Radiance

lightstock_166975_smallblogMy closest friends will tell you I’m loyal to a fault. A wrong against one of them is a wrong against me. And boy, can I hold a grudge. Sometimes I can actually feel my heels digging into the ground.

I’ve been in church long enough to see plenty of good people, good friends in fact, be wronged by the church. It’s even happened to me a few times, and each time I want to protest in outrage. I want to hurl some insults and point a few fingers. I want to walk away from church entirely.

Because church is messy, community is hard and people get hurt.


Because church is messy, community is hard and people get hurt.


A few years ago, friends of mine ended up at a new church after being badly hurt in their former church. It turned out their new church had a large number of its members come in need of healing from the wounds received in other churches. I was grateful my friends found a place to rest and be restored, but I was deeply saddened to hear there was a need for ministry focused on this kind of healing.

But it does happen. People get hurt in church and by the church in all kinds of ways.

Because it’s filled with broken people who have bad days, free wills and can still get it wrong even with the best of intentions.

What am I supposed to do when my feelings get hurt? When decisions I don’t agree with get made? When my ministry efforts go unnoticed and seem unappreciated? When conflict arises and friends leave?

I know church is messy. I know community is hard. And I am hurting. I am struggling to trust, unsure of what to do with my anger and confusion. So badly do I want to slink away to lick my wounds and let resentment boil quietly underneath my surface.

I know too this is not what God would have me do. He loves His bride, the church, and He takes pride in her. He would have her honored regardless of imperfections, to have her seen as He sees her—radiant in His righteousness and splendor: how He sees us.

Thinking about His delight in His bride, how His heart swells when He looks at her, I am struck suddenly by how much grace I have been given, how much forgiveness is granted to me that I am not owed. It is through this lens Christ beckons me to look and see His bride, the church.


I am struck suddenly by how much grace I have been given, how much forgiveness is granted to me that I am not owed.

It is through this lens Christ beckons me to look and see His bride, the church.


Then, and only then, are my hurts mended, is my peace restored, is my heart encouraged.

Neither the church nor I have arrived yet. No one in the church has arrived yet. Together we will stumble and fall. We will get our feelings hurt and do likewise. We will have bad days and make mistakes. And we will get back up. We will forgive and ask for forgiveness. We will turn to Jesus and extend mercy.

And there, within His bride and within me, will grace and love abound.

One thought on “Radiance

  1. Jere Watkins says:

    I am reminded that”Hurt people hurt people” Then I am reminded I have hurt people and as you have so eloquently written, through Christ, Grace and Love abound.

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