Healing Your Church Hurt by Stephen Mansfield
I received this book as a part of the Healing Your Church Hurt blog tour, and overall I am glad that I did. I have experienced church hurt just as the author has experienced it. Unfortunately, these hurts will not be isolated incidents that will never occur again. I think that Mansfield summed up the issue that increases the hurt and leads to a negative reaction – our expectations are unrealistic. In the church we know that people are sinners and they do sinful things. Yet, as Mansfield points out, we apparently forget that reality when it comes to professing Christians.
I think that there were a few occasions where the author overstated functions and definitions of the Greek language. Also, the examples that he provided of individuals who have experienced church hurt are from a wide array of denominations. This is not necessarily wrong, but as an evangelical Christian I would not have done so.
Mansfield did provide some very practical advice in how to deal with one’s church hurt. First, he pointed the spotlight at the individual offended. The problem is that most are so hurt because of unrealistic, or “bloated” expectations. These unrealistic expectations which envision some form of utopia where all professing Christians never do anything to hurt or offend one another, usually result in bitterness and a small angry individual. The author instructs the offended party to examine himself and recognize his role in the issue by owning up to his unrealistic expectations. Then the individual must choose to forgive as he has been forgiven by God through Christ or experience the bondage of bitterness/unforgiveness.
I would recommend the book. I think that it does not present a self-help type of therapy, but rather, a biblical self-analysis, repentance, and forgiveness. I will be giving away a certificate for a free copy of the book to someone who comments providing a helpful biblical example of properly relying on God in all circumstances.
I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers as a part of the Healing Your Church Hurt blog tour.