How to Deal with Church Hurt

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Have you ever felt hurt by a member of your church?

Maybe a joke was said about you that hit you below the belt. Or, possibly you felt unappreciated for your hard work and dedication to the ministry. You may also have had a break up or bad relationship with a church member. Or, even worse, you may have experienced rape or sexual assault in the church.

If any of the above apply to you, I can relate to your experience.

When I was no older than 10 years old, a much older church member told me to come over to his car to get some candy after church. (This was a different church than the one I attend now). I will never forget what happened next: he stuck his tongue in my mouth and tried kissing me! Being young, I didn’t quite understand what he was doing but I knew it was wrong. Thankfully, it went no further than that.

By God’s grace, I never turned away from God because of that situation. But, there are many instances in which people are turning away from the church because of something a church member has done to them. When faced with any type of church hurt, it’s important to remember the following:

1) Don’t Blame God – It’s not God’s fault that man stuck his tongue in my mouth and it’s not God’s fault that any church member took advantage of you. If you let Satan’s deceptive ways turn you away from God, you’re giving the situation power over your life. If God has called you to be in a certain ministry, stay there. Use instances of ungodliness to be an intercessor of prayer. What if God wants to use your church hurt to inspire others? The devil may have won the battle, but he doesn’t have to win the war.

2) Forgive – God commands us to forgive immediately. Recovering from the hurt may take time, but the process towards healing can’t even begin until you forgive.

3) Satan Ain’t Stupid – The devil knows which church will allow you to grow most in God. He can recognize when you’re getting closer to the Father. He also knows which church members can best help you with your walk with Christ. It’s no coincidence that problems and discord arise in an area of your life where God is present. Satan isn’t happy about the idea of you drawing closer to God so expect the attacks to come. Remember: through the Holy Spirit you have power over anything Satan can throw at you.

4) Exercise Discernment – There may be times in our lives when God is commanding us to change churches. Other times, it’s the devil who doesn’t want us to get what God has for us. Ask God for wisdom to know which is which. Having a relationship with God will help you determine which attacks are signs from God and which are simply obstacles from the devil. If you don’t have a relationship with God, then use your church hurt as an opportunity to grow in Him, not stray the other way.

5) Be Selfless – Take yourself out of the situation and remember that anytime God places you in a church, or any environment, it’s always for purposes greater than yourself. Don’t just think of church as a time to grow in God for yourself. Remember: there are other people in your community who need the Word you are getting too. Anytime you leave somewhere God has called you to be, it doesn’t just affect you, it affects the whole body of Christ.

7)People are Imperfect – Everyone, including pastors, have fallen short of the glory of God. Regardless if your church hurt was intentional, unintentional, or an honest mistake, pray for the person and move on. Don’t let that hurt keep you from receiving the Word of God.

8) God isn’t in every church – It’s harsh but true. The Bible warns us that there will be false prophets and teachers. So, there are many church leaders who have started churches that God isn’t even a part of. Consequently, confusion, hurt, and disorder arises. People look at churches like this and blame God, but God is nowhere in that mess. You’ll always recognize a tree by the type of fruit it grows. Regardless of whether God is in your church or not, be assured that He is NOT in your church hurt. God is not the author of hurt, but love.

Above all else, remember we should go to church for God, not people. Regardless if you are experiencing church members who are for you or against you, don’t lose faith in where God has you growing. If your focus is on God, then the actions of others shouldn’t matter.

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What have you done to overcome church hurt? Comment, share your thoughts, and share this post to help others (just click the links below)!

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