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Are people who possess a strong faith immune to brokenness? Can one really find joy in EVERYTHING? Or is brokenness the best kept secret in the church today?
A pastor was encouraging those planning to attend the memorial service for a young man who had recently been killed to wear bright colors and come with the attitude of celebrating his life.
Viewing memory boards, listening to personal testimonies, and taking part in the life celebration can be very uplifting, but the healing process actually begins with the honest acknowledgment of loss.
Let’s not forget that when the celebration is over, there is always someone left behind to pick up the mess. While most will return to a normal life, that young man’s family will struggle to establish a new normal without him.
I guarantee you they will suffer through a silent agony in the months and years ahead. Silent because people of faith are supposed to demonstrate strength—The LORD is my strength and shield—to admit otherwise could be taken as a sign of weak faith, right?
Today we can find preachers promising us the strength to be wealthy, happy, and influential. If I didn’t know better I’d think that Christianity was nothing more than a self-help program.
Considering all that hype, I guess that’s why church can at times be the most intimidating place to admit our brokenness? Believers are expected to demonstrate some kind of unnatural calm and inner serenity.
Its possible that a very important reality is being overlooked: How do we live with and love someone their entire life and not have their death hurt—it’s supposed to hurt. We receive the strength from God to endure hardships, not ignore them.
Instead of making them out to be strong examples of faith; maybe grieving people would be better served if we simply gave them permission to be broken. Try handing them a Kleenex.
“Sometimes silence speaks loudest and presence brings the most comfort” ~ WM. Paul Young – Cross Roads
You’re right. Don’t we always warm to the preachers who are real, honest and vulnerable enough to tell us stories about where they tripped up? There’s nothing wrong with the ones who talk about righteousness and faith, but we are more easily distracted and feel they are less approachable off pulpit.
Yes, God wants you to grieve greatly. That way, he can use you to minister to the broken hearted. A superficial faith filled person who never admits doubts and fears is not someone anyone wants to be around and if we’re honest, we avoid them like the plague.
Great post! Thanks for your honesty – bereavement can last a lifetime, but in it you are learning to feel the comfort of God and his gentle hand on your head when it all gets a bit too much.
Thank you Sharon. I know from personal experience that people are better able to deal with their grief if they sense that you honestly acknowledge what they’re going through.
Amen! Love, Joanne
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In reading of brokenness some words jumped out ,strength ,wealthy,happy ,influential,calm,inner serenity,endure,broken .I for one don’t think we have to hide how things effect us .Church is the house of God and the people who attend any church should look upon each member or any person ,that a time has come in this person life that first they need God and second the support of their church to help with their sorrow ..I think that God on more times then we know works by using people to help us and that is why church should not expect out of us but support us .
Gene, I couldn’t agree more. Brokenness can be a blessing if allowed the freedom to be expressed. One of our church leaders broke down and cried at a Sunday service last year. I loved him all the more for it. Hopefully his inner circle of friends did too.
I’m guilty of hiding my pain.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀
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It’s just like you say, Gene. Healing is a long process. Those who would have us put on a happy face are the same people who will have nothing to do with us once the ordeal is over. As I told you, my son was molested by a fellow missionary when we were serving in Japan. I found out years later when he erupted in violent behavior that tore our home apart. The church would have nothing to do with us. The mission covered for the pedophile for three years until I was able to produce three other victims. Then they produced a detailed chronology of his behavior. They knew what was going on the entire time. Although they acknowledged his actions, they never repented of their lies or offered to help in any way. I couldn’t find an ally to help me in my battle anywhere in the Christian community. They all circled the wagons.
It’s not about honoring Jesus Christ. It’s about protecting the image of the institution.
Humans seem to have a cognitive flexibility where we enable ourselves to believe that as long as we lie, cheat or steal only a little bit we can benefit from our sins and still think of ourselves as being honest, even devout. Its like being on a diet and somewhat cheating for a while, before long we believe we’re still on a diet.
Some churches, church organizations and church people can be no different, they fail to honor Christ with their lives yet actually believe they’re still on a mission given by Christ.
I have been hurt, and angered by religious people and even God himself for a while, but the reason I strive to serve in a church today is because I believe Jesus designed the church to present hope to the world. I just want to be part of the solution.
Your story is truly heartbreaking and I’m so sorry for what happened to your family.