I met with a man last week who was interested in what I am working on. He wanted to know if his wife could use it to minister to women. So my husband and I met with him.
Five minutes into the conversation, I walked away angry. I hid it well. Even my own husband did not know I was angry.
I paced the washroom with steam coming from my ears. It took a few minutes before I could rejoin them at the table.
One of the things I am working on is aimed at women - primarily women who are hurting.
This man sat down across the table from me and talked about how his wife has begun volunteering at a shelter for battered women. Good. Then he went on, "There are a lot of women helping there, but my wife is the only one there who can really do any good. You see, she is the only one there who is not damaged so can really minister to women. The other women who try to help are all abused themselves and are damaged, so I don't know how good they are - they won't be able to bring any real hope to these women because they are too messed up themselves." So, he went on, as if that was not bad enough, "I told my wife not to be ashamed to tell everyone that she has never been abused by her father, her brother or her husband, and eventually, all the women will come to you to see what you have because they will want it."
Steam rose from my ears, and I excused myself. It is not a culture where it is appropriate for me to bite off his head... but, I was tempted.
I eventually came back, but did not pick up the conversation again.
Ah, but that hurt. I was deeply hurt. To be called damaged again, once again.
And I was angry. Very, very angry. What is it with this requirement to be perfect to minister? So what good news do we really have then? "God can save you, but you will always be a second class citizen"? Not a "good person".
I still have steam rising from my head. I left angry. Hurt. Deeply, deeply angry. Deeply hurt. Feeling small, worthless, looked down on. Hurt. And very angry. As I drove home, I cried again to God... why? Why do people see us like this? Will I be forever "damaged". I looked up at Him and said, "here is Your damaged daughter crying to You again." And He answered and said, "And here is your scarred Savior answering." Then, then I took a deep breath, and cried.
But, as far as ministering.... I think being perfect should be a criteria for disqualification for ministry. In reality, we are all damaged. Sin damages - all of us. Some it damages in ways that men think are important, and other times it damages in ways that men think are unimportant, but we are all damaged by sin. I think the only one who is disqualified to minister is the one who has not yet seen his own damage. Hope is often best given by people who can say, "I know my God... He can..." better than the people who say, "I've heard my God can...." I don't think living and not being abused disqualifies you, only in not realizing that you are also damaged by sin. We are all damaged.