your heart to flood with fear and doubt, like Hagar may I exhort you to cry out to the Lord. It’s ok to be real and raw. It’s ok to weep and even question. The truth is that you may never know who’s listening and the impact your faith may be having.” Such a good word!
Purchase the book Wounded by God’s People by Ann Graham Lotz! It has spoken to my soul on more than one occasion over the past 4 years.
You can purchase it through Amazon with the link provided.
In His Love, ed