Our new pastor is working to develop a composite of spiritual gifts within the congregation.
So, on Sunday, he handed out a short survey which we were to complete. If we answered honestly and appropriately, we should have been able to ascertain exactly where we fit into the the Church.
Now, this isn't a new thing for us - Jeff has taught classes on helping people work to discover their spiritual gifts and how to apply their passions to serving one another within the local church. We've taken so many of these over the years, that we could almost do them blindfolded. We know where we stand, we've worked to correct our weaknesses and strengthen our strongest points. (For the record, I'm destined to do bulletin boards for the rest of my life. Public speaking, in any way, shape or form - is out.)
I cruised down thru the checklist, most of them were easily answered - for me, at least.
One question under the heading of "Compassion" stumped me, though. It went something like this (but not exactly, because I'm not looking at the questionnaire:)
"I enjoy gently helping and guiding others as they move from woundedness to a place of health and healing."
I wanted to put a 10 on a scale of 1-10, because really, I do. I am thankful whenever God can use me to help someone through a rough place. Often, that is exactly what He asks me to do. He's equipped me for it through trials and tough times of my own. He's made me emotionally strong and has given me a tender heart. (It's all Him - like everything is - so I feel okay with saying this. Everything good in me is from Him. I'm responsible, alone, for the failures. And there are plenty.)
But I could only give myself a 6 on compassion.
And it's all due to one little word.
I've seen woundedness, and anger, and pain.
And healing from any of those things?
It's anything *but* gentle.
Whether you are the one in need of healing (emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological...) or the one walking alongside....
Healing - and the full process - is brutal.
Healing means you've got to stir up pain. It means you've got to scrape off the dead stuff. It means you've got to try to walk on limbs that have been cut open and cleaned out. Sometimes healing means jump-starting a heart that thought it had stopped beating, stopped feeling - long ago. Sometimes healing means confrontation. Sometimes, it means honesty.
It may not be gentle, but health is always worth it, and walking the path with a friend is much better than walking it alone.