Stephen Mansfield begins Chapter 3 (“Man: The Greatness and the Grief”) of Healing Your Church Hurt by describing the glorious feeling we have when we experience the dynamic of joining with fellow believers as we worship the Lord and live as a community of faith. As we feel transformed, we believe we’ve found reasons for our earthly existence. Yet we know, as the author states, “that darkness presses at the edge of the light.”
Stephen notes that it is here that we potentially set ourselves up for pain and disillusionment because we forget the nature of all humanity. While evil pressing in from without does not surprise us, the author states that we are blind to the wickedness that slumbers within us:
“In our sentimentality about our church and those we love in it, we forget to stand guard against the natural failings of humanity.”
As Christians we need to constantly be mindful of sin’s potential and live with the understanding of evil in our midst- but without a cynical soul or frozen heart. We can’t remake people into what we need them to be. Mr. Mansfield asserts that in order to take our first steps toward healing, we need to know that wounding and offense in the church is nothing new. Human nature rears its ugly head in the very place where it is under the greatest pressure to change- the church.
Today’s question: How does the author’s understanding of woundedness and offense in the church impact your perception of your ministry downsizing or vocation loss? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The blessings of a severe mercy”