by Valerie Richardson, published by Healed Publishing, 2012
“…God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”—from Wounded.
Wounded is both an ebook available for the Kindle, as well as a paperback book available from Amazon.com. Many have been hurt by the actions and words of the people in their lives. Sometimes it is a family member, a classmate, or a teacher. Practically everyone has a story to tell about how someone has hurt them. Some have been hurt more severely than others. Some hurts can last a lifetime, if we aren’t careful.
The church should be a place of safety, a refuge from the suffering that our lives otherwise experience. Unfortunately, and sadly, sometimes the church—that is, the people who make up a congregation—can cause real pain, real harm—contrary to what the teachings of Jesus and the proper role of God’s people should be.
Valerie Richardson shares her own story of being seriously wounded when she was twelve and the effect that had on her life. She also shares the stories of others who have suffered injury at the hands of people in the church, both from pastors, from the congregation as a whole, and from individuals in the congregation.
What’s so great about the book is that the author gives good guidance on how to achieve healing from the wounds we’ve suffered at the hand of those who should love us, whom we’ve put our trust in. She stresses the importance of forgiveness, not just because it’s “the right thing to do” but also because of the benefits it will have for us. It is when we forgive those who’ve wronged us, that our healing can happen. She shares her own struggles in this regard and the benefits that have accrued for her over time.
Richardson offers no quick fix. She points out that the process of healing can take a long time.
While conflict within a church is inevitable, given that it’s made up of human beings, she explains the importance of doing everything in love, of approaching problems and issues directly with the individual that has caused the perceived problem, and how vital it is not to get caught up in gossip or talking down others, even if they have caused us pain. She also stresses the importance of doing all things with a loving and humble heart, and to recognize that in any conflict, no matter how right we may think we are, we must be willing and able to apologize and ask for forgiveness. No one is faultless in a conflict. Mistakes are inevitable on all sides, simply because of our imperfect, sinful human nature. Restoring relationships must take priority.
Richardson writes, regarding her own hurt:
“Blaming God because life is difficult or unfair is a waste of time. Could God have intervened and helped in my situation? Absolutely. But he didn’t for a reason. When I look back at the situation when I was 12 I can see so many areas God could of intervened. Things may have been different for me. I may have made different choices in my life. I might have been a different person. But that’s the point. If God would have intervened I would have been a different person, not who I am now. God knew where I would end up. If He wanted something different my life would have been different. This is what he wants from me right here and now. It’s my job to bring glory to Him right where I am.”
Richardson’s book offers practical help and valuable perspective on the pain that all too often afflicts believers.
I recommend the book to any who have suffered wounds from people in the church. And I would recommend the book to those in positions of leadership in the church: pastors, assistant pastors, deacons, elders, music leaders, worship leaders, and teachers. It can serve as a useful reminder of how problems can arise in a congregation, and what can be done to keep the disagreements and hurts between members small and fixable, before they become large and destructive, damaging the church and even more people.
You can get a paper copy of Wounded from:
A version for the Nook is coming.
You can follow Valerie Richardson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vrrichardson
Or hook up with her on Facebook at Valerie Morgan Richardson