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RELIGION: Who have you hurt lately?

July 7, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Have you ever felt like the Lord has backed away from you? You want to pray and fellowship with Him, but He seems far away? Why is that?

One common reason is disobedience. Whenever we disobey the Lord, our relationship with Him will grow cold. When our spirit is not in harmony with the Holy Spirit, fellowship suffers. Therefore, ask God to forgive you when you mess up, and ask humans to forgive you when you offend them.

Another reason is discouragement. We know God can fix our problems, give us what we want and make our life great. We want God to make things go our way. But God is not our servant. We do not give Him orders to fulfill. We are His servants, and we are to fulfill His requests. Here's a hint: when God doesn't fulfill your desires, give them to God and let Him take care of them.

Those are two of many reasons for feeling that the Lord has backed away from you. But I want to focus on another one, and it's a common problem: We've hurt someone.

When we take our eyes off Jesus, we start talking about, or gossiping, about others. And if we have not asked to be forgiven, we've hurt Jesus. We need to be careful about what we say about others and even what we think about them. Let me illustrate with a true story that I was told some years ago. I wrote the story as I heard it, and I'll copy it here.

"Sally was studying about the relationship of Jesus and the church at her Bible School. Her instructor, Dr. Smith, was known for the way he illustrated his lessons. One day, Sally became very excited about the upcoming lesson, because on the wall was a large, round target, with a lot of darts on the nearby table.

"Dr. Smith said, 'I want you to draw a picture of someone you don't like. It can be someone who has offended you, someone who made you angry, or someone who just irritates you in general. Then as time allows, you will be given a chance to throw darts at the picture.'

"The students immediately started drawing pictures. One of Sally's friends drew a picture of a girl who stole her boyfriend. Another student drew a picture of her father. Someone else drew a picture of his little brother. Someone else drew a picture of his pastor. And on it went. It seemed that everyone had someone they were mad at.

"Then, one by one, they pinned the picture of the victim on the target and went to war. Some of the students threw the darts so hard that the picture ripped. Some were very good shots and hit the picture right in the eye. They were having a fun time destroying their enemies.

"It was just about Sally's turn, when Dr. Smith said, 'We're almost out of class time; please take your seats.'

"Some students were saying things like, 'Did you see how I destroyed that guy?' And, 'I finally had a chance to get even with her!' But Sally was aggravated because she didn't have a chance to pierce the person she was mad at.

"But then they all watched Dr. Smith as he quietly removed the pictures and the large target from the wall. On the back of the target was a large picture of our Lord Jesus Christ. The face of our Lord was mangled and torn. Even His eyes were gouged.

"As the class looked at it in stunned silence, Dr. Smith simply quoted Matt. 25:40, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.'

"Tears began to fall from the students' faces as they realized what their words, thoughts and actions were doing to our Risen Savior. Their desks became their own altar as they bowed their heads and asked for forgiveness."

Friends, what are our thoughts, words and actions conveying to our families and to the community? Who have we thrown fiery darts at lately? But mainly, what are we doing to our Savior, Jesus Christ?

It's time for us, the Church, the Bride of Christ, to act like the Bride of Christ. It's time for us to honor our Lord Jesus Christ in all of our thoughts, words, and actions.

We start by asking who have we hurt lately.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of "Charter of the Christian Faith." Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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