I have heard and read recently of so many folks who are blaming the “church” for their hurts and glamorizing the fact they are hurt from this or that. I am not going to minimize the fact that there is hurt in the church, however, many times the “hurt” that we experience is for our own maturation and growth. No one has ever grown to another level or matured in anything without there being some hurt and pain. Take weightlifting for one, we wont develop a more muscular bod or achieve physical health sitting around pampering our emotions and consuming whatever we want. We have to work and in that work of the workouts, there is pain. There is growth. There is progress and there is success.
Having said that, so many would rather sit around and complain about not being physically fit or in better shape instead of actually enduring the pain and the struggle knowing that it is required for the success and progress that we are wanting to achieve. So much is also true in “church”. We get stretched, we get pushed, we get discipled and disciplined, we get corrected by our peers and our pastors, and for those that receive it and endure it, maturation and spiritual growth will come. For those that run and complain or sit and post, will only miss out on those opportunities as times of potential growth.
I have also seen so many people transition numerous times from church to church because they aren’t willing to allow their pride to take a backseat to the spiritual workout that The Lord allows them to endure for their own benefit of growth. Folks like that live an offended, selfish and self-centered life always thinking that the “church” or the world owes them something instead of allowing the process of growth to take place in their lives.
Scripture says that iron sharpens iron. 2 pieces of iron sitting in a chair or on a table will not sharpen. It is only when those 2 pieces of iron are rubbed together that friction occurs that sharpens the iron. Same is true with us. If we are referenced as iron that sharpens iron, it will take difficult times of friction and uncomfortable times when we rub each other the wrong way that our sharpening or growth can occur.
So the moral to my post, don’t run away and don’t complain that you have been hurt until you pray and ask The Holy Spirit to show you what you can learn from those moments and seasons. In my life, I have grown in my faith journey not because everything was going great and everyone was getting along wonderfully and there were no tensions, those times are great and rewarding, however, it is when things arent going great and when folks are in disagreement and uncertainty is in abundance that I have found that I grow the most. Sharpening. We all need it in order to grow. When we run and just post on facebook, we are avoiding the opportunities that we can cash in on growing in our faith.
In closing, Toni and I have had our fair share of church hurt. I don’t have the time or the webspace to tell you about every time we have been betrayed, slandered, gossiped about, misunderstood, or even verbally assaulted, passively aggressively posted about on social media or folks who just walked out of our lives unannounced after years of what I thought was a relationship. I have grown through each of those times as I have stayed committed to the purpose and understanding that I am still growing in my faith. I have also been frustrated and hurt at Wal-Mart and the Mall and even at Starbucks, but guess what, I go back. You know why? Because I understand there is something of value that I want/need in those places and I choose to get over it and grow from it.
How much more should we commit to our local church than our favorite coffee spot or shopping place?
If there’s a dispute, disagreement, or question of something that may have been said or happened, go have a conversation with whomever you have the disagreement. I have learned that over 90% of the time that resolution and resolve can be had by having a simple conversation. Remember, our spiritual enemy wants nothing more than for us to be disconnected, hurt, bitter and not growing in our faith!
Let’s grow up church. Let’s allow the iron to sharpen the iron.
Have a great week!