There is nothing that thrills me any more than seeing people that have been broken and hurt become healed by the hand of God. It’s incredible to watch them transform from having their heads down to seeing them lift it with a renewed joy. I’ve seen them walk in the church discouraged, with no direction whatsoever; then, after a while, through the power of God and the love of God’s people, a transformation begins to take place. Seeing that happen is one of the greatest joys I get to experience as a pastor. That’s marvelous healing and restoration.

As much as that excites me; when I hear a few of their stories of how they got in that condition, it upsets me. You see, many of them have been hurt by other people. Sometimes it’s a church member, then, amazingly enough, a pastor or minister has caused it. Brothers and sisters, I don’t understand this. No matter what a person does or how disappointing they’re actions might be, no one should ever be ok with willfully causing someone hurt. Even if someone makes a mistake, nowhere in the Bible does it give anyone a right to hurt someone intentionally. That is not the Spirit of God.

As pastors, there are times the Bible tells us we have to reprove and rebuke, but there is a difference between that and hurting someone. Something is wrong when a pastor or a church member can justify such actions. If somebody messes up, deal with it and move on. Their failure shouldn’t be the talk of church members at the next gathering. I know people that suffer from real problems, but they can’t get healed from the main problem because now they’re suffering from people that have added hurt to the original issue. If you can’t speak words of healing, the best thing you can do is keep quiet; and that’s putting it nicely.

Healing follows kindness. We can’t restore what we’re not willing to forgive. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” There isn’t one of us that is perfect. That includes all of us pastors. It’s a sad day when mercy is missing from our message and actions. It’s taking me several years and a lot of criticism, but I am so glad to be the pastor of a church that loves everyone and shows mercy to all. From our stage to the parking lot are a group of mess-ups, misfits, and imperfect people. But I can promise you this; they can recognize someone broken and hurting when they walk through our doors. You know why? Because they remember when it was them.

Do you want to be like Jesus? Go looking for the one lost sheep that needs to come home. Promote healing, not hurt. Be a restorer, not a divider. Remember, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples; IF YOU HAVE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER.”


Many are carrying the weight of a past mistake. Holding on to something they can’t seem to get over. If you are one of those that are in that kind of struggle, I would like to encourage you today. There is nothing you can do that God’s Grace cannot cover. He’s not even looking at your past; He’s focused on your future. God will never remind you of your mess-ups. You are wasting your time obsessing about a failure that God doesn’t remember.

You might say, but you don’t know what I’ve done. Let me tell you something that the enemy doesn’t want you to know. No matter what you’ve done; it won’t stop God from what He wants to do.


(Part II)

Yesterday I wrote about a root of bitterness, and how it will not only affect the person with bitterness, but it will potentially affect the people they influence. The scripture I used to base this on is Hebrews 12:15

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

Notice that in the same verse where bitterness is written about, he also mentions the grace of God. I believe this is intentional because of the danger in bitterness and the power of God’s grace. We know that bitterness stems from a severe offense that causes someone a lot of pain and sometimes suffering, especially emotionally. We need not pretend that it is easily defended. If someone has hurt you on purpose, I can promise you, becoming bitter is a natural reaction. Not only that, but when tough times become a pattern in your life, and you don’t have answers to the questions; it’s very easy to get bitter.

The reason I love the fact that God’s grace is mentioned in the same verse where we find a root of bitterness is because I know what grace means. I could write several pages on the grace of God but let me just explain it like this. Yes, it is the unmerited favor of God, but to truly understand, even more, you have to look at all the places where it is mentioned. One particular instance is in 2 Corinthians chapter twelve when Paul asks the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh. Listen to how He responds to Paul’s request.

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

No one really knows what Paul’s thorn in his flesh was, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Whatever it was, he couldn’t deal with it any longer, and he needed help. Paul had gone as far as he could go, then God stepped in. When the Lord said, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU” He was letting him know, my grace will finish where you’re falling short. Just when the thorn was about to get the best of Paul, God’s grace took over and gave him victory.

I know the grace of God saves us, but it also keeps us. It not only saved us from our sinful past, but it also keeps us from things in the present that is too much for us to handle. Yes, things like bitterness that we cannot conquer within ourselves. The battle of bitterness can only be won through the grace of God. You have to be like Paul and do everything you can, but when you’ve reached your limit, let grace finish what you can’t.

You may feel like you’re losing a battle with bitterness, and the truth is, you probably are. But know this, when you’ve done everything you can, and you’ve fought until you’re out a strength, the battle isn’t over, it’s just time for grace to step in and make up the difference. It’s just like our salvation. No matter how many good deeds we perform, we could never attain righteousness on our own, but only God’s grace can save us. You’ll come short in every battle, and your suppose to, so you’ll always know you need His grace to take over in your weakness.

For those of you who are struggling with bitterness, let me encourage you to do everything you can, then give the rest to grace.