Perhaps you were in a meeting and your suggestion for the next youth outing was met with comments such as “that’s dumb,” or “nobody would want to do that.”
Or maybe you were asked to sing a solo at the last minute and you missed a note or two (or ten, I’ve done it before lol) but you gave your all to God, and people came up to you and said “you shouldn’t sing anymore,” or “you should try to find a different ministry, because singing ain’t it.”
Maybe you were asked to run a revival and you preached under the power of the Lord the whole week but only a handful of people came out and you overheard someone say, “if he really had the anointing this church would have been full.”
Or maybe you got pregnant out of wed lock (or impregnated someone out of wed lock) and every time you walk into a room, everyone stops talking and no one dares make eye contact but their invisible stares feels like a knife piercing your soul.
Church hurt can come in various forms, but the fact of the matter is that it hurts, and it’s usually coming from the people you least expect. We all have different ways of handling it depending on the degree of hurt. You may be able to laugh it off and continue on your day; maybe you can address the person in a Christ like way, but maybe the hurt cuts so deep you stop coming to church or you see every Christian as fake and judgmental. The last group is who this post is directed towards.
Christians are humans. I’ll say it again: Christians are humans. And because they are humans, they are not perfect (thank you Adam and Eve). As Christians we should be striving for perfection, but we have all fallen short at one point or another (Romans 3:23). Does this excuse someone giving you the side eye? Not at all, but it gives you a context to deal with the situation. It is not the God in them giving you the side eye, it is the flesh (Romans 7:20). If I call myself a Christian, in responding to this individual, I have to let the God in me speak for me and not my flesh, even with my hurt feelings lingering around. The flesh will tell you to go off on the person. The flesh will tell you this church doesn’t appreciate you. The flesh will tell you God doesn’t care and doesn’t deserve your time. But the God in you will tell you to pray first. The God in you will help you keep silent, when speaking will do more damage. The God in you will give you the words to say when it is time to speak. The God in you will allow you to forgive that person.
Nobody wants to talk about it but church hurt can give us a one way ticket to hell (and I’m not talking about the person doing the hurting). We think we just stop dealing with the person or we just leave that particular church or we choose not to hang around Christians anymore but by and by, we stop praying as often, we don’t read the bible as often, we don’t go to anyone’s church, we can’t name a single friend who practices the same values and morals we say we held at one point and we ourselves no longer practice them. Essentially, we allow one person or one situation (or maybe more than one person or situation), to keep us from God.
On judgment day we won’t be able to say I stopped serving You because Sis. Whoever looked at me crazy or Dea. Whatever talked to me the wrong way. God will hold you accountable for your response in every situation (2 Corinthians 5:10). As Christians, we don’t get a pass because our feelings are hurt, regardless of who hurt them. Imagine if Jesus saw all the ways we would hurt him and decided not to die for us… Where would we be? But he did see it and loved us anyway. Through your hurt, love anyway (Ephesians 4:32). Your relationship with God is too important not to (Romans 8:39).
Many times people are unaware how their words affect others (Proverbs 18:21). We can be so careless with our words (and our facial expressions), and expect people to just deal with it or just get over it. It’s never a big deal until it happens to us. I challenge everyone (myself included), to be mindful of what we say and how we say it. If we see a member of the body of Christ injured (or an unbeliever injured by someone who says they’re a member of the body of Christ), reach out to them. Don’t expect them to just get over it. Don’t allow them to walk around with a limp or a chip on their shoulder but be the person to help mend them by showing them the God in you.
Matthew 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. (NLT)