Taking the time to heal

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

Scars are visible reminders of internal healing.

Someone once shared a sentiment along those lines with me when I was lamenting over the zipper-sized scar on my left knee.  I had the ACL replacement surgery back in the days when things were still cut open.  Over the years, I’ve added multiple scars to my body as the result of surgery and accidents. 

The scars on my shoulder, for example, remind me of that experience and pain of a shoulder that just wouldn’t work.  It involved therapy, surgery and a lot more therapy.  But now, it functions better than it did.  Still, those scars are the reminders of the process to get there.

I have a scar on one of my fingers that I received as a result of trying to cut cardboard with a knife.  I had been inspired in the fifth grade to hold something like the Olympics between myself and my sister.  What I was cutting out of the cardboard was going to serve as the medals.  Then, I turn the Olympics a little bloody by cutting my finger.  Then I added intrigue to the games by lying to my parents and telling them I cut my finger on a pair of scissors.  I didn’t want them to take away my knife.  That lie didn’t last for long and I did lose that knife for awhile.  And I have the scar to remind me of that today.

I also carry scars from my life in the church.  Sometimes churches fall short when it comes to all of those things we like to talk about on Sundays — love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, openness, etc.  Those church-related injuries can be deeper and far more painful than some of the physical injuries we have to work through.  They hurt more because they come from people that we care about and from people we often feel shouldn’t be acting the way they’re acting.

Church injuries are dangerous and they can lead to people walking out the door of a church building one Sunday with the intention of never returning.  Church-inflicted wounds are serious and have lifelong side effects and symptoms.

A recent study suggested that the majority of people now in churches have been injured or scarred at some point by the church.  What an amazing fact — the community that’s supposed to show God’s love is responsible for inflicting so many wounds upon its own.

Sometimes the wounds are directed and inflicted at individuals. Sometimes they are directed at whole groups of people within the community of faith. 

Nothing is sacred with these wounds.  Families are brought into the mix.  Friends are thrown under the bus.  Sometimes there’s a feeling that the only thing left is a scorched earth. 

Instead of a place where conflict can reign supreme, churches need to become a place where healing can be found.  The amazing transforming love of Christ is enough to help us get through our wounds and move forward.

It’s time for church to become the place where our wounds are healed and not a place where they are picked up again.

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