Nouwen gave us the lovely phrase, the “wounded healer.” Some have exploited this term–as all lovely things are vulnerable to exploitation–to suggest that you can be entirely comfortable with all manner of sins and still be a spiritual leader. You can be proud, you can be lustful, you can be greedy, you can wrathfully dismiss any staff members who disagree, and on down the seven deadlies–but hey, you’re a “wounded healer” and you are so darned popular, which is to say, “blessed in your ministry.” So it’s okay.
No, Nouwen teaches us to the contrary by word and by example. Serve, yes: offering your God-given talents to make God’s beloved world a better place. But serve out of consciousness of your wound, which means to serve in humility, in compassion, in patience. “There, but for the grace of God go I.” We must help others as fellow-sufferers, with genuine fellow-feeling–but also with a strong and clear sense of our limitations.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Taking a link from Cooper, I checked out this article by John Stackhouse. I'm not familiar with Stackhouse, but I found this short article very helpful to me, as I think we all feel like wounded healers and yet don't want to be hypocrites as we try to help people transform. It is a very quick read and worth your time, especially since I don't seem to be writing anything.