Much of my motivation a few years ago for putting together that first CR 12 step group for Pastors we now call CPR came out of my own personal struggle with anger and bitterness. My hurt resulted from deep betrayal in some staff relationships and dealing with the resulting nastiness that spilled over into some among our congregation. Such anger and bitterness is a leading cause of burnout for pastors. A CPR group can be a wonderful, safe means through which pastors and spouses can experience Christ’s healing of such pain and anger.

I came across these insightful comments recently from an interview with Rob Bell. The provocative pre-release publicity of his newest book, Love Wins, caused a firestorm of criticism. Regardless of how you feel about his book (after you’ve read it), I found he offers a fresh perspective on personally dealing with hurt and the choice that follows to become bitter or better.

The interview appeared in RELEVANT magazine. One of several questions asked was; Are your feelings hurt by the response and what has been said about you and your ideas?Rob Bell replied:

When you give your life to trying to share the Good News of Jesus with a world that I believe desperately needs to hear it, and then somebody very passionately and defiantly announces you are in fact working against the very thing that you have given your life to, that takes you into a deep, deep place of trust in God, because you are forced to confront your powerlessness. It takes a person on a journey deep into the trust and love and security of God. That’s a personal thing. That’s an intimate thing. That’s a mystery, that you can go there and you’re OK. So yeah, there is a deeply personal component to it, and that’s about as much as I can say about that right now. … And, I have a choice. Because we all have a choice when we are spoken of in negative terms. You can throw rocks back and become equally mean and nasty, or you can allow that pain to shape you into the kind of person who loves your enemies and who is more open and more expansive and more humble. It shapes you. It shapes you one way or the other; there is no third place. You either become equally bitter and fearful and angry and mean, or the pain pushes you into this place where you’re broken, and because you’re broken, God can fill you in new ways.

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