What in Hell is Wrong with the Church? by John Burke

A guest post from John Burke, lead pastor at Gateway Church in Austin:

“Devil, Satan, Wounds. Kathy and I had a little spat that morning, and I said something I later regretted. I got to work, read an email that felt accusatory and distrusting about our church, and I found myself feeling quickly hurt and defeated. As my 60:60 reminder went  off, I cried out, “Lord, what’s going on? Why is this so hard? How in the world can we become a unified body when we keep getting divided so easily?”

Three words came to mind: Diaballos, Satan, Wounds. Diaballos is the Greek word translated “devil.” But what came to mind was the literal translation: Dia—apart, Ballo—to throw, the one who “throws us apart,” divides. The word “Satan” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “accuser.” “Wound” was the third word. Suddenly I saw what had happened that morning. Kathy said something that hit an unhealed wound in me (unintentionally), and I found accusatory thoughts and feelings bombarding me, so out of my hurt, I said something that felt accusatory to her that hit a past wound—and presto—we’re divided! Wow!

I realized, that’s the challenge of leading the Church among a generation so wounded.  We’ve been wounded by parents (who self-labeled as the “Me-generation” and created “latchkey kids”), broken family (the divorce rate climbed 300% during this generation’s formative years), government and business (political scandals, Enron scandals convinced us that everyone’s in it for themselves—don’t trust them), and even religious scandal (televangelists and religious leaders using people to get rich, or sexually abusing, or acting more like celebrities than civil servants). No wonder it’s so hard to be a unified church with so many unhealed wounds.

Yet Jesus prays for us, so that He can unite us.
His last prayer on earth was, “Father, I am praying…for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” (John 17:20-21)  So we who are the church must guard our hearts and minds against all accusatory thoughts that seek to divide or throw apart His church, or pit His people against one another. When those thoughts come, when they pierce our wounds, we must ask God to show us what’s true, and give us the courage to go to those people and find out the truth, so He can unite us.

I called Kathy and apologized. We didn’t let accusation and wounds lead to division. We are committed to fighting together our common enemy and standing united. Let’s do the same for the church, so that we are answers to Jesus’ last prayer.”

Check out more on John’s website: http://www.johnburkeonline.com/

  • Maranatha John

    I couldn’t agree more! The devil feasts on wounds, hurt and pain, just as dogs like to lick their wounds. The devil capitalizes on our hurts and offences to destroy the church from inside out. The Bible says “offense must needs come, but woe to him from whom it cometh” We can’t stop offense, for as long as we have the imperfect church members we are forever liable to hurt each other. When we permit the offense to subsist in our hearts and linger for too long the result is simply “separation”! In fact no one expounds this topic better than Dag Heward-Mills in one of his 7 loyalty series “Loyalty and Disloyalty”. As well-seasoned expert on this topic, Dag Heward-Mills brings to light one of the least-written about topic, and yet comprehensive issue in the Church body today.

    Read it and save your church from premature death! 🙂

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