Seldom is there anyone who hasn’t experienced some sort of hurt, grief or confusion over difficult church situations. Sadly, it is way to common.
Young people get confused and leave church, hurt and bitter. Adults spend time gossiping and spreading rumors, angry and disgusted. Sin creeps in, relationships are damaged (sometimes permanently), and the church is no longer a healing environment, a safe place to share, a band of soldiers fighting for the right. No, instead we have become a bunch of people fighting each other while the enemy destroys us right in front of our eyes.
Being betrayed by someone you thought you could trust is painful. And the deeper the trust , the more painful it is. There is really no way around that; it hurts. And often to the point of driving people away from church altogether.
When the church hurts, there are a few things to remember:
1. Love always wins
You might feel there is no love left in your church, or that you have no love left for them. When the hurt runs deep, it is usually because we once deeply loved. The relationship may never be the same, but showing kindness in the ways you can, placing yourself in their shoes (they are probably hurting, too), and choosing to love will soften hard hearts, and hopefully lead to reconciliation. If not, its your part to forgive even if they don’t ask for it.
2. God’s desire for a church is of unity and peace
“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Phil. 2:2
3. We need to do our part
Avoid spreading rumors or gossip.Inspire others to work together instead of against each other. And remember being told as kid that “it takes two to argue”? The same is true for adults. Refuse to take part in arguments, giving a soft answer instead of angry words.
4. Healing is always available
Being hurt by a church, whether it was families in your church, your deacon or your elder can lead to confusion, bitterness and anger. But don’t abandon God. Seek Him for healing, for truth, and for love. Don’t allow your confusion to be an excuse for sin, rather diligently read the Word to find out for yourself what is right.
5. No church is perfect
“The day we find a perfect church, it becomes imperfect the day we join it.” C. Spurgeon
The truth is, we are human. We all make mistakes. Pride and opinion get in the way, personal interpretation, and even personal experiences. The best thing we can do, as in imperfect person part of an imperfect church, is to seek holiness. Live a life above reproach; one that you would expect the others in your church to live. Fight the enemy together – don’t become each other’s enemy.