Hurt In The Church
A Chance Meeting
I love to swim, so I took the bus to the local recreation center so that I could go swimming. The time in the water was wonderful! At the end of my swim, I left the center and returned to the bus-stop to get on the next bus which would take me home.
When I got on the bus I sat next to a young man who had his foot in a cast. Because I am interested in people (which is often mistaken for being nosey), I asked the young man what happened to his foot. I told him that I was sure that many people had asked him before I had, so, if he didn't want to talk to me about it I certainly understood.
He was a kind young man and said that it was no trouble and that he didn't mind talking about it. His story started off about how after being in my city for 8 months, his life began a downward spiral and how comfortless he found "church people". Although his story started off about his foot, his major hurt was not his physical pain, but that emotional pain that comes from people.
I Was There For You.....
He was summoned here from a state several hundred miles away. A relative needed help and he would not deny their request. The first 6 months were wonderful. His life was going well, family, school, work all scored high on the proverbial "good life" score card.
After those 6 months, things changed. Trouble here, trouble there, suddenly the relative that needed him a few months earlier no longer needed him and didn't want to help him; so, out in the street he went. Not knowing the city he went Into a less than "nice" neighborhood; he was physically attacked, and robbed. The result was the fractured foot.
I asked him if he knew the Lord, he said he did and also that he was not mad at God, but he didn't know what to think because the relatives that were unkind to him were ardent "church goers". They preached love but they acted otherwise.
He was hurt...they could have at least gotten him back home. He had been there for them, but they were not there for him...
People Are People
There are many, many people who have turned their backs on God,Christianity, Jesus and the church, because they have been hurt.
There are two perspectives to this; the first is; "The church is full of people who are just people". The pastors and leaders are just people who have been called to do something for the Lord, they are themselves not the Lord. It is unfair and unreasonable to expect that the people who lead in the church would never offend or hurt you. They are just people.
The second perspective is this; "The Body of Christ is responsible to pray daily for each member." By doing this, the Lord can situate the intervention needed to help a person who has been hurt recover from their wounds.
Case in pount: I never take the bus. The Lord had me situated to get on that bus at that exact time so this young man could be ministered to; by the Spirit of God, I told him how the love of God would not hurt him; he was not alone, there are many who love him without knowing him, many who pray for him without seeing him. Although his circumstances were incredulous and the hurt was burning inside, it was his responsibility to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness would release him from his pain. In forgiveness is our victory.....
We prayed and cried together on that bus. The tears never quite reaching our cheeks, but whelling up filling the almond shape of our eyes. The prayer, aloud without regard to the curious who sat nearby. The result...we may not know until we meet in eternity.
Children of God
Church hurt can be deep and lasting. It cuts to the core of your very being. It makes you feel betrayed...those who you trusted with the depth of your being have hurt you. You put your trust in them, you believed in them, you never thought they would hurt you but they did; and, you don't know how they could have done that to you.
Here is not the place to analyze why it happens, who really cares why it happens; the reality is it happens. People are going to get hurt in the church, it is unavoidable . Something someone said, something someone did, something someone didn't do.....In fact, I don't know anyone who has been in the church over 5 years who has not been hurt by the church. But, those of us who are no longer hurt must offer solace and understanding to those who are presently hurt.
Work on Yourself
No matter how "wonderful" you are, you are part of the problem. (Don't get offended...) You ask how? "How am I a part of the problem??? I don't bother anybody...I am always nice." We are all a part of the problem because we all offend others at one time or another. Our intention may not be to offend, so, we often happens offend without knowing what we have. And, many times those who have been offended do not have the strength to confront the issue. They just lick their wounds and shrink back. (What a mess! )
So, what is the conclusion??? The conclusion is that since we are subject to offend, (some of us more than others), we should work on ourselves. We can never be perfect, but we can improve ourselves. This can be tricky because we have to choose a standard to measure our improvement progress. Usually, the standard chosen is the current socially accepted behavior. Well, that's not good because in different cultures, there are different things that are acceptable.
What Did You Say?
That's right. Get saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of praying in tongues and spend time reading the Word of God and praying in tongues.
What happens when you do this? YOU CHANGE!!! You may still offend people, but you if you continue in the faith and the actions of studying and prayer, you will gain the wisdom of God. This wisdom will help you become more sensitive to others. It won't guarantee that you will never offend or be offended again, but it will guarantee a greater understanding of yourself and of the needs of others.
Heal the Hurt
What Can I do Until My Change Comes...
Learn to listen to others. You never know when someone is about to open up to you and bare their soul. You ask the Lord to use you all of the time...expect Him to use you and be bold so that He can. Don't get angry at the person or the situation that hurt the person you are listening to. Stay in the "God Zone", so you can tell them what God wants to tell them not what your flesh wants to tell them. Practice being empathetic with others. Remember your past hurt and remember you have overcome that pain. Above all , learn how to pray for someone other than yourself , and your needs.
"Be slow to speak, swift to hear and slow to wrath, for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God". James 1:19-20, King James version of the Holy Bible .
Jesus came to set the captives free and that includes folks who have been hurt by the church.