Monday, January 14, 2008

Real Church Hurts

Real Church Hurts
By J. Brooke Fenwick

Real church hurts

When Sunday morning worship gets stale

Because Sunday morning isn’t churchReal church hurts

When you realize that there is more than that weekly sermon

Because that sermon isn’t enoughReal church hurts

When you finally give up on finding the perfect place that scratches your spiritual itch

Because such a church does not existReal church hurts

When you get past the pre-packaged, “We’ve got all the answers” theology

Because a church that claims to know it all is lyingReal church hurts

When you get past the superficial smiles and discover real people you don’t like

Because you are one of those peopleReal church hurts

When you learn to humbly wash the feet of the arrogant, proud, and hypocritical

Because Christ set the exampleReal church hurts

When you commit yourself to being there for those who are not there for you

Because Christ never leaves nor forsakesReal church hurts

When you start to strip off the protective layers, making the real you known

Because Christ already knows you better than you know yourselfReal church hurts

When you are forced to look past your prejudices and see the heart of another

Because Christ looks past outward appearance and sees the heartReal church hurts

When you choose to lay down your life for someone who doesn’t deserve it

Because Christ did that for youReal church hurts

Because Christ hurts

And we are His body
Real church hurts

Because real love hurts

And it is by this love that the world will know that we are His

To ponder:
1) Do you agree with Brooke's assessment? Why or why not?

2) Do you find it difficult to be real with people? Is it more (or less) difficult for you at church?

3) Were there specific portions of Brooke's poem that seem particularly true in your life?

4) Holly sez: As a teen, I expected my church to have all the answers about God. Many Christian adults acted like they did. These days, I'm content to be in a church that's willing to have questions about God--as long as it is ever pursuing answers in its efforts to draw closer to God.

What are some questions you have about God and faith? Do you feel more frustrated or more excited when you discuss these questions with others?


Shari said...

I know quite a few people who have been hurt at church and no longer attend. My husband and I were hurt by some Christians and stopped going to church for about 17 years. Well, we are back in church. We see things differently, now. We expect that someone will say or do something to hurt us. And when they do, we will not quit the church this time. Our pastor preaches about this kind of subject. Maybe it would be a good idea for other pastors to do so, also, because I think it is a big problem.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord!

Yes, I agree that "real church hurts because real Love hurts." And real love hurts because it requires self-sacrifice—denying yourself for the benefit of others.

If you’re human and you bleed red (like I do), the very idea of giving up your own desires and needs for someone else, especially someone who has hurt you, doesn’t quite leave you with that lovey dovey feeling inside. In fact, it can be downright detestable to do good to someone who has harmed you in any way—whether the hurt is real or imagined.

But as believers, we are “the Church”—Christ’s body. The longer I live as a Christian, the more I see that we must choose to “hurt” if we really expect to demonstrate God’s love on this earth. We have been commanded to love self-sacrificially—until it hurts. That means we must choose to: love our enemies; forgive when we don’t want to; show mercy to others when their actions warrant reproof; deny our rights, even those we believe to be inalienable…

Self-sacrifice is the very essence of “real love.” Jesus Christ established this standard for us when He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of mankind. He endured the worst "Church Hurt" ever at the hands of those He came to save. At the height of His earthly suffering, the Lord cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Aah! If we could just love one another like that!

That is my prayer every day—that I will learn to love like that…until it hurts.

~ Firmly In His Grip,
Genikwa Williams

Genikwa R. Williams, a Christian freelance writer and PR specialist, is the creator and lead writer of Everyday Repartee,—a devotional blog with “not-so-idle chitchat about everything under the sun and above it.” Please visit us at