In Chapter 3 of Healing Your Church Hurt, author Stephen Mansfield cites the inclusion of the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over Mark in Acts Chapter 13, noting that the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to be honest about human nature. Stephen writes:
“Christianity is not the absence of stupidity and hurt. Christianity is the message of a God who uses our stupidity and hurt to make us what we are destined to be.”
The author adds that this truth is a severe mercy, precisely because it is the most liberating and transforming kind of mercy. Three blessings flow from this mercy:
1. Severe mercy is reality. Any truth that helps us understand the world as it is should be welcomed as a gift. Through a Biblical understanding of life, we are enabled to live safely and effectively in a fallen world.
2. Some of the personal sting is removed from what we endured. As Stephen eloquently describes:
“The pain we have suffered at the hands of Christians may have come through individuals- that pastor or teacher or friend- but it was part of the broader matrix of sin in the world and mixture in the church that was not aimed at us specifically. . . . and knowing this helps you feel the blows less intensely, take the message less personally, and defy the ‘I’m damaged because I’m uniquely cursed’ lie with the power of truth.
3. Once we know the lesser side of our nature and know others as they are, we can love them as Jesus does. If we view people with their evil filtered out, we’re shocked when they sin and stop loving them, our love being conditional on what we wish them to be.
Today’s question: Which of the 3 blessings resonate most in your current situation? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “The full picture”