Earlier this week, I ran into an old friend from my teenage years at the grocery store. Although I was overly excited to see her, I noticed that she was happy yet more reserved as we greeted one another with a hug and kiss. I tried to apologize for my overzealous reaction but I get so thrilled to see people from my childhood whenever I get to dive into reminiscent moments of my foolish days. While we continued talking about who all we keep in contact with and lost touch with, I couldn’t help to wonder why one of my former closest friends was so reserved and distant while talking with me. I then shifted the conversation to ask how she was doing; that is, how she was doing in her heart. She responded with, “I’m doing okay…I work a lot…” I then asked her the typical question any Christian asks someone they haven’t seen in a while, “What church do you go to?” Or, “Do you still go to the same church?” However, I didn’t ask her simply because I wanted to carelessly shift the conversation. I usually ask this question whenever I see a Christian brother or sister who seems somehow unsettled or weary in their countenance. As simple as this question is, it lets me know if someone is “connected” or not or maybe they are connected to the church but wounded.
When my sister, my childhood friend, answered with so much disgust, “I don’t go to church”, I knew that she was not only disconnected but she was also wounded. Standing before me was this young lady who grew up in the church her whole life, knew the power of God and had a relationship with him, who sharply and unwelcomely told me that she doesn’t go to church at all. She then turns the question back to me and asked if I still go to church. When I said yes she seemed shocked; almost as if I was doing something outdated. She then attempted to discreetly and indirectly let me know of some of the hurts that the church has brought her and her loved ones over the years and she concluded with, “I’m happy to see that you are doing good and going to church but not everyone is there yet.” As I looked in her eyes, I knew exactly what she was talking about because she and I together have had some of our most tormenting experiences that’s hidden underneath the threshing floor of the church. Sadly, she had to leave because her children were getting restless so I didn’t get the chance to give her my testimony of healing and hope. Nonetheless, my encounter with an old friend led me to take a few days to discuss this subject matter:
The Wounded: An Overlooked Population within the Church
I believe that many churches/organizations are doing a phenomenal job with reaching those we call lost (those who don’t know Christ and or haven’t received him as their Lord and Savior) through different missions and evangelistic movements but now there are a growing number of people within the body of Christ who have fallen into the trenches of a hopeless, lost and dying world; those who may consider themselves at some point in time a Christian but are either on the brink of leaving or who already have left the church; they are the wounded.
If I can have a little bit of your time for the next few days, I would like to dive a little deeper into this somewhat “hidden breakdown” within the body of Christ with hopes to shed light on a much needed discussion and bring restoration to those who may feel forgotten.
Throughout this article, there are some questions/comments I want to address:
- How important is the wounded to God?
- How does the wounded resemble the lost?
- What is the affect this group is having on the Church today?
- Reaching out to the wounded
- Whose job is it?
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