Hurts inevitably come. Whether it comes through friends or enemies, family members or strangers, hurts and other discomforting feelings will come. But what do you do when the very people you expect to love you and cherish you hurt you?
Such is the hurt that people feel when they are hurt by the church.
The church hurts people?
Let's face reality. The church is a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just because they are Christians doesn't mean they don't have the capacity to hurt anybody. In fact, some of the most painful hurts come through people we love in the church.
I've read articles and writings about people who have been hurt by the church. They were offended, ridiculed, insulted, even rejected by almost every kind of person in the church: the pastor and his wife, the worship leader and the worship band, the church elder, and other members including the usher on a Sunday morning. Yup, these people were hurt by them.
But should anybody stop loving God when His people hurt them? Should anyone reject the idea of fellowshipping with other Christians just because there are Christians whose character and lifestyles are the complete polar opposite of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Of course not. And I'm writing this article to help you cope with the church hurt you've been through.
Have you been hurt by the church? Have you become disillusioned by the fact that God's people hurt you? Like you can't believe that a self-confessed Christian would be capable of hurting you so badly?
If you have, then it's time for you to be freed from that hurt.
Breaking free from church hurt
The church could be one of the most unexpected places to receive unexpected levels of hurt, simply because it is composed of imperfect people. All of us have the capacity to hurt somebody, and because of this we should expect that hurt will inevitably come, even in church.
For one to be freed from the hurt, however, he has to do some things that are very crucial for his freedom. Here are some things you can do to heal from the hurt you received from the church.
1) Own your feelings
Were you hurt by the church? Then don't deny it. Don't even convince yourself that it didn't happen. In order for you to be free from the chains of hurt, you've got to recognize the chains.
Think of what happened to you, how you got hurt and who hurt you. Don't repress it, but let it surface instead. You need to do this.
2) Recognize the real enemy
Now you've got to realize that the people who hurt you aren't the real enemy here: Satan is. The Bible tells us that our enemies are not flesh and blood, simply put we're not fighting against people. We're fighting against the Devil.
Friends, when we realize that the person who hurt us is also a person who has been hurt by the enemy, we gain compassion for our offender and start praying for their salvation, healing, and repentance. We are brothers and sisters in Christ!
3) Forgive your offender
Here is the more important part. No matter how painful or how wicked were the actions that were done against you, you've got to forgive them.
Instead of going around repeating the same hurt story in the hopes of vindicating yourself (which God commanded us not to do) or simply making yourself feel better, just go over what happened, admit - and speak - your pain to the Lord, and release forgiveness.
Better yet, you can even pray for your offender. Forgive him and pray for him. If you find that impossible, ask God to help you and He surely will, beyond what you ever thought possible.