Thursday, September 25, 2014

Broken, but Restorable

The adult daughter of an acquaintance has admitted on her blog that she has not been actively participating in church life for several months now because, in her own words:
The truth is I've been hurt.  Badly.  So, I have some trust issues now.
I do not know the background, nor did I ask, but her experience is not that uncommon.  There are many stories of people walking away from the Church when they finally realize that what had been taught was not the biblical gospel, but a law-driven, rule-based set of standards to which a person must adhere in order to be in good standing and considered “spiritual.”  In spite of best intentions, the effort to maintain the facade wears one down.  After so long, the truth comes to light.  Zeal gives way to disenchantment, then disgust, as self-promoted perfectionism crashes against actual life.  Others, like this lady above, still cling to the Lord Jesus and the truth of scripture, but there are wounds inflicted deliberately or unwittingly by Christians just trying to help but did so in the wrongly.  The blogger goes on to say that it becomes like the emotional upheaval from a romantic breakup.  Healing can occur, but that will take time.

While reading that post, my mind went to Psalm 26:
Vindicate me, O Lᴏʀᴅ,
    for I have walked in my integrity,
    and I have trusted in the Lᴏʀᴅ without wavering.
Prove me, O Lᴏʀᴅ, and try me;
    test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
    and I walk in your faithfulness.
I do not sit with men of falsehood,
    nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
    and I will not sit with the wicked.
I wash my hands in innocence
    and go around your altar, O Lᴏʀᴅ,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
    and telling all your wondrous deeds.
O Lᴏʀᴅ, I love the habitation of your house
    and the place where your glory dwells.
Do not sweep my soul away with sinners,
    nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
in whose hands are evil devices,
    and whose right hands are full of bribes.
But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the Lᴏʀᴅ.
David has been maligned by critics, and he goes before the Lord to lay out his case.  His life, according to his understanding, has been upright before God and man.  This expresses the feelings of any faithful, Bible-believing Christians receiving the brunt of misplaced intentions.  There is a desire to be worshiping where God dwells among his people, yet those people are the reason for separation and loneliness.  Talk about a “Catch 22.”

Restoration will take an individual route, but the psalm gives overall steps the wronged person should take:
  1. Take stock of your life against what scripture says.  Are you walking with integrity?
  2. Allow the Lord to test your life.  Have go mining to dig up what needs to be brought to light and refined.
  3. Keep the Lord before you.  There is a temptation to give up trying and walk away.  Remain steadfast and hold tightly to what God has graciously promised you in his word.
  4. Resolve to worship.  Worship is not always a joyful experience.  Most of the psalms detail wrongs, sins, abandonment, and the harshness of life, yet coming around to acknowledge that the Lord Almighty is ever-faithful and will stand by his word.
  5. Keep worship with the whole assembly as a goal.  You, as an individual, are meant to be involved as an integral part of the assembly, actively engaged as a member of Christ’s body.  Regardless of how restoration progresses, aim to be where his people gather.  Christians are not hermits.
Jesus died on the cross for the person offended and for those who caused the offense.  Restoration is possible through the working of the Holy Spirit in the strength that God supplies.

No comments: