He sent out his word and healed them (Psalm 107:20 ESV).
Friend to Friend
My earliest memories of being taught from the Bible include Ruth Gosting. Her flannel board stories were the building blocks of my young faith. Ruth was the director of the children’s ministry at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in the late seventies. On Sunday mornings my friends and I played games, sang the books of the Bible, and listened to Ruth’s Bible stories. She had an animated, high-pitched voice that was full of inflection and wonder. Her eyes were always wide open, as if she were perpetually surprised. Every time she saw me, she exclaimed, “Oh, Wendy, I’m so glad you’re here!” And she was. And so was I.
I loved church because I was loved at church, and the people who loved me well loved their Bibles too. I wonder if that has anything to do with the tender affection I had for my own Bible as a young girl. I’ve heard it said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. My heart was wide open to receive Ruth’s words because her arms were wide open to receive me, Sunday after Sunday.
Were you loved well by the Bible-believing people in your life? Did you go to church and experience a sincere love there? Or did legalistic leaders at church and a fear-based religion at home negatively impact your view of God and His Word? I’ve heard many people say that they simply never felt welcome, whether in the children’s ministry or in “big church,” so they stopped showing up and stopped opening their Bibles up too.
If you had a negative experience with those who claimed to love God but didn’t love you, I’m sorry. Perhaps, as a result, you have “Church Wounds.” Unfortunately, in the hands of humanity, God’s Word has sometimes been used as a club to beat people rather than a balm to bring them healing. Today, I want to invite you to let the Word, which may have undone your heart in the hands of others, be the instrument God uses to bind it up again.
God’s desire has always been to bind up and heal broken hearts (Psalm 147:3). He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). As a matter of fact, when Jesus stood up in the synagogue and read from the scroll of Isaiah, He took this job description as His own when He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me . . . He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18 NKJV).
Many within our churches and around the world have broken hearts, broken relationships with others, and a broken relationship with God. Men and women are held captive by age-old wounds. Today, let’s invite God to do His job—to bring healing to our lives.
Some heart wounds are deep, hard to perceive, and much more difficult to heal than physical abrasions. Cuts to the heart require the tenderness of a God who knows our frailties and cares about our humanity. Jesus, who is fully God, was also fully man, and He can identify with us in our afflictions. He understands our pain because He, too, was physically and emotionally battered and bruised.
[Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).
Jesus’s wounds have the power to heal our wounds. His Word was sent to heal us too — not hurt us. If your parents, peers, or pastors wounded you over the years, bring those deep cuts to Jesus. Ask His Holy Spirit to lead you to health and wholeness as you open up His Word.
Jesus, thank You for preaching this good news to my heart today. You came to heal me — I believe that’s true. Use Your Word to bind up my broken heart today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Were you loved well by the Bible-believing people in your life? Did you go to church and experience a sincere love there? Or did legalistic leaders at church and a fear-based religion at home negatively impact your view of God and His Word?
More from the Girlfriends
Wendy Speake is author of The 40-Day Feast: Taste and See The Goodness of God’s Word. Written in 40 easy to consume daily devotions, this book will whet your appetite for more of your Bible and more of God!
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© 2023 by Wendy Speake. All rights reserved.
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This writing will resonate with those of us, that have raise with “fear-based religion at home”.
Your words will be healing for others,too.
Unfortunately, the words of the Bible have been used out of context to instill fear, often quoting scripture to place God, the Father as a fearful, negative picture of discipline in young children’s lives. I’m now, just realizing how much doubt has been instilled in my belief of God’s characteristics. Now at my age, I’m working on that correction. God doesn’t deserve the traits of my flawed earthly Father! HE is the Father of love, kindness and forgiveness.
Thank you, Wendy. I’m sure your words will be healing for someone else, today.
Thank you for your insightful message today. I can guarantee that there are many, many people who endured the kind of childhood you described. I know I did. I did not have a father growing up but my mom tried very hard to obey the “laws” and traditions of our church even though they often shunned her because she was divorced. I went to parochial school at the church and my teachers were anything but the kind, loving souls you mentioned (except Sister Susan). Gratefully, after I left the church in college, I found a godly man who would later become my husband. We found a great church together and have raised two kids in a loving church. I was blessed to have been able to find my way back to God but I know many people who have not. They have experienced negative things from the church and “don’t want any part of it”. You have given me new hope to be able to minister to them to show them how loving and caring our God is. Thank you!
I had a female boss that I volunteered to work for at my last job, in addition to the every day work that I had to do. The reason was because she was a believer and I looked up to her. She treated me poorly and was highly critical of me, although I thought of her as my mentor. I never told her how much I respected her and looked up to her, because it didn’t seem like she reciprocated my desire to be mentored. Our boss and employee relationship ended abruptly because I felt so upset by her daily treatment of me, that I told her that I refused to continue working with her unless we could have an open discussion with a third party present. She refused, and I have not seen her since. I am really sad when I think about the situation, and I wish for healing. The truth is, that I feel she would not accept my apology even if I were to go to her, as she is someone with a bit of an ego. I think it would only hurt me more. But I want to forgive her and move on.