By Heather Frank
Have you been deeply wounded in a community setting? Whether it’s through the church, your small group or a years-long friendship has come to an end, there’s hope for healing.
I’ll never forget the brokenness that was transparent in my dear friend’s demeanor. She was always hesitant to come with me to church, denying me after my desperate pleas and would only spend time if it was just the two of us. In any group setting I could see how reserved she was, slow to fellowship and quick to jump ship. It wasn’t until later after one raw conversation we shared I learned how burned she had been by community in the church.
Broken People Can Break People
She wasn’t the only one who has been deeply wounded by others. I am no stranger to the damage broken people can cause, because I am etched of the same potential to hurt others as well. Aren’t we all? It doesn’t matter if the setting is in a workplace, the church or your child’s school; broken people break people.
A time or two I found myself not only in the position to take the brunt of someone else’s hurt but be the person to wound. I used to be pretty good at putting up walls to avoid deep relationships because it meant I wouldn’t have to be exposed. Staying guarded allowed me to stay hidden to avoid the possibility of being hurt again. Sometimes that resulted in wounding someone else.
The good news was this: I had a lot to offer my friend during our conversation about her experience, like an honest ear to hear and a shoulder to cry on. The best news was this: the answer that there’s hope for healing from inner soul-care provided by the One who created our very souls.
5 Ways to Heal from Wounded Relationships
We were made for community because the Trinity dwells in community. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit dwell together working as a perfect unit. As image-bearers of the Trinity, we cannot go through life alone because they do not dwell separately. Not only is healing possible, healing is necessary because community is necessary.
Here are five steps I’ve taken to heal from wounds, both inflicted and given:
- Seeking the perfect one. The only one who can truly heal my wounded heart is Jesus because he cannot and will not ever fail me. When I set intentional time to come to him through prayer, worship and studying scripture I allowed myself space to let the healing begin. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but Jesus is the only solution I’ve found to make any devastation bearable.
- Realizing no one else is perfect. I needed to realize that other than Jesus, no one else is perfect. The people that have wounded me as I have wounded them are nowhere near perfect, and that is more than enough reason to circle back to step number one. When I walked in the peace, grace and wisdom Jesus provided I gave space to allow him to do only what he can do and work out the healing process in my life.
- Forgiving and releasing. The enemy loves it when believers live in disunity because it breaks the body of Christ apart. Matthew 12:25 says, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (NIV) Even when I came to the conclusion that our walk together has ended this side of heaven, I needed to forgive what happened, release it over to him and move on with a peace of mind for the sake of unity in the Kingdom.
- Connecting to the ones with grit. Even when I was wounded in community, healing was still possible in community through Jesus. I needed those who were willing to walk the hard seasons with me. I wanted to develop soul-ties to the ones with grit who would point me back to the one who created my soul. Why? Because when the valleys show up, we will have the courage together to go through and come out, together.
- Going forward unafraid. Just because I have been wounded in community doesn’t mean the story of fellowship is over. I needed to trust Jesus that he would bring the right soul-ties into my circle. Even when we mess up we can trust him to guide us through shaky circumstances. I can trust my people won’t shy away because as I press into Jesus for direction, they are also seeking his wisdom and discernment. I should not fear because even when I am not perfect, I am also not alone.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
Where there is brokenness, there is always a remnant of something good. God will never leave you alone, left to pick up whatever is left by yourself. Do not be afraid to give him the broken pieces and carry over what’s mended to the next group of people he has led you to love.
Wife Step: You were made for community. Pray that God will mend your broken heart and give you courage to get vulnerable again with those who love the Lord.
Heather Frank is the wife to a small-town dreaming entrepreneur and mother of two. She is an advocate for mental health wellness and spreading the Gospel. Heather published her first book, “Gracefully Navigating Anxiety: Gospel Direction for a Peace-filled Mindset” shortly after laying down a successful photography business.
Heather is a published photographer, writer, and creative with a passion for women who feel broken and community that can be the hands and feet of Jesus.