When Anne Graham Lotz writes or speaks, people pay attention. I saw her speak at the Christian Writer’s Guild, Writing For The Soul, and could feel the power of her words. In Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts, Anne is no less authentic or powerful in reaching straight through the hard shell of cynicism to the broken heart beneath.
Beth Moore even wrote a Foreword where she starts, “In an era when most communicators spare no opinion and share every impulsive thought, Anne Graham Lotz measures her speech and thinks before she writes.” Many other writers and broadcasters endorsed this book. I endorse this book. It came offered to me through a blogging program when my heart began to break over the wounds by God’s people.
Anne takes us through the Bible, specifically on Hagar from the book of Genesis. In relaying the truth of God’s love to us wounded, Anne relays the stories from Hagar’s point of view, how God’s people wounded her, and how she became the wounder. The various chapters take us further into Hagar’s journey and into the stories behind Anne’s heartbreaks both in ministry and in family. What I liked about Wounded, is how Anne is careful about what words she prints. Mostly, I also liked how she puts the wounded and the wounder on level ground.
Chapter six is on spiritual blindness. I kept thinking throughout the week about her analogy with macular degeneration with spiritual blindness. It made me hyper aware of my motivations and actions. I also loved her quote:
“Sarah was a woman in pain whose woundedness led her to wound others.”
I have known people who have left their church because of wounds from church people. Some, after listening to their story, had their own spiritual blindness, like unrealistic expectations, pride, or selfishness, and in turn, their love grew cold and their patience short. They went from being wounded to becoming a wounder. Unfortunately, I wandered into their line of fire and became wounded by them. Others left church because of various, legitimate reasons, and went into what Anne Graham Lotz called, “self-imposed exile.” She shares stories of those in exile.
For anyone hurt by Christians and church, this book is a great one to snuggle up in your favorite afghan in the quiet of your livingroom and rest at Jesus’ feet. While you are reading her mix of stories and scripture, please pray for Jesus to heal your wound. It’s not easy being wounded, but when you become the wounder, it can have collateral damage. People like me or the person sitting next to you in church could accidentally press that sore wound and set you off when we mean only to love you. In fact, I read another book by a Woman of Faith author who said exactly what Wounded was saying. If someone is responding to you in an unexpected way, remember that its not you, but something they are responding to from the past.
We’re all wounded, but it is not God who wounds. His people (me and you) are imperfect reflections of His love and grace. We do the best we can, but sometimes we mess up. In messing up, there is collateral damage. Remember what Wounded says on page 47:
“With each hurtful experience, I was confronted with a choice: Would I reject Him because I was rejected by them? Rather than rehash the decision every time I was rejected, I decided years ago that once and for all I was COMMITTED to live my life for God, REGARDLESS of the way He was represented by others.” (emphasis mine)
*Book given by publisher to review. Buy book here: Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts