For the next several days I will be working on a new book project. During that time I will be posting some excerpts from the previous books. We begin with a chapter from “Bring’em Back Alive – A Healing Plan for Those Wounded by the Church”. This chapter is called “Your Bleating Heart Will Tell On You” and it deals with the uncomfortable truth that sometimes we choose to remain in victimhood.
English writer Charles Kingsley wrote, “If you wish to be miserable, you must think about yourself, about what you want, what you like, and what respect people ought to pay you. Then to you nothing will be pure. You will spoil everything you touch; you will make sin and misery out of everything God sends you.”
That is painful to apply to my personal life. I sometimes try to imagine how I would respond if I were a disinterested third party listening to my own whiny complaints. Would I agree with my case or would I think the argument was self-centered and exaggerated. If I am honest with myself the latter is usually the case.
There are indeed those in the church who find their identity in woundedness and they find a hurt under every rock. The tragedy is that kind of thinking never leads to the peace, joy and contentment that Jesus came to this planet to provide. With the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit I pray that those mired in the muck of victimhood will be challenged to get up and get out. I pray for those who are deeply wounded that they will begin to claim the supernatural resources of forgiveness available to all believers.
Josh McDowell makes a worthwhile distinction between those who are broken and those who are just needy. “Broken people are much more receptive because they’ve realized how self-dependent and prideful they are. They are very open to the Holy Spirit’s work in their lives. Needy people, though, may not know how to trust God with their struggles. They tend to suck the life out of whomever they come into contact with. Thus, we must help them learn how to talk to God about their problems instead of pouring them out on the first person who’ll listen – which is often what happens.”
We must be especially patient with the needy lambs. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.”
If you are broken you have completed your prerequisite studies to begin Recovery Class 101. And if you have a twinge from the Holy Spirit that you have become a little “needy” then we will explore some ways to take that neediness to the Lord. Corrie ten Boom noted that anything “too small to be turned into prayer is too small to be turned into a burden.”
That would be a good starting point for neediness. Take it to the Lord in prayer. I will tell you that I am able to allow hurts to roil around in my mind until the perpetrators become evil and my emotions are rampaging. I find that when I take them to the Lord and articulate those offenses they often don’t seem quite as major.
….to be continued