Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Issue May Be with the Church, but it is also an Issue with You: A Book Review of Healing Your Church Hurt

            Back in December Tyndale Publishers announced another blog tour.  This time there were two books available The Resignation of Eve and Healing Your Church Hurt.  I would be lying to say both of these titles caught me a little off guard, and I again chose to participate in the blog tour because I again thought I was going to see yet another attack against the Church.  I have not received The Resignation of Eve but I did receive Healing Your Church Hurt. 

            Healing Your Church Hurt is written by Stephen Mansfield with a forward from George Barna.  The forward by George Barna starts off with Barna bringing up a few occasions when he experienced church hurt from various congregations and leaders of churches he attended.  Getting through the forward was kind of challenging because it seemed to be a slight against the body of Christ.  However, it was this premise which Mr. Mansfield was addressing in this book, how we are to heal from church hurt.

            As I began to read this book I went in with the assumption of this being an attack on the body of Christ.  I was sure that this book would stir up passions of insult and injustice on the fellowship of believers.  However, as the old adage goes “never judge a book by its cover.”  Within the first chapter my assumptions were not just addressed, but quite frankly, blown right out of the water.  So now I will share with you all some of what I got out of this book and what I think you can get out of it as well.

            In Chapter One, “The Image of Our Folly”, Stephen addresses three important truths to the reader that are necessary if one is to benefit from reading this book.  His three truths are; first, he is a coach not a counselor; second, he mentions how one cannot become free of Church hurt unless someone gets tough with them, and then finally he addresses what was my initial concern.  I will use Mr. Mansfield’s own words to explain this point. 
        Finally there is a myth we need to knock in the head…When we’ve been hurt by the church we often tell ourselves that we are going to keep on loving Jesus but that we no longer want anything to do with his people.  We say this to ease our pain but we are fools when we do. (Mansfield 2012)
This is a major point that often is not addressed as well as it should be.  How often do people say that they still love Jesus, and can worship Him privately and will not attend a public gathering of believers in Christ?  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (English Standard Version 2001)

            People who have been hurt by others, have a natural tendency to hold on to this hurt, and to become victims of the circumstances that have befallen them.  People will then generally respond to this sense of victimhood in one of two ways.  They will both retreat into their shell, and remove themselves from regular interaction with people.  The second possible response is for the hurt individual to become confrontational, and tell everyone how poorly they were treated, or what wrongs were committed against them.  Mansfield takes the time in this book to show how people do not have to retreat into either of these two spectrums of response, but how to take their hurt, and learn from it.
            Another common situation that Mansfield addresses is the tendency of people to feel as if they are all alone, or no one can understand how they feel.  Mansfield dedicates the second chapter of Healing Your Church Hurt to an introduction of several men throughout history who experienced their own hurts at the hands of those who were their friends.  These notable people in history are Abraham Lincoln, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Vincent Van Gogh, and others.  The main focus of “The Sea Breeze of the Centuries” is the fact that regardless of how we feel, we are not in our hurt alone. 

            Of course there is so much more I could say about this book.  What I will say is I went from a skeptic to a believer on the points that Stephen Mansfield makes in this book.  What I was originally thinking I would rate as a 1 out of 5 stars I now gladly give 5.  If you have been hurt by the Church, and I do know some who have been, I think you may find some of the answers you are looking for in Stephen Mansfield’s Healing Your Church Hurt.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the write up. I have met a few people that have gotten mad at the church because of the actions of 1 or 2 people. The fact is that we are all human and not perfect, so there is bound to be someone that you do not agree with at times. The question is if you are getting the word of God taught and fellowship from at least some of the church body. If these are not true then a new church is in order.

    Craig Townsend