Our LifeGroup has been doing a study on prayer. It’s very practical more about “doing” than “defining” (I think). Our first topic, which actually took two meetings to get through was about things that hinder our prayers. The first week we talked about woundedness and this week we talked about hidden things and sin. In my experience woundedness and sin are usually closely connected.
There are some friends of ours who divorced recently and it was not so much that it was ugly because they were mean to each other…they weren’t. It was more tragic than anything as we all watched the house of cards they had erected collapse around them. Many of us could see that there were problems for a while…for a long long while but they would never admit to problems or ask for help until it was too late. There were secrets kept by everyone in the family. The people they most closely surrounded themselves with were surface believers at best most were not believers at all.
I couldn’t help but think of their situation and how woundness led to pride (a sin) and that led to more woundness that led to….well, it eventually led to the destruction of a family.
Many of you know that I have been working on a book that has the working title of “Fatherless”. It is basically about falling prey to an orphan spirit. After years as a Christian, I have witnessed so many people fall into complete destruction in their families, in finances, and in their health because of wounds that were inflicted at the hand of the church or at the hand of a spiritual father.
Last night in our group as I was recounting a situation we were in a few years ago with a church and a pastor (if you follow my blog, you probably read about it at some point), I admitted the hidden sin that I feel I walked in during that season; It was pride. I certainly do not take all the credit for what played out…oh no, there were a host of players in that game. But I see how our ideas and even some of our actions could have been perceived as prideful and “know it all”. I get it. God got us through the situation and He landed us in a church with a pastor we respect and are able to honor. In my heart, I feel we had to go through what we went through so 1.) We could identify the pride in our lives or I could and 2). so God could place us in our current church. If we had stayed at the church we were at 3 years ago, we would probably still be there because it is a great church. And if we would have stayed there, we ever would have gotten my brother-in-law, Peter to visit our church because he lives in Austin and that church is in San Marcos and our current church isn’t all that far from Austin, in Buda,. What you don’t realize is we have been praying for Peter for YEARS. And he and his family have been faithfully attending our church for almost a year and they joined the church a few weeks after attending for the first time. This is HUGE for our family. I would go through all that we went through again in order for Pete and Shelia to reconnect to God! And I never want to go through that again.
I want to skip over the pride part of my testimony but I can’t. I cannot guarantee that I won’t fall into pride again. For you see, it is so very blinding. It sneaks in with just enough truth to throw your vision off, just slightly. With those pride colored glasses on we think we are right in all of our thinking and that our resulting actions are justified.
Back to my friends. As I said, for years they have surrounded themselves with people who are less spiritual. You see, they stopped attending church in any real way years ago after they had a disagreement with their pastor. A disagreement that escalated. I am not saying it the pastor was “right” and they were “wrong”. I do know that pastor and I know that he grieves for every person who leaves his church whether the circumstances or good or in the case bad. These friends told themselves that they were “ministering” to their less spiritual friends. And they talk about how they poured themselves out until all of this happened (to them) and then very few people reached out to help. The truth of the situation was they were being pulled down to the level or their unsaved friends rather than pulling their friends up. The never realized their lifestyle no longer looked any different than their friends. They were just people who sort of believed in something they weren’t really living anymore. Their eyes weren’t on Jesus any more.
There was and is so much blindness in the situation.
Here is what I want to say to them:
Dear friend, you are beautiful. Jesus loves you beyond measure. You were created for so much more than where you are right now. You say that no one has loved you unconditionally but over the years, people did reach out to you. We told you about the importance of your family going to church. We loved you and we still love you. We still love you. We were there for you. You closed yourself off. You isolated yourself. You pretended everything was perfect and good when things had been crumbling for years. You pretended that you had it all even when you knew that there was nothing left. You poured out without ever getting refilled. You tried to fill your life with pop psychology and quick fixes for things only God is able to “fix”. You still think all of this “happened” to you without ever admitting you played a part…. My friends, this is the season of your healing if you will turn your heart back to Him. Jesus loves you beyond measure and will always accept you back into His arms. You are right, it isn’t about a “church” it never was, but the Church is His Bride and He loves her , and He wants you to be a part and He never, ever meant for you to be alone; that simply wasn’t His plan for you. His Word tells you to connect with and meet with other believers. He want’s to connect you with real people who will love you unconditionally…that love you have been longing for your whole life. He wants to heal you. He wants to give you a real ministry led by Him and not by you because you are called and He wants to equip you. Now is not the season for you to minister. Now is the season for you rest, be healed, be filled…stop striving and admit that you faked it; you faked it your whole life and He never wanted you to. He loves you, the “real you” the part you hide from everyone. He wants to show you. You are so important to Him that He couldn’t let you go on one more day the way you were.
Own your part in what went down. Ask Him to forgive you and heal you. Forgive the people who wronged you. Let it go; give it to Him; He can handle it. He has so much more for you than what the last 25 years of your life have been. He wants to give you real prosperity and not a cheap imitation. Your real life is just beginning!
You are loved, friend; your are loved.