Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Let's be REAL. Christians Hurt.

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Let's be REAL. 
Christians hurt. Contrary to popular belief, Christians do hurt, and they cry. 
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I am tired of hurting people being pushed aside simply because they are hurting and not getting over it.

We can so easily forget that Christians are human, not some strange creature that has the supernatural ability of only experiencing three emotions: happy, joyful, and cheerful. Too often, those who hurt are afraid of speaking up because they “shouldn’t feel that way” or “should get over it”.

I am not free of guilt.
I once had a friend who was in deep despair. Her hurt was bottomless. It wasn’t difficult understanding that her heart and mind were crushed. But after a few weeks of her crying over this ruin, I grew tired of it. I purposefully planned to not meet with her many times, to avoid hearing her talk about the same old thing. And even though I genuinely had remorse for what I was doing, the thought of her ongoing hurt made me cringe a bit. When would she get over this? This version of my friend was an inconvenience and I wanted my happy, joyful, and cheerful friend back.

It wasn’t till I went through a similar season of gloom that I realized what a terrible friend and sister in Christ I was. In my agony, and through the depression, I simply wanted a friend to hear me out. At other times, my need was for a friend to sit in silence while I cried. But I wasn’t honest with many people, faked the funk, and displayed a bogus joy. Sure, publicly I acted indifferent to my circumstances but in the face of worship and God’s Word, I would fall apart. In solitude I deteriorated and feared what others may think of me if they found out I was broken and weak.

I decided to write my feelings out in a blog post. Unbeknownst to me, someone would read my words and be a friend.

She wrote to me,“Raquel I will be writing more to you. You are a brave woman...People will never see us as having found a Savior if we never confess we struggle. Otherwise, they think they don’t have it, or it doesn’t work for them. On my real blog I have a few posts about cancer: keeping it real... This is wicked nasty stuff that God uphold s me through, that Jesus rides in the boat with me through.
She didn’t tell me that as a Christian I am to be strong for those around me, or strong period.
She told me to be real. And she prayed with me. 

I shied from being real because after all, I am to be joyful at all times.
I hid behind the façade that I was getting over it.

But the truth is:
Christians do hurt.
Christians experience wicked nasty stuff.
Christians struggle.

Her words began to mend a part of me that had vanished. It was then that my wounds began to heal. She didn't dismiss my hurt, but let me know it's ok to hurt and she didn't think less of me because of it. I engraved her words in my heart, and I cry every time I go back to the wisdom she shared with me. Cancer took her life but her legacy is still with me.

We can’t ignore the hurt or cover it as with a Band-Aid.
We can’t ignore the person who hurts, or push them aside because they inconvenience us.
Words spoken to a person who is hurting, though well meaning, can’t diminish the pain they are experiencing.
We are to be Christ-like, long-suffering with those who are hurting.
We are to be a safe haven for them.
We are to be a refuge where hurting people are free to speak or sit in silence, where they can cry, and struggle.
We are to be a lighthouse, guiding those who are hurt out of darkness and into the light.
We are to show hospitality to those hurting in solitude; share meals, time, space, and love.
We are to be shepherds, pursuing after the hurting Christian.
We are to be warriors, warring with them through prayer.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically, rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:9-17

A friend is always loyal, and a sister is born to help in time of need.
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a sister. Proverbs 18:24

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