I spent some time this morning talking with a friend who had just left a Bible study at church where she experienced ugliness coming from another woman. I'm not referencing anything physical -- I'm talking about heart ugliness. This other woman continuously cut my friend off during the discussion then when it came to prayer time refused to hear my friend's request because it "didn't follow protocol." My friend was in tears and will most likely never return to the study due to this other woman's actions.
My heart is breaking over this on so many different levels. My friend is a strong Christian woman who's had a challenging life of divorce, unemployment, single parenthood, cancer treatment... just attending this study was a big step for her because she was self conscious about recent surgery scars and just how different she is from many of the other women. She's been hurt emotionally and spiritually by this experience.
My heart is sad for the other woman, too: She, a professing Christian, is acting in such an unChristian manner. What's the reason? What truth is she missing? How is she hurting, and in the process how many others is she hurting? Does she even know her actions are downright ugly?
And, for the Church. Not just our own little local church, but the global network of Christians who are called to be the body of Christ until He returns. If believers can hurt other believers so dramatically, what are we doing for the poor, the broken, the lost? Ugliness tarnishes our entire witness. Christ tells us to love each other... to wash each other's feet... to be unified. To act beautifully, not ugly. What does the world see when we act ugly?
This was just one little instance, one moment of one day where ugliness caught me full in the face. I know I'm naive... ugliness rests in so many hearts, waiting for a moment to leap out and cause destruction. I know I'm guilty of ugliness myself. But maybe, just maybe, today has opened my eyes enough to be on the lookout. Maybe by knowing the power of ugly, I can remember instead to run to Love. And maybe (hopefully) I can cause you to look out for ugly in your own homes and hearts and warn you: even a little ugly can have huge repercussions.