To give away her heart before
Had been her first mistake
She knows she shouldn't doubt Him now
But there's just too much at stake
And still He keeps on calling
But she pretends she doesn't hear
He longs to touch and heal her
But she never lets Him near
She's one of the walking wounded
She's been searching for so long
Deep inside, she's hoping
All the fear she feels is wrong
Maybe He can give her
All the love she's been denied
Maybe it will be alright
If she lets Him come inside
Don Francisco - "Walking Wounded"
I still remember when that song first came out. Seems it wasn't that long afterward, that my late brother Mike's first wife took her own life at only 32 years old. Even through my grief and confusion, I somehow understood that Dorothy was "one of the walking wounded" like Don said ... and that's why she did what she did. Looking back now nearly 30 years, that explanation still rings true.
But today's post isn't about that particular wound. That one is pretty obvious to anybody who doesn't choose to completely ignore it. No, I'm thinking of a brief conversation with a friend who has been burned by religion. It's a familiar theme these days - I've seen it in my own circle far too often. And it's creating a great divide among us where there was supposed to be unity. At the heart of it all, is the old trust issue.
For so many of us, trust has been abused and breached so many times, that we just feel like giving up. The very thought of church brings on such deep-seated internal pain that we've set it aside or skipped it entirely. Now, while I think there is a vital part to be played by community of believers, I don't think we need to just "do church" to fill that. But I'm getting ahead of myself here ...
What does it mean for us to trust again when it seems our heart has been so abused? John Eldridge would go so far as to say we've been told a lie about our heart being evil and worthless. I tend to think he's right. God tells us he redeemed our hearts - he chose to move Heaven and Earth to make that happen. Yet we have an Enemy who is bent on crushing our hope and keeping us focused on the fractures and broken trust. It is a very real battle indeed; it's no wonder so many of us are "walking wounded".
Now, the very place that we wounded are supposed to turn for healing and support has also gone very wrong in so many ways. Sure there are some congregations that embrace love and grace to a great extent. Yet so very many have turned from being houses of healing to courts of judgement. They expect everyone to become "just like them" and embrace what they see as "real Christianity". Instead of being open, they shut themselves off and either create captives of a new kind or drive away the wounded who so desperately need to see Jesus' love in it's fullness. In the end, that's just very sad considering the wonderful alternative.
The Crooked Path requires us to lift up our broken hearts to God who has offered us his love and protection. He asks us to trust again, even though we are fearful of doing so. he asks us to put one foot in front of the other and find community in him and in fellow travelers - other walking wounded - who are ready to embrace him even when the established churches have strayed from their mission. Fellowship and acceptance are there, we just have to trust God to bring them across our path so we can walk together toward him.
And remember, we're not alone. Our Divine Older Brother experienced heartbreak we can't even imagine. He's promised to walk right beside us as we try to trust again.