When Church Hurts

I have been more hurt by people who sit in church every Sunday than I care to talk about.

I have had more trust broken by those I do ministry with than those who aren’t in ministry at all.

I have witnessed more pride in some pastors and ministry leaders while serving alongside of them than I have in a lot of “regular” church people.

I have been hurt deeply by individuals I have ministered to versus those I haven’t.

But when I go back and read the first word of every one of those sentences, they all start the same way – “I”.

It’s not okay to tolerate being mistreated. God doesn’t command us to let people walk all over us, take advantage of us, manipulate us, or guilt trip us. It’s not okay to follow leadership that believes having a platform will provide a more significant influence than loving your neighbor. That’s not leadership. People will break your trust. People will hate you. They hated Jesus and let Him down first – big time. (Luke 22:34, Matthew 26:14-16, 40, John 15:18-25, Matthew 23)

And while the pain is overwhelming and honestly makes me want to build up walls, I have to remember that while it may protect me from hurt getting in, it will also prevent me from love going out.

I will not let the disappointments I experience with God’s people bring me to disappointment in God’s plan for the church or God Himself. 

All people, regardless of age, gender, experience, race, religion, or personality are at some point disappointing, because all people are broken.

It is my ultimate goal in life to represent Christ well. One thing I think about is other people seeing a fault in me and holding it against my God, believing that He is the same way. I will fail people. I will let people down. People may perceive me to be a certain way even though I am not. Or, maybe I am and they just don’t like me. I’m fine with being vulnerable in my faults, but I hope and pray people understand that despite them, God is faultless.

It hurts when we expect people to treat us the way we would treat them and then they don’t.
It hurts when people are careless with their words.
It hurts when people share things you’ve confided in them, build platforms with their hands instead of using their hands to reach out and serve others, intentionally try to cause you pain and sit on the edge of their seat waiting for you to fail or fall or give in or give up.

We cannot expect people to always get it right. They won’t and neither will we.

These people, they are broken. We all are. And most of them, they’re probably trying their best.

If they weren’t broken, they wouldn’t need Christ and neither would I because I’d probably just turn to them instead. Often times, our hurt cuts so deep because that’s what we’ve been doing anyways – relying more on those people instead of relying more on Christ. Righteous anger is permissible. Feeling frustrated and admitting you’re wounded is a part of moving past the hurt. The important thing is we don’t stay there.

Keep moving forward.
Keep investing in people.
Keep seeking God.
Keep showing up and being genuine and loving hard.

What more would the enemy want than to paralyze us from changing the world because we can’t get past what one person or even countless people have said or done?

What Jesus did is greater.

Live like it.

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