So, the question comes: “How do we deal with church hurt?” In other words, I’ve been really dealt a severe blow by church people or by my association with the church.
Church Hurt Is Not Uncommon
This is not uncommon. I think at some point in our lives we get to find ourselves in a situation where we are hurt. And especially by people who are close to us, by Christians for that matter. And sometimes we find it very difficult to recover.
People often think when you deal with Christians, you are safe, and nothing will happen
You see, I think this happens often because people think that when you are in a church environment – when you deal with Christians – you are safe, and nothing will happen. You are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ – nothing will touch you.
Dealing With Christians Should Be Different
It is true, on one level, that dealing with Christians should actually be different than dealing with people who are not Christians. We should be honest, we should be dealing forthrightly, we should be open; dealing with things. We should have no secrets, no playing around or fooling around.
But what happens when you are hurt by the church? What happens when it seems like there’s no reconciliation?
The Church Is Full Of People
I think, first of all, we need to realise that church is like any other organisation (if we can put it that way) at a face value. It’s different from the fact that, you know, the Church is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, but organisationally – remember – you are dealing with people. And people will disappoint us. People will hurt us.
Remember, you are dealing with people, and people will disappoint us.
You know people will gossip. Now, are there no gossips in the church? Is there no strife in the church? In fact, in the book of James, it talks about the danger of slandering. In fact, he even says: Be careful that you don’t end up chawing each other to the point where you actually destroy each other. (James 4:11-12)
Believers And Leaders Can Hurt Us
So, it can happen, in the context of the church, that you are so hurt by the same believers. Or it could be someone who has been close to you, you are connected. And sometimes you can also be hurt by our leaders.
I can think of so many people who had invested their trust in the pastor or pastors or leaders in the Church. And all of a sudden, they disappoint us. They go rogue. And sometimes they even do harm to us in such a way that it’s actually out of this world.
3 Suggestions To Deal With Church Hurt
But how do we deal with that? I think that’s the big question that sometimes people struggle with it. I think it is important first of all to confront that situation. In other words, confront the hurt.
1. Confront The Hurt
Sometimes it’s easy to walk away and say, “Well, I don’t want to associate myself with church anymore because of this hurt that has happened.”
Confront your hurt. It’s important to know exactly what is it that has caused it.
Now, if you happen to be in that situation where you have completely deserted the Church, as a result of the hurt that you have experienced, I want to encourage you to really examine your heart at this particular juncture. And see as to whether this is really warranted for you to run away and to stay away from Church. I think that’s probably the first thing. Confront your hurt. In other words, know exactly what is it that has caused this thing.
2. Seek To Reconcile
But I think also, like we do in scripture, it is important to not only confront church hurt, but seek to reconcile.
You know, scripture says that when you are giving your gifts and you remember that your brother has offended you – actually it doesn’t even say that you’ve been offended! When something has happened to you, leave what you are giving on the alter and seek reconciliation. (Matthew 5:24)
At the end of the day, reconciliation is what Christ has come to do.
I wish there was an easier way to do it outside what Matthew 18 says. So, the hurt must not be a stumbling block for me to say, “Well I can still go back and seek reconciliation.” Because at the end of the day reconciliation is what Christ has come to do. Remember we ourselves we were sinners. We blew it. But through the sheer love of Jesus Christ, Christ reconciled us to God. (Romans 5:8)
3. Seek Help
But also thirdly, I think seek help. You know, there are so many people who are out there who are really just so hurt they can’t even go beyond it. I would say seek help.
In other words seek a counsellor, seek a professional counsellor, seek a spiritual counsellor, so you can be able to work through some of those hurts.
You know, church hurt results in resentment, anger and all of those emotions that makes us struggle a little bit. So, I’d say it would be very, very important for you to seek help.