Church hurt is a touchy subject; a subject many people run from it because of fear of what others will think about them if they open up and talk about it, but, what about when it happens to you? You have been with a ministry for so long and then one day, BOOM! You feel betrayed, hurt, confused, and angry. The very place that you thought was your shield of protection has now fallen apart.
I have found out that a lot of church hurt happens in small ministries and people who don’t attend a church all say the same things. They say things like, “church folks are to messy, how can a church so small have so many negative issues and, the pastor is sinning more than the members.” As Christians its time that we start praying for all ministries and leaders, because when leadership is messed up it trickles down to membership and the whole church is messed up, and when you have those few members that subdue the hurt, and it causes them to fall or go back in to the world..
Many people are left in the dark when it happens to them, they don’t know where to go or what to do. They have in their minds that the church is supposed to be the safe haven from the outside hurts of the world. Some may even turn back to the world because of someone in the church hurting them and some will still continue their walk with God, but have the mentality that they are not going to join any more ministries, for fear of being hurt again.
So, who do we blame? Do we blame the members, the people in the leadership positions, or the pastors? I would say that from personal experiences I don’t blame the person, but I blame the devil who is working through them, and from these experiences, as well as observing others who have been hurt, I have learned that that hurter is usually the ones in leadership positions. The one who a person would think would have their back and be there for them.
Some seasoned Christians would say, “You shouldn’t let anyone run you away from your church.” Well that is a two-sided statement because sometimes it is time to leave, because you will find yourself sitting in church looking up side the person head that has hurt you, and you miss out on the word that has went forth for that day.
You have exhausted all measures to fix an issue that you have with the person who has wronged you. You have told them personally that they hurt you, you may have even turned to quoting scripture to them, but yet he or she continues to hurt you. So you take the next step and take your issue to the elders and the pastors, and here is where the real problem starts. The heads of the church overlook and your issue that you have presented to them, and now your issue are with not only the person or persons who have wronged you from the start, but now with the leaders. So you next move is you quit your church, and by doing so, you become the talk of the church, only adding more hurt to your heart.
Now I can’t say that leaving the ministry is the answer to every problem, but once you lose faith and trust in anyone in leadership you are not going to be able to receive anything they say. You will feel like you are not important enough to them, and that’s when all the emotions overtake you. Now, sometimes issues may not come from the leader themselves and leaving the church may not be the best first option, but ways try to resolve an issue before leaving.
I have one simple cure for church hurt and that is FORGIVENESS. It’s a natural feeling to feel hurt and pain from those who we thought would have us covered spiritually. So first acknowledge to the person or persons that they have hurt you, and forgive them. And, in the event that they don’t apologize, don’t spend time focusing on it or become angry and revengeful, because you will open up the door for the enemy to start working in you and you will give that person power over you, and will allow them to steal your joy. A lot of times the person who has hurt you, has so much hurt bottled up on the inside of them that they can’t relate to anyone without being hurtful.
Upon deciding to leave the ministry you are a part of, always seek council from God. Don’t let anyone belittle you because you left your church, it’s really no one’s business why you left in the first place. During this time stop, take a breather and pray for the courage to forgive from your heart. We all know that when faith and trust has walked out the door, it’s very hard to get it back, so when issues like this present itself in your life take up time fasting and praying for direction.
If your heart was at this ministry, also take some time for your heart to heal and pray that God lead you to where you need to be during your healing process and, sometimes after spiritual growth in you and the hurter, God may just put you back in each other’s path to reconnect, but if not then it is just time to move on; because if you spend time worrying about why things happened the way they did, you will only delay yourself of the healing that God wants you to have.