How time, prayer, & God’s word can help heal wounds when Christians don’t act like Christ.
I don’t even know how to begin. Honestly, I should probably cool down a little bit before I begin writing. But through writing I find peace, I find comfort, & I reach an end to my endless thoughts on a subject.
And today the focus is on when Christians don’t act like Christ.
Believe me when I say I know this may come off hypocritical, but hang with me until I get to the end, I’m hoping & praying God will lead my thoughts & words as I try to sort through the things I learned today. So hopefully by the end, we will both find peace with those who have hurt us.
Because honestly, I’m feeling hurt, disappointed, confused, frustrated, & about a million other feelings. This wasn’t just a slight by a peer, but words & actions by a woman a couple generations older than me who I respected & looked up to as a woman of God.
I don’t know her well, personally, we don’t exactly run in the same circles. Especially since mine mainly consists of my 11 nieces & nephews who are all 10 & under. But over the last year, since moving back to our hometown, we have been trying to become increasingly involved in our church. Which of course means that this lady & I have been around each other enough to get to know each other a little.
But really, does any of that matter?
I wrote the above months ago & haven’t revisited the post until now because I honestly wasn’t sure where to go from here… Usually, I find peace & comfort through writing, but I quickly realized I needed more time before writing. I wasn’t sure how to share details of the incident without oversharing & crossing into anyone else’s privacy.
Because no matter what was said or done, God gave us the freedom to choose & I did not want to choose the wrong path or cross any lines I couldn’t come back from.
But since I shared no details at all I will say this, the incident happened in our home involving someone from our church’s prayer meeting group.
Last summer Roger & I began attending a prayer meeting at our church & honestly after several months of attending we have not been back. After our trip to Maui last fall we became overwhelmed with finishing our home renovations in 3 weeks (with 17 hour work days) & then became increasingly busy with fall activities with our family. Around this time we learned of the incident mentioned above & since it had been so long since we attended we decided not to return.
We may sound like a millennial statistic of those leaving the church, but I want to make it very clear that we are not a part of that statistic & have not left the church.
We love our church & all the sinful members of the church because we fit right in with them. We are sinners in need of a Savior. That is one of the many reasons we attend church.
Although we have chosen not to return to this particular group/program within our church we not only continue to attend church but also participate in behind the scenes ways. Because let’s be honest, neither of us are huge fans of being on stage, but we desire & need to be involved in our church.
Because being involved & surrounded by a community of believers is an important aspect of being a believer.
Roger & I belong to a university church & at the beginning of the new school year, last fall, our pastor did a series on the importance of interrelationships between generations. And Roger & I greatly agree with the importance of fostering friendships of different ages.
While we miss the generational community of that prayer meeting group. We know that there are plenty of other ways to establish & grow meaningful generational friendships.
So what do we do when Christians don’t act like Christ, especially when it involves an older generation?
We pray (Romans 8:26 & Romans 12:12). We find comfort (Jeremiah 8:18) & guidance (Proverbs 2:6 & 10) in His Word. We seek council from trustworthy spiritual leaders (Hebrews 13:7, Proverbs 27:17, Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 13:20).
No matter how tempting it is to smear that person’s name around the community or online we have to be careful not to act in the same manner that hurt us. Spreading more pain is not the answer even when it makes us feel better.
When situations like this arise it is also important to take a step back & look at oneself & to pray all the harder for God’s guidance in our lives. And to pray that our words & actions continually show others His kindness, generosity, forgiveness, & love. Luke 6:27-36 is a great teaching lesson of how we should treat those who have mistreated us.
We are all on different journeys towards one destination. We all fall short. We are all sinners.
Which is why we continue to go to church. We should not give up on each other, just as God will never give up on us. We need to continue to love (Matthew 5:43-44), pray for (Luke 6:28), & serve (Mark 9:35) those who have hurt us.
Yes, there will be times when you need to distance yourself from toxic Christian friendships. But that just means you need to pray all the harder in your heart for peace & reconciliation.
Andrew Petersen said it best, “I want to sit beside you at the feast, my friend.”
How do you handle conflict with fellow believers?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giustina
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1 NIV