The Church as a Refuge: Healing or Harm?

Jeremiah 8:22
Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no comfort at church? Is there no hope or healing at the house of God? Be it far from us that it would ever be said that more leave wounded from our fellowship than were ever healed, that they leave more abused than they came, or that they suffered many things of many people, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse! Church supposed to be a spiritual hospital, but all too many are the sad stories of those who have at last given up on themselves because of the way they were slaughtered with careless slander at such places we like to call church.

It is the self-righteousness in us which, if not crucified, will both permit and applaud our verbal exploitations of other’s sins and weaknesses. After all, in order for religious people to feel better about themselves, they must first find someone else whom they perceive to be worse off than they are! Then, all they must do is make them look bad by blabbing all their business, not knowing that they themselves have become the fool! So what really happens then is we have this big “Better-than-thou Pageant”, comparing ourselves one with another, rather than comparing ourselves with Jesus! And we call this church? We say we’re winning sinners, when in fact we are only pushing them further from the Grace of God! God help us!

Galatians 5:15 says, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” If your religious system really works, then I ask what our text asks, “…why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” I’m afraid that what many have been referring to as “balm” should really be called “bashing”. After all, “A good scolding will do ‘em some good!” Oh really? Where’s the balm in that? Is it just me, or do we need Jesus back in our churches? The truth is, Jesus does not reject sinners as man-made religion does; Jesus grants them space to repent! Don’t be guilty of stopping the sinner before he gets to the cross!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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