Today’s post is directed to the attention of those who have experienced ‘church hurt’. For the purpose of this post ‘church hurt’ is defined as an experience or incident with a church official or church member that causes pain. Church hurt may be caused by a person-to-person incident or hearsay [somebody said somebody said so-and-so]. Individuals can also be hurt by an attitude, perceived or real; or by misinterpretation of a given behavior.
Many of us are like a ball of feelings with protruding antennae waiting for someone to offend us. On the other hand, some of us are very positive and expect the best from everyone. Whether an individual is highly sensitive or strongly protected by a positive outlook and strong ego, church hurt may be experienced. This post provides at three-step formula for healing church hurt.
Josh Moody provides insights into church hurt in his September 2015 article ‘Help In Overcoming Church Hurt’.
”Most of the writing in the New Testament about how to live in a church exists because the church has never been perfect. Most, if not all, of the letters were written to solve problems in the church:
- Galatians to solve legalism (Galatians 1:6–7, 3:1–3, 4:9, 5:1).
- Colossians to solve heresy (Colossians 2:4, 8).
- 2 Timothy to solve tension in succession (2 Timothy 4:9–16).
- Philippians to solve conflict and selfish ambition (Philippians 2:3–22).
- 1 and 2 Corinthians to solve a whole host of problems centered around the issues of human pride in gifting and speaking that led to loveless and arrogant religious activity.
And that’s not even to mention the letters to the churches in Revelation (chapters 2–3), one of which is so unhealthy, it makes Jesus want to vomit (Revelation 3:16).”
If you are among those who have suffered or continue to hold a grudge against an individual or group because of church hurt the following tips should aid you in releasing your feelings of hurt and anger.
HOW TO HEAL CHURCH HURT
1. FORGIVE. Forgive the individual or group for the behavior, comment, attitude or whatever caused you to experience pain. The issue may not have been about you. God allows us to experience some situations to bring Him glory.[Remember the experiences of Job.] Moreover, if we want God to forgive us we must forgive others. Matthew 6:14-15. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
2. PRAY. Turn the situation over to God. Seek His guidance and direction. Once you have given it to Him, leave it with Him. Remember vengeance belongs to God. Romans 12:19 NIV Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
3. SEEK RESOLUTION. Is there anything you can do to prevent a repetition of this situation with someone else. You do not seek punishment for the offense. Rather you seek a way to minimize that there will be a reccurrence of this incident with another individual. Possible options are one-on-one dialog with the involved individual, group discussion with you the individual, and a church leader [pastor, head of the group, etc.]. Your goal in initiating this dialog is to help prevent someone else from experiencing the hurt you felt. Alerting the church leadership may provide opportunity for teaching/training others how to interact with certain groups. If there is no opportunity for you to initiate resolution, be at ease. God’s got it. HE is in control.
Church hurt will continue to occur but the more sensitive we are the more quickly we can repair damage. Also remember that an offense inflicted by one person or group should not be generalized to the total body. In other words do not blame the ‘church’ for what an individual [member, leader, pastor] says or does. We are the church and it is incumbent on us as Christians to reflect the love of Jesus as we interact with one another.
Today’s topic was brought to mind by our Wednesday night bible study at The Worship Center of Kansas City.
Our Sunday Service will continue to explore the topic of church hurt and healing. We invite you to worship with us at 10:00 A.M. on July 15, 2018. We view our church as a hospital where all can come, just as you are, and receive healing. Rather than Big I’s and little u’s, our focus is on loving one another as Christ loves us. Have a blessed week.
HLC Ministry Team