“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:17-18 ESV
Unfortunately it happens: Getting hurt at church, for church, in church, by church. Church is God’s home, but we live on Earth… which means church is made of people. Yes, mere, imperfect, born of sin… humans. Church is a not a place for perfect people. Church is a hospital for sinners and broken people to get well, fixed up, and go out into the world and be the church.
Maybe I am speaking to you today. Have you been offended, rejected, lied to, fired, left out, neglected, or crushed by your church? Has someone stolen a piece of you that you don’t think you can ever get back? Well, friend, I am here to tell you: in Jesus, you can be made whole again. He makes all things new. God binds up the wounds of the brokenhearted. God is THE redeemer and deliverer. God is omniscient and omnipresent. God is there with you in your pain and knows exactly what you are feeling. His heart cries out as He sees His child in pain… and God will take all things and work them together for your good; for His purposes.
God will bring you through this stronger on the other side. Don’t hand this moment over as an opportunity for the enemy to come in and have his way. Don’t let satan creep into your heart and feed your mind with lies. Satan is the author of lies, and wants to use this hurt to pull you away from God and away from the church. The enemy wants to create division, where God seeks unity.
Whatever this hurt is, I am humbly and truly sorry. I am sorry for the pain that you are feeling, and I cannot begin to try and understand your suffering. I repent on behalf of God’s church. But please don’t run away. Church is our family. I’m sure we have all experienced disagreements, arguments, hurts, misunderstandings, disappointments, squabbles, and all-out battles with our families… but we don’t disown them. We don’t divorce our family, neglect them, trade them in for a “better” replacement, gossip about them, or speak words of death over them. No. We take some time. We pray. We work through it. We embark on a journey and process of healing that develops character, perseverance, trust, restoration, and growth. Through that undertaking, our relationship grows to a deeper and more beautiful level.
So where do we go from here? What do we do with all this pain? Seek His face.
If there is an area of sin or corruption in your church, then God may call you to speak up. God may choose to take you to another church- but you need to ask Him to lead you first. Pray that what is done in secret will be brought to light. God will protect His people and His church. He loves you too much to leave you broken.
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” –Luke 12:2-3 ESV
Before you come to the altar, you must cleanse your heart. So rid your spirit of any unforgiveness. Confess and repent of any anger, bitterness, or grudges you may be holding towards the church, God, or another person. If it is too painful, you do not necessarily have to meet with the other party. Release it to Him. Ask Him to help you forgive and bless those who hurt you.
Then draw near to your close Christian friends (fr-amily) and pray. Pray for each other. Pray for God to heal you and bring beauty from these ashes. Pray for your church, that God will strengthen His house, bring unity, and miraculous healing. Finally, pray for your leadership and pastors- that God will cover and protect them. That these leaders would be healed and filled with Godly wisdom, direction, peace, love, and set firmly on His path and plan for their life.
Is this a formula? No. Is this easy? No. Will you immediately feel better? Probably not. But this is a choice you can make to live for God, according to His will. He gave His one and only Son for you and me in human form. Jesus came in the flesh and understands our temptations, pain, and suffering. Jesus felt the pain of betrayal, rejection and hatred. Ultimately, He was beaten, tortured, and crucified on a cross. For my sins. For your sins. So that we would be forgiven. Just as we love because He loved us this much, so we forgive, because He forgave us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” –Jeremiah 29:11-13
God bless you in this process. Give yourself time and grace as you walk through this. Seek a Christian counselor if needed. Rest. We will be praying for you and for our own church. We are walking through this right beside you. We will overcome. He has great plans for all of us and for His church! By His stripes we are healed!
Here’s to your health!