Dealing with Alligators and Wounded Lions in the Church, and in our lives
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, 2 Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, Isaiah 42:1-3 (NAB)
959 When they take their little children in their arms, mothers—good mothers— make sure they do not have any pins in their clothes which could hurt them. When we deal with souls, we should have the same gentleness, together with all the determination required.
There was a children’s story about the lion who had a thorn in his paw. In great pain, he roared and snarled and moved to attack anyone who came near. (Perhaps some of this was out of fear they would attack him in his weakened state…but most of it was because of the pain) Until one day, a courageous youth dared to draw near, and removed the thorn.
There are also stories about alligators with a bad tooth, and the youngster, a wannabe dentist comes near and removes it, making a friend for life.
In most churches, we have people like these. Books have been written about neutralizing them or removing them. And while some, who are teaching false doctrine need to be dealt with differently, I believe that reconciliation is possible for many of them.
It is just a matter of identifying their source of pain, approaching them with care, and helpng them find the healing that God gracefully provides in Christ Jesus.
You see, they are broken and bruised, and while they may seem to be fiery, they are simply smoldering, and needing tender care to see them restored. They require a servant’s heart to minister to them, a heart that resonates with Christ’s, a heart more concerned about their welfare and lack of peace than about defending one’s self.
This isn’t easy, and it isn’t quick.
And yet it needs to be done. For they will simply isolate themselves, and in their pain hurt others, driving them away., or fighting for control of something, because of the lack of control somewhere else in their lives. The damage they can do is huge, it can kill a congregation or parish, driving people away from the church.
And yet, the stories of such reconciliation, of people beginning to heal of such brokenness, reminds us of what God can do in our lives.
Lord, help us to see the pain others are experience, the hearts that are broken, the souls that are tormented, and help us to serve them with Christ’s love. AMEN
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 3889-3891). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.