Is Your Church A Healing Community?

Of all places, I believe that the church is still better equipped to care for the needs of the weary, lonely, and suffering. The church offers not just spiritual support, but also emotional, mental, practical, and social support. To be rightly related to God and warmly related to His creatures is the best medicine for life's ills.

Now some reality check. Unfortunately, you will not find the warmth and healing you need in all churches.

Let me quote Paul Tournier below before I make some comments about the present state of the church as a healing community:

"It is the church alone, nevertheless, which can answer the world of today's tremendous thirst for community. Christ sent His disciples two by two. The great body of the early Christians, according to the Bible, were "of one heart and soul; they had all things in common" (Acts 4:32; 2:44). Instead of demonstrating the way to fellowship to the world today, the church seems the embody the triumph of individualism. The faithful sit side by side without even knowing each other; the elders gather in a little partliament with its parties and formalities; the pastors do their work without reference to one another."

The church is called to be a "healing, therapeutic community." It is called to carry on the ministry of our Lord Jesus who said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11: 28). It is therefore sad and tragic when hurting people attend our church services and leave without a healing touch.

Author Gary Chapman said that some churches have become a "mutual aid society for those who pay their dues, rather than a lighthouse for battered ships." You would even find individuals in churches who'd exploit, abuse, or betray you. As Jesus said, "the wheats and weeds grow together until the time of the harvest" (Matthew 13).

One lonely, old woman remarked: "I sit in a pew next to a warm body, but I draw no heat. I am in the same faith but draw no act of love. I sing the same hymns with those next to mem but I hear only my own voice. When it is finished, I leave as I came in, hungry for a touch of someone, someone to tell me I am a person worth something to them. Just a smile would do it perhaps, some gesture or sign that I am not a stranger."

But don't give up. Search. Reach out. Take initiative. Be concerned for the well being of others. As you do, you'll find that concern returned to you.

Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you." (Matthew 7: 7-8)