Have you ever experienced a "Sheep Bite"? Do you know what one is? Well I guess I better first explain what one is before I elaborate on it. A "Sheep Bite" is when a fellow Christian or member of your church does something to you that hurts you so bad you wonder if you will ever heal. The severity of a "Sheep Bite" has in some cases driven people out of the church. It could be a physical attack, a verbal assault or even direct rumors to maline your character or undermine you as an individual who is a member of the body of Christ.
If you have never been bitten, consider yourself lucky even though I don't believe much in luck. However, if you have ever been bitten, you surely know it. Even after you have forgiven the offense from the source; who often feels they have done nothing wrong, you somehow do not forget it. The wound is to the bone and sometimes even digs deep into the bone. Now for anyone who thinks it is "not that serious", ask the person who has ever had their leg bitten by a shark only to look down and see the scar daily. The only difference with "sheep" is the scar is on the inside.
The funny part about being bitten, it's usually from those you least expect and even respect or admire. It could be that seasoned, holy ghost filled one who grew up in the church, runs the committees, the secretary who knows all the ins' and outs of the entire church system. Sometimes it's even an associate pastor, deacon, trustee, elder, etc. The results are the same. In their path is a wounded soul left behind wondering "what do I do now or where do I go?" Of course no one would believe such a "saintly" person would do such a thing even if you had the nerve to tell someone so you limp off to a corner licking your wounds. What is even worst, the one who bit you will walk around well respected with a smile as if they have done nothing and their secret remains hidden. But what about the victim?
What do you do? Where do you go? How do you get over it and still continue your Christian walk? The first thing you do is recognize the spirit that is operating in that person be it Paster, Priest, Bishop, Deacon, Secretary, Church Mother, whatever. If they are not lifting you up to encourage and edify they are operating in the spirit of the devil. If it steals and kills rather than builds up and restores it is sin. Call it for what it is without pretense and convict the spirit where it's at. Do not let it tare down what God has built up in you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made because His works are wonderful and perfect. If you are a creative spirit don't they them destroy your creativity with negativity. If you are honest, full of integrity walking upright, don't let them tare you down with lies, false allegations due to their own insecurities causing you to be less free or friendly so they feel better. You can not please everyone and you may at times please no one. Just know you owe your debt to Christ alone and it is He you are to please. For the "Sheep" that bit you, they are truly the wounded soul that needs healing. This is where you need to put all that pain and hurt in prayer for THEM. Yes, pray for them. The Lord said to pray for those who hurt, falsely accuse and dispitefuly use you. You don't have to smile in their face. That will only make you as phony as they are if your heart is not there. Yet, the love of Christ in you will cause you to reach a point where you can look at them again and not see the anger, pain, hurt, disgust and want to get even mind set. I know because I have been there, more than once. My kindness taken as weakness with a big bullseye in the middle of my stomach.
I have come home from "church" countless times crying so hard I had no more tears and each time gone back again acting like things were ok only to see the saint who bit me in the pit of my stomach smiling like the grinch that stole Christmas. How did I get over it? I didn't; at first. Though I tried. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed at home for God to help me get over it so I can forgive and love them with Christian love and not let that bitter feeling rise up in my stomach when I saw them. I prayed in church, I prayed at the alter on Sunday morning, I prayed in the church when it was empty and I was alone. Still I hurt and hated seeing their face and worst when they had the nerve to look me in the face as if nothing happened. But then on day while at home not even thinking about it. God speaks to me through music and the arts. This day a song I've listened to so many times before played but this time it broke something inside of me. It was as if the still small voice of God began to whisper to me. The Holy Spirit showed me, look them in the eye minister this to them face to face and the hurt will be gone. This song "I Need You To Survive", you can not look at and share without feeling something, without meaning it unless you are the devil himself. I knew as bad as that person was in my eyes they were not him. And so God gave the time and place for it to happen.
From that day on I didn't feel the anger and pain in the pit of my stomach I felt before, it went away. Yes, I remember. I remember every detail, every word and I think it's good to remember. People repeat mistakes when they forget the past and what they have come through. But it is the past. I still see that person, some things they continue to do are ugly and hurtful though not at me. I just see it as they still need help to grow as we all do and I pray for them to get better and myself to be more forgiving and understanding as I grow. This world is tough and not one of us needs to make it tougher. My best advice is please don't be a sheep biter. Lead the sheep by the still water and restore their soul. Life is too short with enough misery. Our churches should be safe havens that invite people in to stay not send wounded souls running out the doors for cover.
If you've been biten and still hurting, take it from one past wounded soul to another. God's love is greater than any pain you can every experience. Please don't let a misguided "Christian" push you away from the greatest love you'll ever have. There are many of us out here who were where you are right now. We've become more sensitive with bigger hearts who are here for you. I am one of them. If you reach out, I am here for you to pray for, encourage and lift you up. You are not alone.