When church people hurt you it can be a painful experience. Because the church is supposed to be a community of faith. The Bride of Christ. A spiritual hospital for sinners. And yet, the haven for spiritual recovery can also dish out the spiritual hurt. And when you’re the victim, you may feel angry, abandoned, and betrayed. Here are some thoughts to guide in your recovery.
When church people hurt you, don’t blame God
Whenever we suffer it’s natural to ask God why? Sometimes even blame him for it. But it’s not God’s fault when church people hurt you. Why? Because…
- God gives us free will
- Church people exercise free will like everyone else
- Free will and the decisions we make are influenced by a sinful heart
That means when people exercise their freewill–even church people–their words and actions are sometimes harmful. God may have permitted it, but he didn’t cause it. Nor is it His will. So don’t blame him for something people are responsible for.
It’s also natural to direct anger toward the church. And to punish it by dropping out, which only makes Satan celebrate. However, your pain was likely caused by one or maybe a few people. Not EVERYONE at church. So don’t cut yourself off from those who want to support, encourage, and walk alongside you.
When church people hurt you, trust God’s faithfulness and promises
When you are hurting, turn towards God rather than away. You’ll find truth and comfort from his word and soothing encouragement from His Spirit through prayer. The more you seek Him, the more you discover His…
- Unending mercies and faithfulness
- Everlasting love
- Promise that things will work out for good
- Transcending peace
- Sense of hope
Also, don’t forget Jesus understands unjust treatment. But he endured it on our our behalf. That’s genuine love!
When church people hurt you, ask God for a spirit of forgiveness
Don’t wait for church people to apologize, but actively forgive them. If they are led by his Spirit, he will convict them, and they will seek reconciliation. But not everyone at church is led by the spirit. Some are not even true followers of Christ. So don’t count on everyone at church to act in a Christ-like manner. Even though they are supposed to.
Also, remember that forgiveness is not so much for the offender as it is for you. Yes, you may be an innocent victim of unfair treatment. But after a while, your pain turns into anger followed by a spirit of bitterness that takes root and grows. And that bitterness becomes your sin.
That’s why Jesus commands us to forgive. Because otherwise, the pain and hurt we carry eventually becomes a heavy chain of anger and bitterness that binds us. Forgiveness is the key that sets us free.
Even in the midst of a torturous death of crucifixion, Jesus forgave those who perpetrated evil against him. And he intervened for them to his Father.
Trust God and move forward by faith
Church people can inflict deep, serious wounds that may take a long time to heal. But God is the great physician. While those injuries may slow you down, keep moving forward. And don’t let your feelings guide you because they are unreliable. Especially when they are bruised and bleeding.
Instead, let God’s Word be your trusted guide and faith the engine that moves you forward. God will lead the way, make you stronger, and equip you to encourage and support another spiritual casualty.
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