5 Stars Out Of 5
Healing Church-Inflicted Wounds
June 15, 2016
We might expect Billy Grahams daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, to be an evangelical princess floating above the wounds that Christians too often give each other. But real and phony Christians have severelysometimes intentionallywounded this wife of 47 years, mom, speaker, bestselling author, and founder and president of AnGeL Ministries.
Gods people wounded her the most: betrayal, slander, meanness, rudeness, ostracism and returning evil for goodsometimes gift-wrapped with religion. Church people too often shoot wounded Christians instead of listening to, accepting, praying for, humbly serving and loving them. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:4).
Around 1985, Lotzs Southern Baptist church gave her 500-woman Bible Fellowship class the left foot of fellowship and applauded in its Sunday morning service that it had voted her long-serving husband out of leadership. Both got dishonored and railroaded for upholding Scriptural inspirationa point of contention then in Southern Baptist churches.
Her other problems and stressors have included miscarriage, hurricanes, her husbands dental clinic burning down, all three of their children marrying within eight months, their son getting cancer and divorcing, her parents health battles, her moms deathplus in her extended familyadultery, rape, drunkenness and drug addiction.
She confesses to provoking some of her wounds and even sometimes recycling them: Hurting people hurt people they nurse their pain, anger, bitterness, frustration, unforgiveness or resentment until they are enslaved. Pent-up anger can explode in blind volcanic rage targeting a nearby innocent person. Pain, guilt, grief and shattered relationships moved Lotz to tell her story.
She illustrates with Hagar whom Gods people wounded (Genesis 16:21). Hagar loved, respected, trusted and felt safe with Abraham and his barren wife Sarah, who exploited her humble, vulnerable, dependent servant as a surrogate mom. When pregnant with Ishmael, Hagar despised her barren mistress, who harshly retaliated.
Later Elkanahs first wife similarly ridiculed his barren wife Hannah, who responded by earnestly praying to God (1 Samuel 1-2).
Lotz writes: Unfortunately, pity parties never result in authentic benefit they just enlarge, deepen, and intensify the wound by repeatedly exposing it. Why habitually scrape off scabs? Sometimes it feels good to hurt bad. I can take a wicked pleasure in rehashing what others have said or done to inflict the wound, each time reaffirming my own innocence and giving in to self-pity. To recover she advises:
Admit your pain: Stop covering it up, rationalizing it, defending it, excusing it, ignoring it.
Dont see misguided human rejection as from God. Abused, dejected believers must run to, not from, God.
Dont submit to revenge, resentment, fear or anger. Let nothing harden your heart. Refocus from bitterness and look to our loving Lord for healing and perfect peace. Bitterness is like drinking poison, hoping the other person gets sick.
Stop feeling entitled to hold on to your wounds. After escaping this quicksand, you can move forward.
Pray out your pain. God puts wounds in perspective and salves stings: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).
Seek insight and solace in Gods Word.
Carefully think without rationalizing your blind spots. Might your wounding come at least partly from your wounding others? We are skilled at absolving ourselves while seeing others faults.
Humbly repent of any sin and ask forgiveness of God and others.
When appropriate, with Gods wisdom and love, as privately as possible, correct people in sineven when it hurts both you and them.
Reach out in reconciling love as Jesus on the cross ministered to hurting peoplethe repenting criminal, Maryand even us.
Realize that a sovereign God uses our brokenness for His glory and our growth in spirit and ability to help others.
A Puritan expresses Lotzs heart: Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.
First Peter 2:23 says of Jesus, When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.