Visit any Facebook group for Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses or our Worldwide Meetup group, and you’ll see stories of a lot of wounded people. Many of them don’t even desire to step into a church and for those of us who do, there’s a lot of hurdles to overcome. And sadly, some of us have been wounded in the church as well as the Kingdom Hall.
Recently I shared an experience with those groups and it obviously hit a nerve based on the many comments I received. I’m thankful that the Lord chose to address this particular topic as I walked my dog and asked Him to speak into my life. Here is what He led me to write….
Remember the account where Jesus was being apprehended by the Roman soldiers and Peter cut off the ear of the slave of the high priest?
I was thinking about that. Here’s this slave in the presence of Jesus but not a follower. Then there’s Peter, a follower of Jesus who earlier claimed he’d go to his death for his Lord.
It reminded me of a recent story shared by this guy in our small group at church. He said a few years ago he brought a friend to another church. She was into drugs and didn’t exactly dress modestly but he’d been telling her about Jesus and she took an interest and agreed to go with him to church one Sunday. There they were seated in the front row and an elder noticed them and made a point to go over and talk with them after the service. It was this young ladies FIRST time ever in a church. And what did this elder say?
“Young lady, that is not church attire!”
This young man who was telling us the story confessed how much he hates “church people” and I can understand why. He was so excited that she even went with him that Sunday morning and after that she had no further interest in “his Jesus.” She felt judged, not loved.
So today, as I walked, the Lord was connecting the two stories for me. Peter was a very PASSIONATE follower of Christ. His desire was to defend his Lord. Same with this church elder. I’ve no doubt he was passionate for the things of God also and seeing a young woman with a slit up her skirt stirred up his personal agenda to keep the house of God clean. And so, he reacted and wounded this young lady in the process.
Peter wounded the slave of the high priest in his passion too.
I’ve been wounded by “church people” before. Heck, I’ve been the church lady who wounded others!
But you know what’s so beautiful about this story? Jesus HEALED the slave’s ear. He continues to heal whom the church hurts today too.
I think about this young man who admittedly was disappointed in the church because of this one elder’s actions. However, there he was in our small group sharing his struggle with the body of Christ. He didn’t stop associating with the church due to the actions of one follower of Christ who reacted poorly to a situation. Having been touched by Jesus, he knew who heals our wounds, even if they’ve been put there by one of His followers.
I don’t know the young lady and he didn’t mention if he was still in contact with her, but I was led to pray for her a couple times and one of them was today. I felt confirmed that Jesus will heal her wound afflicted by that elder and because Jesus forgave Peter’s impetuous act, I know He can also forgive that elder.
And in these stories is a lesson to me and anyone else taking the time to read this. Let’s be careful of judging others even as we passionately desire to defend God’s holiness. He can take care of Himself and doesn’t need us cutting anyone’s ear off or wounding someone with our comments. And since we’re human and bound to screw up, let’s be quick to forgive ourselves and others when it does happen.
I think about the slave of the high priest and his ear. He knew a follower of Christ wounded him. But he also couldn’t deny that Jesus healed him. I don’t know what became of him but I do know in that moment, he was given a choice. He could focus on his wound and remind everyone around him how that wacko, over zealous Christian hurt him or he could show his friends his restored ear and relate his testimony of miraculous healing from Jesus. It’s really a matter of focus.
Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie