By Wilson Adams

Is the church a people-place offering help and hope for the wounded or a people-place of more wounded-ness and heaped-on shame?

It’s not about ignoring sinful behavior or declaring the “whole counsel of God.” We’re on the same Spirit page there. It’s about a single statement uttered by an older saint: “I’d like to come away one time and hear that maybe I’m doing something right!”

Hell is real. I believe that. Hope is real. I believe that, too. It’s easy to give people hell and fail to give people hope.

Our approach to inspired Scripture must be balanced. Reprove and rebuke? Yes. There’s a time for that, but not all the time. Pews are filled with hurting people (not always due to sin) who need hope to journey on through the shadows of their valley. They need hope that they are loved, hope they have worth, hope they are going to make it, and hope that God’s strength is theirs to claim.

We must get down into the trenches with people. Encouragement is the core of edification and love is the core of encouragement. Do people know we care? Simple question.

There is a balm in Gilead.
There is hope in the cross.
There is life-giving [amazing] grace.
There is forgiving power in the blood.
There is hope-filled water to refresh your soul.

“Rest of the weary, joy of the sad…” Hope. We must give hope to the hurting. Hope that says… He cares (and so do we).

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