Friends, I want to ask you something today. Is your church body united? Or are you broken?
I’ve been to a few churches that are really united. Many of the ones I’ve been to have a united team at the top and then kind of…fizzle on down the totem pole. And a few of them aren’t even united at the top.
And you know what? That’s what Satan wants.
He doesn’t want any of that unity talk for us. He wants us to hurt each other’s feelings, and hold grudges. He wants us to be proud when we help others in the church–in fact, he wants us to take credit for helping others instead of giving glory to God for it.
And in some churches, he’s winning.
Here’s the thing we need to know as women with tender feelings. A church is where the sinners meet. That means we’re all bound to screw up. Part of screwing up is that we hurt each other. Most of us don’t want to, and don’t mean to purposefully do it.
And, of course, some of us feel a little justified in being pushy, or passive-aggressive. Unfortunately, it’s a reality for us.
If you’ve hurt someone, what do you do to make it right? Do you try to stay unified? Or do you avoid the person, thinking they will figure it out themselves? Maybe you feel it was needed hard-love?
Do you justify someone’s hurt feelings by telling yourself you were right, so why should you try to reconcile?
If you feel a mother in your congregation is too strict with her children, do you respect her boundaries while her children are in your Sunday school class? Or do you let them “loosen up” according to your standards when she isn’t around?
Do you give dirty looks in the direction of someone who’s phone rings in the middle of a service?
Do you talk about a get together in the hall where other women who aren’t invited can hear you?
And if another church member hurts or upsets you, do you go and talk to another member before you gently and lovingly approach said member?
Most of us would say that, no, we don’t do these things. But it may be highly possible that at some point, we have all done all of these things–perhaps without knowing it. We all hurt someone else at some point. And no matter how thick skinned we are, someone will eventually get to us–either making us mad or hurting us.
These are the things we must work to overcome if we want to call ourselves a body of Christ. If we are the offender, we need to stop, and repent. And if we are the offended, we need to forgive–even when forgiveness isn’t sought or even wanted. These are hard things to do. They are hard for me too.
Believe me, when a woman hurts me, it’s hard to keep loving her with that Agape love Christ wants us to extend to each other. And when I find out I’ve upset someone, I have been known to try to justify my own actions as well.
We don’t all have to be friends, but we are called to love each other–deeply. Maybe this is where we get confused. Maybe we tend to think that if we really love each other, we will all be friends? I wish it were so easy.
When someone really hurts me, I try to remember Judas. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him (John 13:11). Not only that, but He knew the price He would pay through this betrayal. Yet He called Judas Friend. He walked with him. He trusted Him with the treasury that He likely knew Judas was stealing from. And I believe He knew Judas would hang himself one day. Yet he ate with him, laughed with him, and traveled with him. He continued to teach Judas.
None of the people in the church body who have hurt me have ever betrayed me knowing I would get beaten, mocked, and crucified. So why should I hold back my love?
I’m not saying not to guard your hearts here Friends. The Lord also warns us of wolves in sheeps’ clothes and how we are to respond to them.
I’m just challenging us all to look at our own churches and challenge ourselves to let go of wrongs, and seek repentance where needed. Talk to God and tell Him your hesitations. Ask for forgiveness and healing. And ask Him to mold your hearts to love thy neighbor more.
That’s what I’m challenging myself to do as well.