The Church Hurt is Real
As difficult as it is to admit, church hurt is real and it does exist. This is what makes it so hard to talk about. We feel guilty to admit that the church, or the people in it, hurt us. It happens for a variety of reasons and everyone’s experience is different. But, your hurt is valid. Your voice is valid. Your truth is valid.
So, what makes church hurt different? For one, it is something we would never expect. When we become part of a church community, we expect love, respect, unity, grace, forgiveness, peace, joy, and all of the other fruits of the Spirit that God tells us about. We expect people to treat us well. We expect people to allow us to be part of God’s mission of telling others about the Gospel and making disciples. We also invest so much of ourselves into the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Another reason why church hurt is different is because there is a different level of trust that we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Because we say we believe in God and that we have a relationship with Him, it makes it easier for people to open up and talk to us. We can learn to trust Christians faster than others because we believe they love us like Christ loves us. We let our guards down and we break down the walls to allow our brothers and sisters in.
The reality is that the church is full of people who are sinners. God tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” We’re all not perfect. We all make mistakes. We all don’t have the best intentions. There is still jealousy in the church. There is still comparison in the church. There is still gossip in the church. There is still sin in the church. And, this isn’t to deter you from the church, but to open up your eyes to the reality that the church can and will hurt us sometimes.
Now, this isn’t all churches. This isn’t all Christians. But, it is a call to the church to be more mindful of our own hearts. We have to focus our eyes on Christ to continuously help us grow and learn and mature. If my eyes are on Christ at all times, I don’t have time to judge my brother and/or sister. If my eyes are on Christ at all times, there’s no place for jealousy or hate. God calls us to love one another. He doesn’t call us to criticize or judge the woman who is struggling with her faith or her marriage. He doesn’t call us to judge a brother for his struggle with any type of addiction. God calls us to love.
If you have been hurt by the church, I want to extend an apology. I want to ask for your forgiveness. I want you to know that I am sorry about what has happened to you and how that hurt you. I pray that you find it in your heart to forgive those who have hurt you. I pray that you understand that we are all human. Even though we are believers in Christ, we still make mistakes. There’s no excuse for the behavior. Your honesty with those who have hurt you is so important for the church. If you can be open and honest about your church hurt, it creates an opportunity for growth for the church. Once you find your healing, find your strength and courage to talk about it so we can work to be better.
I am here to admit that I am a Christian. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I am still capable of hurting my brothers and sisters in Christ. And, if I do, I pray that they give me a chance to seek forgiveness and to work towards getting better. We can all work together to grow and heal the church from the inside out.