October 29: Beloved Enemies
‘If a foe were insulting me I could endure it. But it is you, a man like me, my friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship.’ (Ps. 55: 12-14)
We are hurt most by those we love most. Period. The deeper our relationships, the deeper we can be wounded. That can help explain why a parent’s abuse of his/her child does much greater damage than wounds inflicted by a stranger. The child inherently trusts and loves a parent: betrayal is measured by the depth of a child’s need for care and protection from its parent.
As a parent who stands with many parents on behalf of their adult children, I can also attest to the pain kids inflict on those who sired and bore them. Immoral choices of the young disrupt the old and dishonor them. Few wounds run deeper than lifestyle choices that drive and define a child far from a parent’s values. Simeon’s prophecy to Mary that ‘a sword will pierce your heart (Luke 2:35)’ applies well to the ‘parent-wound’: a child alienated from family and faith due to immorality.
If families-of-origin bind us together and break us too, how much more might that apply to our relationship with the family of God, the Church? We gather there to unite with persons made new by Jesus Himself. We expect icons: stained glass, but glass nevertheless through which He shines.
Our expectations are often dashed by broken ones (sheep and shepherds alike) who fail to be conduits of Jesus for us. Many of us love Jesus intensely because our new lives are bound up entirely in His saving grace. When Christians fail us, we feel the chasm between His Head and His Body like a deep ache. Many young ones fall through that gap and are never reclaimed.
We at DSM/LW love the Church; we are her. We draw on her riches and experience her poverty. She has been good to us! And at times our sweet mother has become a beloved enemy. During one season, our home church banned all of our healing groups and materials. We had become a liability to her; loving her as we did, we felt like a liability. It was no small task to separate Jesus’ advocacy for us from that of the Church. During that season I felt sick whenever I entered the sanctuary. I asked Jesus why and He said simply: ‘It is because you love her [the Church] so much.’
I take heart as I read the lives of the saints. Their suffering seems to stem more from church wounds than persecution from the world. So take heart! Perhaps Jesus allows such wounds to grant us a share in His suffering. After all, does He not love His bride above all else and so suffer for her intensely? Beloved enemies, especially in the Church, may unite us more nearly with His heart than any other source of wounding.
Please join us as we pray for:
1. Mid-Atlantic Region, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tom Wright, Coordinator: For strength and vision for Tom, for existing groups and to see new groups established.
2.Aguas Vivas: Veracruz, Mexico, Analuisa – Coordinator: For them to find good church covering and for all they need to complete ContraCorriente (CrossCurrent) pilot.
3. RHN: Identity Quest, Robert Gates, Albuquerque, MX: continuing his education, health and personal relationships. Free Indeed Ministries, Ron & Barbara Swallow, Albuquerque, MX: Financial burdens.
“Courage for Pastor Phil Strout (National Director of Vineyard USA), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”