Visible and Invisible

I have lived around military bases for 12 years (if I did my math right). I have learned that there is a different weight that comes with scars that people can see and scars that people can’t. I learned this firsthand as the scar on my forehead healed, but the scars on my brain were still present. Every one of us carries the effects of our life’s story–the good and the bad.
“Too many carry the scars of physical, mental, or psychological abuse, awakening each day to the haunting memories of a time when they were acted upon, against their will, and now find themselves hopelessly trapped between facing their past or running from it.” (Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli. p. 94)

I talked yesterday about the need to reach out and mend relationships. However, today, I want to pause and talk about the effects of harm and abuse. There are times when the church causes harm in people’s lives. That sometimes comes from using scripture and theology to console and manipulate people. This harm can sometimes damage people’s spirituality to a point where they will never again trust the church or God.

There is also the reality that people within the church can abuse our trust. I have heard the personal stories of people from my congregation who have had religious leaders shame or abuse them. There is an expectation that the church is a safe place. When it becomes something less, God is blamed.
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” –Psalms 147:3-5 NLT

God’s heart breaks every time we as humans do evil things. There is no other way to describe abusing power. When our spirituality is out of balance, we stop living by God’s power and in our own.

If you’ve been hurt by someone in the church–emotionally, physically, or spiritually–please know it is safe to talk about it with me. I will not judge you. The Lord our God wants to put you on a path of healing. That starts by sharing your pain. Please contact me so we can talk.

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