Sermon Illustration: Healing Your Church Hurt

Tremendous quote from Stephen Mansfield’s Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do When You Still Love God But Have Been Wounded By His People:

“In time, I became aware that what is important is not so much the cause of the offense, but rather the common characteristics of the offended soul itself. No matter the size or importance of the event that had led to the offense, I encountered a poisoned soul. In each case, a soul was distanced from God. In each case, a leaking toxic bitterness was tainting everything that soul touched. In each case, morality, vision, and love suffered. These common characteristics of the offended soul knew no bounds.

I had the privilege of going to the Vatican and ended up talking to a priest over pasta about his harsh treatment by a superior. I lectured at the United States Military Academy and found a high ranking officer who “loved God but hated his people” and planned to “do my own religious thing” for the rest of his life. While sitting in a Starbucks drinking a chai latte and reading a book, I ended up in a conversation with a young man who took certain scandals among famous preachers so hard you would have thought the wrongdoings were personally directed at him. In each case, no matter the cause, the condition of the soul was the same. . .  

I came to the conclusion that no matter how large or petty the cause, every religiously wounded soul I encountered was in danger of a tainted life of smallness and pain, of missed destinies, and the bitter downward spiral. And every soul I encountered had the power to be free, for each of them, no matter how legitimately, was clenching the very offense or rage or self-pity or vision of vengeance that was making life a microcosm of hell.”

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