by Pam Clark

    It wasn't that long ago that someone I admired greatly hurt me very deeply. Surprised at the reactions I did not expect, it at first sent me to tears. Then I tried to deal with it only to find an impasse. It was not the first time I had found that people who I looked up to would disappoint me and the problems seemed to not be able to go away.

    In fact, much of that is why I am in the ministry as I am today -- I saw a need, had a need and could help the needs that related to this. No one member in the Body of Christ has the full vision. When one is impressive, you might think that they see more than they see, and it can be a disappointment to see their humanity. When one is involved in the bigger picture and you look up to them, you think they know the whole plan but it's not necessarily so! They have just successfully fulfilled their tasks.

    I took my part to the Lord for repentance help and in not getting clear direction, I labored to find the answer. Finally, the Lord told me, "Pam, it's not you! The problem is not you!!!" Knowing the Spirit of Peace that proceeded from that Voice, I accepted it with many questions. And the more I pondered, leaving my part out of it, the picture became clear!

    But before I got to that point, after being so greatly disappointed and hurt, I got angry. I and my friends had been falsely accused and labeled "the enemy." This seems to be commonplace in the church, sad to say - this lack of discernment and negative, unredemptive labeling.

    So being quite offended, for not just me, but also for the others, I got angry and bitter. I was so upset that I could not even go to church because I was feeling way too sensitive. And then when I tried to watch Christian television I felt like everything I was hearing was a big joke! I found myself hating Christian preachers and I was one!!! I was not impressed by God anymore, so something is ~seriously~ wrong here!!!

    Not able to live like that for any length of time, I cried out in my spirit, "HELP!!!! What has gotten in the way of Your Love, Lord?" It was an agonizing experience but the Lord quickly and graciously ministered to me. He showed me that my anger at one person was a leaven that was spoiling the whole good lump. When He pointed it out, I felt immediate relief from feeling overwhelmed by it all.

    He showed me to isolate the problem and then deal with THAT. So I did. I gathered my strength and addressed the issue, in this case, a person and said, "I am angry with you. You hurt me." And did my best to explain it, although I am not sure how far I got with that. But I definitely felt the relief of the Lord because I did go to the one who offended me and knew the answer was in His Hands.

    Did the circumstances change for the better? Not at this point with the visible eye. But my spirit was soothed and ready to receive again the rich, wonderful, healing, maturing ministry of the Lord. Whew!!!! "Thank You, Lord!!! Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me!!!"

    In finding that relief, I also saw the answers to the things that had so puzzled me and I realized that the Lord was right! I was not to blame for the problems and the hurts of the other person that had been projected onto me. I also felt powerless to do anything about them, but through the ministry of the Lord was able to offer forgiveness from His strength.

    I think that often Christians get snared by leaders and people that they look up to. These people represent the high ideals of Christ in human form and they are our examples of how to "get there." But often much of what you think they have you find was grace for them, too! You can't be them, you can't be like them and maybe you can't even fit in with them, even though you would like to. But that does not negate what God wants to do in you!

    My friend on the pedastal was only human. And that friend had to come off of the pedastal for Christ to be formed in me. Oh, I still admire the person greatly, but see that what I thought was so great was not by works, but by grace. We can miss it sometimes when we get it figured out. We work and scurry around like busy bees trying to make it happen!

    And when our good ideas turn out to not be God ideas it can be very disappointing. But that does not stop the plan of God nor give others the place to rule our lives, especially if what they present is a negative image. That is not Him!

    With God's help, I put the picture together and got it in perspective. It wasn't the way I thought or wanted or had believed should be, but it was real. And I could live in peace with it and that was the bottom line.

    The details, and the love even, God has to work out. It's my idea of love that has to change and much of that is to have forgiveness for the weaknesses of others. I want all these Rambo Christians, you know, to look up to, so I can be just like them, but what I find instead is a weak Jesus being skewered on a Cross, willing to forgive the sinners on either side of Him.

    When the pain is His and not mine, then I can bear it. Do I want to be forgiven? Of course! The Lord was faithful to show me, at least, that my heart meant well and that my discernment was intact, if I would just use it. People are weak and even I disappoint others. But I had to root out the bitterness in me or defile everything I had stood for and worked to have in my faith. And that was the greater gift and importance.

    The answer and the way didn't produce instant results but it did set the stage for the pro-active ministry of the Lord. My job is to keep the defilement out and pray for those who persecute me. They don't even know that they are doing it, and if they do, God will deal with them. Until the rough edges do come off of all of us, we can't fit into the beautiful mosaic of the Lord and be His beautiful picture. But He will win for the best in us as we yeild it to Him.

    I hurt for the problem but in giving it to the Lord, and understanding it, I don't take on any false burdens. They will only cloud your thinking. Instead, by trial and error, trusting in the wisdom that does not condemn, I go on to be a blessing as I can and receive. In the due process of time in the light of eternity, it will all be worked out. Can I love in weakness, or only in strength? That is the question before me.

    God bless you in your journey.

    Pam Clark