We’re hurting our own!!
Today’s post may raise more questions than answers. It also may be a bit controversial; however, God has placed it on my heart to write. Simply stated, “Christians, we’re hurting our own!!” And, I might add to this, it’s being seen by others outside the church.
Over the past few years, God has gifted me with the privilege of getting deep into people’s lives. I have really grown to appreciate the need for open, authentic, transparent relationships where there is a high level of trust and respect for one another.
In many of these relationships with Christians, I have been noticing a common theme. Many have been hurt by their own Christian brothers and sisters which has caused deep wounds. In several cases, these deep wounds have driven these Christians away from the church as they feel they are being “judged” every time they walk through the doors. This pains me greatly; likely because I’ve personally seen it in my own life.
Yes, starting at a young age, my family stopped attending church. Mom and Dad would have to give you the details, however, at the root is the theme of today’s topic. Something, that to some may seem so trivial, had such an impact on them that they rarely have attended church in the past 40 years.
Candidly, while I won’t get into details, I’ll just say that on few occasions, brother’s in Christ, who thought they had a relationship with me where they could “challenge me in love”, did so and it wasn’t well received. The incidents I’m reflecting upon have resulted in our relationship becoming much more distant. Why? Primarily due to the fact that independent of merit of their comments, I felt “judged” in our relationship in the manner which the conversation took place. Especially, as others have confirmed in me, humility and the qualification of a leader outlined in 1 Timothy 3. In these situation, I’ve tended to ask, “is this really about me or them?”
Transitioning a bit, one specific area I have encountered where Christians have been hurt by their own is in the area of divorce. Believe me, I’m one of the first to acknowledge “God hates divorce”; however, God hates sin as well and we’re all sinners! I know many people who have gone through this experience and have been seriously wounded by “well meaning Christians” offering their personal opinions and religious beliefs towards divorce. Thus again, resulting in the person feeling “judged”, walking away from the relationship, and in many cases, the church for years.
So, in a world where “tolerance” is running rampant, I don’t want to sound as though I’m promoting an acceptance and tolerance worldview. I do strongly believe in a biblical worldview which God has given us a roadmap in His Word. To the best of my ability, I always attempt to look at the life of Jesus and how he handled similar situations.
Today, the question I’m raising is when and how is it appropriate to “speak truth in love” to other believers. And, are you asking yourself, is it “my truth” or “God’s Truth prompted by the Spirit” that is about to be spoken?
I have thoughts to offer on how best to discern when to and when not to speak; however, I’ll hold those for another day. For today, I might simply redirect you to my post, Be careful, your words may have eternal significance!, and ask that you reflect on your own personal judgement of others.
Have you been hurt by other Christians in the past? Would you care to share your story in hopes of helping us all to grow?
I really enjoyed this post and agree wholeheartedly, my wife and I have been in this situation and have also have been guilty of speaking to others in this way. I have worked in corrections mental health for the last few years and have learned much about this topic. I have heard over and over that speaking in love sometimes includes subjects that will not be well received, when in fact the truth is that we are to LEAD by example. The fundamental problem here and in general is in an incomplete understanding of the concept of leadership. We do have to realize that our words do have an eternal signifigance and that people do not care what you have to say until they know that you care. Obviously, the family, the workplace, the church, society is only as strong as the weakest relationship contained within. This is difficult because each person has to dismiss their own desire to be understood and make it a priorty to understand others. During my education I have developed a rudimentary understanding of the components of this, things such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills, listening etc… I believe that God placed me here, or rather allowed me the opportunity to be involved at a deep level with those that are suffering due to, in large part poor leadership from those given the responsibility to care for them. I am glad that I came across your blog, I need more information to get to a deeper understanding of what it takes to truly love others. Thanks!
Thanks Bradley! Good words of encouragement and I appreciate your support! Blessings, Chris