I’ve been considering doing this for a few weeks. As I’ve written about people inside the church using Jesus to hurt or reject people, my heart has been so heavy. In 2010 I did a five-part series called Hurt People, Hurt People. Loved People, Love People. I think it was some of my best writing. Not because sentence structure was spot on or my grammar was impeccable. And not even because I think that my writing voice was solid. Back then I actually didn’t know who I wanted to be as a writer. I think it’s some of my best writing because God used it to direct my heart in some grand ways. For the last 5+ years it’s been a major part of my growth as a husband, father, friend, follower and leader. Since then, my readership has grown and my voice is a tad more solid and I want to share something that has been big for me over the years. I was just going to tweak each post some, but I couldn’t, so this one was mostly re-written. Without further ado…
People are in strife. All over the world, there are very real circumstances in which people are being marginalized and abused. They’re being kidnapped and murdered for what they believe. They’re being told that God hates them and thinks they’re vile. They’re being rejected by the very people God has called to be witnesses of Love. They’re sitting in captivity, abandoned by entire governments. They’re hurting. They’re helpless.
Ecclesiastes 4:1 says, “Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.”
I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. Just reading that should tear our hearts wide open. The fact that words, so drenched in despair and written nearly 3,000 years ago, still bear weight today, ought to stop us dead in our tracks. There are people who are bound by oppressors, ensnared in the lie that there is no hope; to understate it, it’s heart breaking. And, the fact that some of those oppressors reside in the church and call themselves followers of Jesus should make us angry. They deserve better of us. Jesus demands better of us.
No doubt we’ve all experienced hurt. If you haven’t you will. It’s never a matter of if, just when. Most of us are somehow lifted out of it. With or without Jesus, some are able to find their way out of the mire and press on. I would argue that without Jesus complete healing isn’t possible, but we’ll talk on that later. But, there are those who have been so beat down by the world, so abused and broken, that they are helplessly held by their oppressor and the thought of freedom never breaches their consciousness. They’re broken, rejected, torn apart by life and bitter against it. The worst part is that hurt doesn’t discriminate. It wreaks havoc where it sees fit and will stay until something stronger ousts it.
That’s where we fit. We’re made for hurt. More precisely we’re made for hope, for healing. 1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite passages of scripture, and it isn’t because everyone uses it at weddings. It’s because it’s the remedy for hurt. If God is love, and as Christians we should know that to be true, then 1 Cor 13:13 reveals God to us. It says, “But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” God is telling us to spend excessive amounts of love on others. That’s the remedy for hurt. We’ll talk more about that later, also, but in the meantime…
There are hurting people all around us, some sitting literally in the chair next to you. They are helpless against the power of their oppressors. They are crying out, tears not always visible, but there nonetheless. We are called to show them hope, who is Christ. The best way to reveal Jesus to Hurt People is love.