An Unhealed Heart and the Institutional Church
Life leaves a trail of broken tears. You've been hurt by family, friends, and fiends. Maybe you are the one that has injured yourself. That can be the hardest hurt to get over. Perhaps the angst you feel is derived from a church experience that fell way short of your overblown expectations.
There seems to be a heavy angst against the Church - both from those looking on from the outside and from those seething in the pews every Sunday. Some of my closest friends have boldly declared, "I am done with the institutionalized church!" and have proceeded to start their own churches and ministries.
This makes me sad. It makes me weep.
Whether or not you are done with the "institutional church" or not, please remember that, as redeemed Christians, we ARE the bride of Christ and we are being moved by the power of the Holy Spirit toward the Day of the Lord. This is a warts-and-all type of migration and the sanctification process can be ugly because sin is ugly especially when, by grace, it becomes publicly revealed.
So I write these words to all my friends who are broken and been hurt by the "institutional church" and are seeking a higher, more-spiritual communal gathering: The motives of an unhealed heart will poison even the best of intentions.
Here is a story that broke my heart:
A friend of mine sat in the room with a prominent Christian author - one who wants to lead the exodus out of the "institutional church" - and talked with him about the frustrations of being a pastor in the system of attraction-oriented church-running. My friend left with one major impression: The author had never received healing after the church had hurt him over 25 years ago and it was poisoning his best intentions to right the ship before it sank. The unhealed heart was a chain wrapped around his soul. He could not move past the hurt - I'm not sure he even wants to.
I have yet to meet one person who has left the "institutional church" that does not find root in some hurt they experienced while being in the institutional church. Admittedly, some of these pains are tragic. Some stories drive me to the point of being irate. I throw my hands up and scream, "How can this happen in the house of God!?!" Then I remember, there is a spiritual battle that surrounds each life and there are times when the bad guys get the upper hand. And even though they lose in the end, the heartache they cause in the interim has devastated many members of the bride.
Then there are those who got mad because they got found out. Their true colors and their hidden sins were uncovered and instead of repenting they proudly justified their actions and blamed the "institutional church" for not living up to their expectations. Then they cause a ruckus, stir up trouble, and take down as many people as they can on their crusade to destroy the whistle blowers. They never saw that the whistle-blowing was the call of grace to repent and reset. It's a shame. Many people no longer serve Christ because of these people.
I am sad. I weep. THIS is the bride of Christ?
And all of this stems from a wounded heart that poisons the best intentions. Look, there is a dire need of a constant reformation and repentance in the life of our churches. Those leaving the "institutional church" have noticed the the call to reform is largely being ignored. They have a part of it right. But the unhealed heart poisons the best of intentions and it poisons the bride.
Find healing. Please, find healing! Oh, Bride, please find healing before the poison turns lethal in a wave of unintended consequences.