Making the Church a Safe Place for Sorrow

Sometimes worship comes by way of weeping in the pew. When the broken enter the sanctuary of God on Sunday mornings, they do so, perhaps, with every fiber of their being tempting them to withdrawal. They drag their grief, depression, and sorrow behind them like a ball and chain, plodding along to their seats with the hope of going unnoticed in the crowd; that they manage to make it to church after peeling themselves out of bed is a grace manifested through gutsy volition.

So writes Christine Chappell in an excellent article posted at Servants of Grace.

For decades, I’ve been arguing that what the church needs is to view counseling as the one-another ministry of loving discipleship. We need to come alongside one another not merely to admonish toward fuller obedience, but also to comfort one another in times of deep sorrow and disillusionment. Perhaps nothing is more painful than walking through dark valleys alone, while others minimize the impact of pain and suffering upon our souls either actively, by repeatedly admonishing us to “buck up,” or through passive silence. What the church needs is to be the church!

The author of this article affirms the same:

When the Apostle Paul teaches we’re to bear one another’s burdens, he encourages us to focus especially on those in the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Unfortunately, the church reveals its impatience for the weak and weeping by outsourcing the soul care of its sheep to secular sources. In doing so, believers are given the impression that the Scriptures are not capable of walking them through seasons of excessive sorrow. Like spiritual lepers, they’re cast outside the house of God to find their convalescence and healing. As Dr. Dale Johnson, the Executive Director for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, rightly observes: “The church has demonstrated we ought to be a last resort to many human problems.”

Read the full article at Servants of Grace.

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