Last week I was out at a week long conference called The Journey. It is a program run by Open Hearts Ministry in Kalamazoo, Michigan and it is a counseling training/ group experience that started as help for those who have gone through abuse, and it has been opened up to all who want to understand more how their past influences their present with the hope for more free living in the future.
I must confess that I went into the week a bit suspicious . . . And I left the week enthusiastic about the program. One of the amazing aspects of the program is the way that they help people to come face to face with the darkness in our own behavior. They are not quick to give cliche and pat answers but instead are willing to leave a person to process the darkness in their own heart before quickly rescuing them.
That brought to mind something about the way that the church has processed the gospel that may not be very helpful. We have not done a very good job allowing people to recognize the darkness in their own hearts. We will look for the easiest remedy in proportion to the depth of our problem. If we think the problem in our heart is minor, then a bandaid will suffice.
But the depth of our contempt, the masks we use to cover our contempt, and the shame we all bear, point to significant brokenness inside! It was both painful and powerful to sit in a small community for a week and face my own shame, contempt, and brokenness.
I am not offering this as an advertisement for “The Journey” although I think anyone would gain from this experience. But I am offering it as an advertisement for honest appraisal of our own hearts, our own woundedness, and our own contempt toward others around us.
Sometimes a journey through the pit is exactly what we need to come to place of humility, honesty and the beginning of healing!