Can we say this together? Church hurts, no more! Love works, forever more!
Love works. What does that mean? What does that look like for me and you?
Well, first we need to go to the love chapter in the Bible and read about what love is:
“If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal. And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing. And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.
“Love is large and incredibly patient.
Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else.
Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.
Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.
Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.
Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent.
Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away.
When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child.
“But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways. For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 TPT
Above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run. What is running your inner mind narrative? Hurt? What about church hurt?
I have heard it said that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. How can this be? Jesus ate with everyone. Nobody was above or beneath Him in His eyes. He created each of us for distinct purpose.
When it comes to how God sees us, I love this passage of scripture:
“You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
“Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me. Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
“You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength. Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face? If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too! If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there! If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting! Wherever I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me. It’s impossible to disappear from you or to ask the darkness to hide me, for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night. There is no such thing as darkness with you. The night, to you, is as bright as the day; there’s no difference between the two. You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book.
“God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways— the path that brings me back to you.”
Psalms 139:1-18, 23-24 TPT
I love when it says, “You even formed every bone in my body when You created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something.”
We’ve all heard the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I want to unpack this statement. Sticks and stones may break our bones in the physical, but words hurt us emotionally, which at times can be worse than a physical breaking. A physical hurt can heal in days and people see it and have compassion for it, but an emotional hurt is hidden and can last for a lifetime if undiscovered and unresolved.
Church hurt is an emotional breaking. Hurting people hurt people.
Church is not a building; it’s people. If people hurt people, how can the church stand? It starts and ends with love works. Love looks like you and me. When we figure out the pains within our own hearts and surrender them to the Creator of all, He can then give us an exchange of truth and the bondage within will be lightened. The lighter we feel, the happier we become and the more love we have to give away.
Our Heavenly Father gave away His only Son just for you. You are unique. You are special. You matter. You are never alone when the Holy Spirit is active inside of you. He is the divine encourager and our comforter within.
The next time someone starts a conversation with you, think about whether what you are saying could be hurtful if the person being discussed is right beside the two of you. Church hurt can run deep for many years, so reframe the conversation and take over with Love Works forever more!
And remember, if you have nothing nice to say, just bring your cheer and smile from ear to ear. He created us to smile and we burn more calories as well when we do. So, it’s a win-win.