Did I tell you about the time I was kicked out of church. Yes, me – the good Christian girl who has almost always done the right thing, was told (not asked) by a pastor to get out of his church.
A year before that experience I left a different Christian ministry because I questioned their motto of “work until you’re burnt out” and when I did, they told me I was “sowing seeds of discord” and better shape up or get out. Needless to say I chose to leave before it got any worse.
I’ve been burnt by church.
By Christian organizations.
By the ones who are supposed to be love with skin on.
And it hurt – a lot.
However, this post is not about bashing the church or Christians or ministries. It’s not. I love the church. Heck, I believe we as believers are the church. But I write because there are others out there who’ve been hurt and I want you to know
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
But what is one to do with all the hurt and mistrust? How can we move on from the pain of being wounded by those who are supposed to be the most loving?
I don’t have all of these answers (I know it’s shocking, cuz I am so smart) but I can tell you how I did it.
1. Don’t Compromise
If you are apart of a Christian organization and something seems a little off, or you don’t agree with the way things are being done – don’t ignore the feeling. Take it to the Lord. Go to His word and search for what is true, right, pure and lovely. When we were in Australia at the church we were asked to leave, the pastor was allowing people who were living and sleeping together, outside of marriage, to lead worship and preach in the church. For me, this issue was pretty black and white and when I went to God’s word, it was confirmed. So rather than compromise, we asked the pastor about it (him and no one else). Instead of explaining his point of view, he defensively accused us of questioning his authority and then proceeded to tell those couples that we were judging them. The pastor! Gossiping to the members of his church about us. This, and so many other things, were clearly wrong and I’m glad we stood up for what we believed in, even though we were really hurt.
By not compromising, I’m not encouraging you to say, “I’m right and you’re wrong!” But if you go to the Lord with your concerns and He and His word confirm those concerns, it may mean you need to step away from a situation. This is what happened in my experience with both the Christian ministry.
No matter how you may have been hurt by “organized religion” (I really hate this term because my faith is not a religion to me, but a relationship) please, please, please choose to forgive. Forgive those who’ve wronged you so you don’t turn around and become exactly like them! The pastor who so deeply wounded us in Australia was a man with his own deep wounds. He carried around a lifetime of hurt and bitterness and pain. And it’s true what they say, hurt people hurt people.
So forgive. Really do it.
Go back to that place in yourself that was hurt so deeply and face it. Feel what you need to feel. Cry the tears you need to cry. Get angry if it helps.
And then hand it over to God.
Forgive because He first forgave you.
The hurt you felt, He’s felt from you. But He never held it against you. Only offered you love and a second chance.
I’ve been hurt by the church
But I’ve chosen to forgive so that I don’t become the church that hurts another.
I’m writing this post because I hear so many people say they’re mad at “the church”, forgetting we are the church. I don’t want you to be driven away from God and away from community because of a few bad people. I want you to experience the fullness of God’s love in the body He created you to be apart of. I want you to find hope and healing.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, stories or concerns. Please feel free to comment or send me a private message. I always love hearing from you.
In Him Who is Able,