How many of you know someone who walked with the Lord at one time but now they are shipwrecked? When I hear of these cases it often seems that the person was knocked out by some wound or offense suffered at a church. That’s the toughest because the church is one place that is supposed to be safe. When the church hurts us it is a double whammy.
The way The Message translates part of Psalm 55 expresses the sentiments of betrayal well I think. It says; “And this, my best friend, betrayed his best friends; his life betrayed his word. All my life I’ve been charmed by his speech, never dreaming he’d turn on me. His words, which were music to my ears, turned to daggers in my heart.”
In the church environment, a person may timidly thrust out a tender little foot of openness and vulnerability. Sometimes that foot then gets trampled upon and crushed, and the person recoils from the church setting, maybe permanently. I identify with the bewildered, confused emotional turmoil that can result because I have experienced it firsthand myself.
Knowing this, I hope it won’t sound too harsh when I say; “What were the eyes of your heart focused on when you got so hurt?” A church is not our true place of refuge, Jesus is. The people, (even the pastor) in the church are not our safety, Jesus is. The people who make up church membership are flawed and wounded and imperfect – just like we all are.
For any who are shipwrecked I have some advice. Grab a plank from your broken ship and use it to swim to shore. Let the plank help fashion a new ship and embark on a new voyage. Set sail again.
What does that mean? It means don’t stay out in open waters drowning. Capitalize on your hurt and disappointment to refocus the eyes of your heart on your true hope; Jesus. Go back to church again. Can you be hurt again? Yes, if you don’t watch where your eyes are focused.
Maybe there are others there who need some help swimming to shore from their own shipwreck. Maybe YOU can lend them your plank.