This upcoming Sunday is Easter. It is the day that we celebrate the life, the death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, many believers will not be in church this Sunday, not just because of the virus, but some because of “church hurt”.
For the past 15 years I have been in church. Also, for the majority of the last 13 years I have been in some form of leadership or ministry role. Being in church and being involved in leadership, a person will hear and see a lot. Being a part of any community for a long period of time can always bring about its own set of complications.
There is a word I have heard throughout these past 13 years, and it is the word “offense.” I learned early on in ministry and as a Christian that I was not to be offended, hurt, or bitter.
While these principles are good, I find it nearly impossible to walk through this life and not be hurt in some way. I don’t think we have a choice whether or not someone’s words or actions hurt us, but we do have a responsibility not to stay there. It is a choice to be bitter or to be offended.
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25 (NLT)
We are all broken people with our own broken pasts with our own broken beliefs and behavior. And just like we can be hurt by people outside of the body of Christ, we can also be hurt by the people inside the body of Christ.
Over the past year, I have seen Christians disgusted and repulsed by the darkness in the world, but I instead found myself more disgusted and repulsed by the darkness in the church.
I saw the church become increasingly political and arrogant, even self-righteous.
I would think to myself, “God is a God who is just, but fighting unrighteousness in politics will never take precedence over preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
(Hey, you stay put, This Is not a political post I promise.)
“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
I take my Father’s business very seriously, meaning I believe every word in His Bible is the truth, but alongside that, I carry empathy and compassion for everyone. I was broken-hearted by the church pointing at the specks in other people’s eyes while negating looking at the log in our own (Matthew 7:3-5).
My broken heart later turned to anger. That is when I had to realize, “Girl, what is wrong with you? Why have you allowed other people's actions and beliefs to steal your peace?”
The truth is I had not fully processed the hurt of racial injustice in America, let alone the church. Then you throw a heated political battle into the arena where people are acting less than like Christ, and I unintentionally allowed it to take me for a frenzy.
When I realized how badly I was triggered by all that was happening, I saw that it was an opportunity to do a heart examination and allow God to heal all the hurt inside of me.
God’s heart is for the church. His heart is beautifully displayed in the word as a love letter to His Bride, the church. He is so aware of His Bride and can handle when His name is misused, when people say He says things He has not said, and so much more.
I had to realize God has never lost a battle, and I do not have to fight His battles. How freeing is that?!
What is my job? My job is to fix my eyes on my Father, examine the log in my own eye, and do what my Father has called me to do.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7:3-5 NLT
As much as the church offended me and maybe you, it is still the church, it is still The Bride, and we are a part of that Bride, that my friend is truly a gift.
If you are going through church hurt today, I want you to know you are not too far gone for God to heal you. God sees your pain, and He may even agree with you that circumstances that occurred should have never happened. But do not let this pain and hurt derail you. Don’t let it derail you from the truth of God’s love and adoration for His Bride.
Have the conversations with those that have hurt you and make it right. Whatever you all argued about, choose to forgive. And if the hurt was so bad it warrants no personal relationship then, move on. No really. Release the hurt to God and let him heal you because He wants to. You cannot fulfill the calling God has on your life while harboring bitterness and offense.
When we open ourselves up to love we will get hurt, we will be disappointed. However, do not let it get you off the course of fixing your eyes on the One who paid the ultimate price for you to have everlasting life. Do not let this offense disconnect you from the body.