I received a free copy of the book “Spiritual Influence” by Mel Lawrenz to evaluate. So far I have really enjoyed it. Below are some of the excerpts from one of the chapters called “Expect Wounds”.
It is a sign of a perverse and treacherous disposition to wound the good name of another, when he has no opportunity of defending himself. ~ John Calvin
- The wounds of fellow believers are powerful.
- Sometimes we shoot our wounded. God does not shoot the wounded.
- Live long enough and you will experience wounds.
- Most of us have been wounded, and most of us have wounded someone else.
- In our most primitive instincts, it feels good when we are angry or upset to send a sharp-edged email, tweet, or blog post. We say things we would never say if we were face-to-face with the person we are talking about or talking to.
- Leaders wound fellow leaders. Thousands of leaders quit because they are wounded by their fellow leaders, and still we don’t talk about it.
- We live in a disposable age. We don’t want to bother to repair. When we simply dispose of people, or take wounds and make them deeper, we betray our call to be agents of healing, reconciliation, and restoration.
- A leader makes a mistake, and others doubt the person’s overall competency.
- It becomes obvious that a leader has a blind spot or lack of awareness, and instead of coming around to him or her to teach, correct, and mentor, people don’t bother to take the time.
- Paul experienced many difficult trials. He was however more deeply wounded by fellow believers.
- Paul’s relationship with the church at Corinth was tough, full of wounds from start to finish.
- Paul felt the bite of the criticism of the Corinthian church – that he was not an eloquent speaker, that he was not one of the “super-apostles”.
- Paul actually admits that he felt afraid to spend time with them because of the surging currents of disapproval there.
- Paul admits that he is afraid to come before critical brothers and sisters. “For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.” (2 Corinthians 12:20-21 ESV)
- At the end of the letter, Paul assumes the best, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV)
- Surviving is possible by holding on to God.
- We don’t have enough grace, enough love, and we will not have the desire to close ranks in fellowship, without God.
If we were honest with God, what would we say about all this?
Lord God, I think we all mean well, but we have made such a mess of things. When life is quiet I look around and I wonder why we make things more complicated than they need to be, why we are so careless, why we don’t see the well-being of people around us as the one thing that really matters to you.
We have not been working together. We have not respected each other. We are guilty of comparing, of posturing, and of dismissing each other. I am tired of wasting my energy in these ways. I am ashamed of how I’ve hurt others; and I’m bleeding from how I’ve been hurt.
Help me to have the courage to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness from those I have wronged. Help me to forebear the small things that irritate me. Give me a broader and higher vision of what you want to accomplish through your people.
Take away my jealousy and replace it with respect.
Take away my bitterness and grant me your peace.
Take my wounds and heal them.
Take my carelessness and replace it with gentleness.
Lord, your Word says that our struggle is not against people, but against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces that want to destroy. Help me to take that seriously. Help me to believe it. And help me–and all the people I have the privilege to serve with–to see evil as the real enemy of humanity. Lord, flow in your truth and your grace, and flow it out of me. Amen.