Summary: People are going to church seeking something only to be hurt by the religiosity of a religious system. When you have been hurt in the church what must you do. I have been attacked by friendly fire.
“When Church Hurts”
District Elder M.L. Maughmer, Jr.
Jeremiah 20:9 “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But [his word] was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not [stay]”.
I know what Jeremiah meant when he said it’s like fire shut up in my bones.
So many times in church we preach that saying and shout with excitement because it sounds good and it is supposedly communicates the joy that one feels down on the inside. That statement is often said with exuberance in order to get you into a mode of praise and worship. Church uses that statement and makes it seem that everything is alright and that one is on fire for God. However, when Jeremiah said that statement “It’s like fire shut up in my bones” he was not on a spiritual cloud nine. He wasn’t feeling joy unspeakable and full of glory. He didn’t have peace that passeth all understanding. He wasn’t saying God is great and greatly to be praised.
Understand that Jeremiah didn’t want to preach God’s word, not because he was back-slidden, not because he was spiritually weak, not because he had a spirit of disobedience. Jeremiah didn’t want to preach the Word of God because he was hurt. He had been wounded by those that he was sent to prophecy to. He was rejected by the religiosity of organized religion. His message had been ignored by the church folk. He had poured his heart and soul into relationships with those in the congregation only to be ostracized, criticized, talked about, cast down, ridiculed, persecuted, and bound by those that were supposed to be his friends, those that where the ecclesia, the called out ones, the church.
He was a product or the statistic of friendly fire. He had been wounded and hurt by the church and because of this hurt he didn’t want to say any thing else about the Lord God, from the Lord God to the church that had hurt him so bad.
People don’t, at least I don’t, expect to get hurt in church, so when it happens the piercing pain that penetrates our hearts runs especially deep. Since we are not prepared for church wounds when we receive them they are seldom fully healed.
We find within the body of Christ that there are people who have been hurt deeply, they are becoming worn and exhausted, struggling within the body of Christ, robbed of the joy that Jesus has promised.
Sadly accepting that this is the way church is. Some leave the church bitter and hostile never to return, wounded not by the fire-power of the enemy, but wounded from friendly fire within the church.
Then there are those that stay at church, but are not a part of church they are neither hot nor cold but are in a spiritual state of shock because they have been wounded by friendly fire in the church.
Then there are those that put on a mask, they clap their hands because that’s church, they sing every song because that’s church, they shout and speak in tongues because that’s church and that is what is expected in church.
But if you would only take time to ask just how they were really doing, if you could see on the inside you would find a heart pierced crying tears with a gut wrenching scream pleading I’ve been hurt please won’t somebody help me. Yet they continue on trying to stay with the program hoping that the problem will just go away. They try to bury the hurt and many can masquerade the pain fairly successfully until they unfortunately are hurt again.
Understand that these are not some super sensitive elite group of people walking around with their hearts on their sleeve, but are people looking for life, carrying an unquenchable thirst. They understand that they are destined for more then the way they are currently living their lives. They are hungry for substance, desiring relationship, and clammering for commitment in search of life and life more abundantly. They have tried the bottle, they have been to the drug house, they have been to the whore house, they have done all that they were big enough to do yet they are still seeking for someone to help, so they go to the only place they know and that’s church, but when they get there they don’t find what they had expected. Instead of acceptance, instead of compassion, instead of understanding, instead of Love, they are wounded by friendly fire.
Friendly Fire – is a term originally adopted by the U.S. Military and is fire, which is the process of shooting guns or other projectile weapons, from allied or friendly forces, as opposed to that from the enemy. A friendly fire incident is when friendly or so-called friendly forces attack and damage those on the same side, this attack of friendly forces may be deliberate or accidental.