That hurts

By Helen Guilford

Another Tuesday morning when I didn’t have any idea what to write about. Then, God … But I don’t want to write that. God answered, “Write it!” So here goes.

This individual has been in my life in the church ever since I moved back to Ohio. She studies the Bible religiously! Sometimes she was selected to teach the adult Sunday School class. Though we knew of her time spent in studying, the lesson simply did not come through. So these past many years, she has not been our “teacher”.

Now, the flip side of this coin. I’m the other party of this story.

I considered becoming a local pastor – one who could perform all the rites of the pastorate without seminary attendance. I pursued that track until I was offered, and refused, a pastorate in southern Ohio. I was just getting settled in my church, family and community and didn’t believe this was the right choice at the time. That decision sealed my fate as a local pastor. My name was completely blocked and I never heard from them again.

I did, however, go on to be a preacher who could be called on to fill the pulpit when a pastor would be absent. In that capacity, I preached in many different churches including my own.

From the first time she heard me preach, the person mentioned above decided, though I brought forth a message, she would not call it a message or a sermon. She very deliberately called my work a talk or something similar sometimes emphasizing her thoughts by saying, “It wasn’t a sermon, but …”

It shouldn’t have made a difference, I know, but that sort of slight hurt. I had sought God’s leadership in each message and believed I had brought what He asked of me. This cutting type of remark continued over the years. Each time, I was hurt all over again. I dealt with it by not making myself available for a hug or any other touch from her – ever!

At a recent carry-in meal, I had chosen a table with friends and was getting comfortable when she took one of the other seats at the same table.

She eye-balled me across the table and said, “Don’t look so sad!” Again, that hurt. Rather then retorting with the first thing that came to mind, I decided to handle the situation by leaving. Taking Bebe, I headed for the stairway but people were still coming down. I waited. Then the lines opened to serve oneself and I stayed for dinner – yes, in the same seat I had vacated.

She may have caught on because she was not her usual motormouth self. I ate with other friends at the same table and came home.

The problem has not been dealt with, I know. I also know my response is not Christ-like. It is sin and I know the remedy for sin – the blood of Jesus Christ. He only asks that I bring it to Him. He will forgive and even forget. I thought I had forgiven. But I have left the forgetting part for Christ.

I told you I didn’t want to write this and now you know why. Fortunately, however, in the words of a child, “God’s still workin’ on me!”

By Helen Guilford