rick & 1j13
Thursday, December 18, 2003

That's the "slogan" I'd like to see up on the sign at church after Christmas. The CWO tagline is "a healing place for a hurting world", and we take that seriously. But I like how those two words above say something to all of us: not just those in need of healing, but those of us going through the process, too.

Of course there's the need to have our hurts healed, and the church is called to be a hospital of sorts, "healing hurts" for those in need. From the tiniest boo-boo to major life-threatening stuff, from divorce to suicide - we need healing and restoration in so many areas of our lives as individuals and as a community. We can only ignore pain, trouble, doom & gloom for so long. And yet too many times our churches are places where people feel beat up, judged unnecessarily, under-loved and under-appreciated.

And there's also the need for a knowledge that real deep healing might really really hurt, that where we're going might have a higher price to pay than we're willing to shell out. As I get older, I find that there are fewer and fewer easy answers, and even fewer *cheap* ones. It hurts to forgive; it hurts to deal with your inner struggles; it hurts to lose a part of yourself, whatever the reason. Real healing really hurts - there's a message in there that needs to get out.

At Christmas, my biggest problem with the "christmas spirit" is the need to use sentimentality to mask anyone's real hurts, real depressions, real struggles. Even if we talk about having deep sadness at Christmas, it's usually in hushed tones behind someone's back, or it's on a late night newscast feature story about depression on the rise each year during the holidays. We don't deal with issues through the year, and the amplification at Christmas is numbing to the senses.

As Christians, can't we come alongside someone and just walk with them in integrity and genuineness this holiday season? Can't we bring healing, restoration and reconciliation in a real, deep, lasting manner? Can we love people and give of ourselves without expecting anything, except for God to work through that interaction as He loves others through us?

... isn't that at least a part of what Jesus did?
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