The Wounds of Silence From the Church
Nine years have passed since my wound of silence from the church. I thought the wound of silence had been dealt with – you know, by leaving the church. That’s how we often “deal” with a wound of silence. We leave. It hurts. We flee. It feels better because, “I told them!” Well, I didn’t tell them, but I left and now the wound can’t touch me, because I left. And the lie of the enemy creates a deep chasm in our spirits.
What is a wound of silence that can cause a person to lose their own voice?
This is my story. Yours will likely be different. But you may find by reading my wound of silence that you will be able to find your voice.
Nine years ago it was revealed to me that my husband, the father of our children, had molested them. When I found out, I called my church and begged them to have someone come to our house for the confrontation. I really begged, pleaded, “please! I can’t do this alone!” An assistant pastor was found who could be at our house for a short time. He was there when my husband confessed in part to what he had done.
Then …silence. I continued attending the church, shaking the pastor’s hand on the way out the door. It was an extremely dark time for me. It felt as if our family was thrown into a pit of despair. And all I got from the church was a handshake on the way out the door. This wounded me deeply. So, I stopped going. I could worship the Living God on the floor of my bedroom. I could hear Him through sermons on the radio. What was the point of “the church” if not to be a source of comfort to those hurting?
Are we just a place of music? Are we just a place of Bible readings? Or are we supposed to be more?
Last night I went to church. As I sat in the pew after the service was over, watching as all the people were hovering around, talking, laughing, praying, I felt invisible. I feel like this first realization of feeling invisible was the seed to a healing that was about to take place.
Today, as I walked into church, a man I don’t know, extended his hand and greeted me. It was this kind of greeting that made me feel truly welcomed. I pondered that handshake for a long time. What made his handshake better than the one by the pastor of the other church as I walked out the door?
I was sitting in my chair feeling invisible again when I asked God, “Why do I feel invisible in church? Why can’t the greeting from that man be enough for me to feel welcome?” And he took me back to that wound of silence. He showed me that I had allowed that wound to scab over. But not only that, I could still feel it and anytime I would start getting involved at church, I would pull back. The wounds of silence go deep. I had to take another step. I had to walk through it. I have to get outside of myself now. I have to stop thinking about how I’m feeling and what my needs are. It’s time for me to rise up — and BE the church to others.
There is no blame to be cast here. Although it would be easy for me to name the church and tell them how they could have done a better job. Forgiveness has taken place already. And now, this is the deal – it has to start with me.
I’ve often been in a place myself where I didn’t know what to say and saying, “I’ll pray for you” felt like it fell far too short. I too have failed to speak. Perhaps we’re so afraid of saying a platitude or the wrong thing, that we just keep silent. But in the silence the words of satan speak the loudest.
Church! You have a voice! Silence the enemy with your words! Words that say,
“We’re standing with you!”
“We believe in you!”
“We will do what needs to be done!”
And if you don’t have words – put your arm around their shoulder and speak the words, “I am here. Let’s go have lunch!”
My prayer going forth, “Lord, speak life into someone’s life, by using words from my mouth.” Speak Life! Silence the Enemy!