Selasa, 06 Mei 2008


"When You've Been Burned"
  The other day in the airport, I saw a mother and her daughter hustling to make a plane.  But the little girl's face was covered with a mask that was basically a screen - she could see through it, but it was protecting her face.  In just a glance, I could see that her face had been badly burned.  She had long sleeves and long pants on ... my guess is that she probably had burns on other parts of her body, too.  I really felt for her
- and for her mother.  She appeared to be a burn victim, doing all she could to heal and recover.

    Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "When You've Been Burned."

    It's tragic to be a burn victim - even if you've been spiritually burned.  Maybe especially if you've been spiritually burned.  Physical burns affect your outside, and they can often be treated medically.  When you've been burned spiritually, the scars are inside where they're hard to get at.  Someone's reading today who is just such a burn victim.

    It can happen many ways.  Often you get hurt by some people who claim to be Christians ... or you have a bad experience with a church or a ministry.   And whether the causes are real, perceived, or a combination of both, there are way too many people who have withdrawn to the spiritual sidelines because they feel burned.   Maybe you've been hurt or disillusioned ... and maybe you've withdrawn and isolated yourself from Christian things ... or you've become reluctant to make any spiritual commitments ... or you've just tried to protect yourself by hardening your heart ... or maybe you're using the hypocrisy of others as an excuse to do wrong things.  You're one of Christianity's burn victims.

    We probably don't need to talk anymore about your hurt - we need to talk about your healing.  Which God talks about in our word for today from the Word of God.  I'm hoping that these wonderful promises from Isaiah 61, beginning with verse 1, will help you make today a turning point day - a day when you begin to move from burn victim to burn victor.

    In a passage describing the Messiah's mission, the Lord says, "He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted ... to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair."  I so want those words to be about you ... and God so wants to do those things for you - if you'll let Him.

    God's program of burn therapy and plastic surgery on your soul will include several action steps on your part.  They're challenging, but
they're the road to healing.  It starts when you focus on Christ and not on Christians.  Jesus didn't burn you - and the heart of being a Christian is
Jesus' simple command - "Follow Me."  Next, you need to open up to healing.   You've nursed and rehearsed your wounds long enough - now it's
time to get well.  You also need to recognize your own imperfection.  We've all been hurt - but we've all been hurters, too.  You and I stand as guilty of hurting people as the people who hurt us.

    That makes the next step slightly easier - release the bitterness.   The grudges inside are an emotional cancer that poison so much of your
life.  Ask God to heal you of the bitterness that costs you so much of His grace. (Hebrews 12:15)  Then, forgive the hurters - as Colossians 3:13
says, "Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  And then I hope you can rejoin the family of God where you belong and become part of the answer.  You know what's hurting people in the Church - use that knowledge and experience to help model how it's supposed to be.

    Hard steps ... important steps ... steps to healing.  Jesus heals burn victims - and replaces their mourning with gladness, their ashes with
beauty, their despair with praise.  Let Him work that healing miracle in you.

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