sacrifice.

Some people have been hurt in church. It’s the last place you’d expect it.

Some people have remarked with a quip: “There’s no perfect church!”

Well, it’s not funny.

 

 

 

It is true that people are not perfect.

It is not true that people are not perfect

enough to say “I’m sorry”.

 

 

 

If you’ve been hurt in a church, you may have turned away from God.

Don’t. You will feel worse.

It’s not God’s fault.

 

 

And you’re right.

The people in a church should have

a caring

a compassion

and a love

not seen anywhere else.

 

You be different.

Give to others out of your pain. It’s like giving yourself what you were not given.

And watch what happens.

~~~

Photo courtesy:

seanmcgrath / Foter / CC BY

Pink Sherbet Photography / Foter / CC BY

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5 thoughts on “sacrifice.

  1. Sometimes it takes a while and some distance to get to the point of being able to give out of pain. I agree, each of us can learn from our experiences and learn to be much more giving and caring people because of our pain. We have an empathy others may not have because of the paths we have walked, and we alone are responsible for our actions and reactions. But…it’s difficult to walk through huge loss, huge pain or huge grief and have Christians cross to the other side of the road, so to speak, to avoid you. Secondary wounds and losses on top of initial wounds and losses sometimes take time to deal with and a concerted effort to focus on forgiveness.

    I have walked the path of loss following the death of our son and worked hard on forgiveness for the additional pain to our family caused by the actions/inactions/reactions of fellow Christians following his death. It was not an easy thing for me to do; it was painful to have nearly everyone we knew pull away and disappear. I do realize, though, that each of us alone stands before God and is accountable for our own actions. I alone am accountable for my actions. I want my son to be proud of me. I want to help others who may be in pain.

    Part of me still says, though, as you wrote, “The people in a church should have a caring and a compassion and a love not seen anywhere else.” Isn’t that what being a Christian means?

  2. Hi Rebecca. I also lost a son – he would have been 31 this Friday. He died 7 years ago.

    I believe God is loving beyond our comprehension and redeems our pain. Ultimately, one day, he will wipe away every tear and it will be complete. My part is- I have a choice to follow his guidance as found in the scripture. I have many times even when I didn’t want to. And it has resulted in a peace and joy that only God can give.

    My thoughts in this post were to two-fold. 1) reach out to people who have given up on church, God, and Christianity; helping them to see things in a different light; 2) carefully think about how we view hurting people in our churches.

    My heart goes out to Christians who did not receive the caring, compassion, and love that God wants people to have. Far too many have become “shipwrecked in their faith” and have left a church or their faith altogether. They have been disillusioned. I want them to know God is with them – not to give up on God (or people, or church) because of their pain. We equate God and church as the same. All too often people throw both out.

    The additional pain from others does make it worse. It’s difficult to always be the bigger person – since forgiveness seems to be emphasized in our churches. When you are in excruciating pain, (such as our loss), it’s like expecting a partly paralyzed person to walk in and take his/her seat on a Sunday morning. They don’t see that we are crawling to our seat, dragging our useless legs behind us. That’s how our heart feels. Does God see this? You bet he does.

    I wonder if emphasizing loving your neighbor as yourself would be a better approach? The Sermon on the Mount? Yes, we must forgive no matter what and God does bless that. Yet, I want to see his Church be that bright, steady lighthouse, bringing the weary, lost, and tattered to its shores. Only love (as defined in 1 Corinthians 13) will do.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Kathy

    • Kathy, I’m so sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Our Jason would have been 31 this coming July.

      I have been a Christian for a long time. My father was a preacher, so I was raised in the church. I will be the first to admit that I have struggled tremendously with my faith since Jason died; it’s not uncommon to reexamine one’s beliefs following the death of a child. As I said in one of my blogs, if faith were viewed as a tree, I felt like what I perceived and believed as a Christian before Jason’s death was the above-ground part that was cut off almost to the ground. That doesn’t mean that the roots of my faith do not go deep or are not strong. I have always believed that my “above-ground” faith would grow again, albeit slowly and not looking as it did before. There are many things that I took for granted which I no longer do.

      I agree that it is sometimes hard to separate the “church” from God. We are, after all, to be the hands and feet of God on the earth. I have sometimes felt that the church, along with the general public, needs much more education on how to adequately help those who deeply grieve. Sometimes it seems as though we are expected to apply bumper-sticker theology to our losses and move on – “God must have needed him more”; “Let God heal your heart”; “God will carry you” and the like – while Christians may do little else. We had a plant delivered to our home a few months after Jason died. When I asked our daughter if she wanted to read the card, she said, “Why should I? They all say the same thing – we’re praying for you – and then we never hear from them again.”

      I have always felt like I had to be the bigger person, perhaps the result of being a preacher’s kid. You know, the one who welcomes the visitors and tries to make new people in a group feel welcome. But, it’s a hard thing to go the extra mile after suffering such a deep loss. I felt like my energy reserves were at zero; I had nothing to give. Bereaved parents often feel deserted and alone, dealing with secondary losses and wounds on top of everything else they have to deal with. On top of that, we have to educate people on how to help us and try to figure out how to mask our deep grief at times so that people will want to be around us. As you know, it’s a lot to handle, especially with little support from those you expect to “be there” for you.

      There are many things I don’t understand…we do, indeed, see through a glass darkly on this side of heaven. I am determined to do my best on this side, and look forward to seeing Jason – and the baby we lost – on the other.

      As I said, you will be in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow…and those are not just empty words. I pray that the God of all comfort surround you on the day your son was born 31 years ago, and every day until you see him again.

      • (By the way, I will be the first to admit that I had no idea what a grieving person needed before the death of Jason. I was one of those people who glanced away because I had no idea what to do. I don’t want to be that person any more. I know that many people who left us alone had no idea what to do, either. Perhaps it would be good thing to have some type of education support in the church, both for those who grieve and those who surround them. I’m not sure what the solution is; just pondering…)

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    A little late with my reply – my husband was in a vehicle accident on Wed night and had surgery. Just got home last night. He is doing well.

    I read through your thoughts and they mirror mine exactly.

    I, too, have always been the bigger person. I think that often goes with being a mother, too. When you lose a child and experience what we both have, it’s difficult to, once again, be the bigger person. At first, you let it go, recognizing people do not know what to say. But then you ask, but why not? Aren’t we the church? Isn’t it a “given” – the part about loving your neighbor – as defined in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan?

    Job’s comforters is a good description of experiences such as ours. Trusting God guards against bitterness. Allowing him to use us as he wishes is humility

    In the end, God will make it right. And that is the hope we have.

    Thank-you so much for your thoughts and prayers. It means alot!

    Kathy

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