Loving God after being Hurt by the Church

I grew up a pastor’s kid, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything {represent!} However, because of that, I know what it feels like to be hurt by the church. To have the same people you and your family have poured their lives into turn around and hurt you the most. I know how it feels to be lied about, and have my father and my family slandered by people we trusted. I know what it feels to walk into church and feel like everyone is talking about you. I know how it feels to find out people who supported your family and the ministry have walked out on you, again. I know how it feels to be hated by people who sit in the pew in front of you week after week. I know how it feels to have Bible verses taken out of context, twisted, and used against you. I know how it feels when people attempt to destroy you.

And it’s not just pastor’s kids who have dealt with abuse from church members. I’ve heard worse stories. I’ve heard stories of single pregnant girls being kicked out of churches even after they have repented and want to move forward doing right. I have heard stories of people kicking women out of the church because they divorced their cheating/porn addicted husbands. I’ve heard stories of manipulation, and abuse, and even molestation.

All these things happening inside the church walls.

Where was God? What can we learn? And how can we move forward?

Screen Shot 2015-12-30 at 11.58.14 AMFirst of all, it is never God’s plan for someone to be a victim inside the body of Christ; and God does not turn a blind eye to sin. He was not busy or distracted when this was going on. He was there. His heart breaking. He saw it all. Bad people make bad choices, but God is still good. Because of free will, and just like anywhere, there are bad people. Bad people who claim to be Christians. Bad people who can quote every verse in the Bible. Bad people who endear themselves to good people and claim innocence when it is their mission to destroy the people of God and the ministry of God for their own selfish, twisted reasons, and they will not go unpunished.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galations 6:7

Secondly, because the world is sin-sick, we must be wise. Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in church. (Almost, literally) Some of the best people I have ever known and will ever know, have been in my church. People who have helped me grow, and seen me through the worst times and the best times. The church as a whole is not broken. The church as a whole is the beautiful representation of Christ on earth. But you and I both know that wicked people are very good at “faking it.” Claiming to be of God, but seriously lacking in their fruit.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:16-20

We must be wise with who we let into our lives, who we trust with our hearts, who we allow near our children, and who we must set boundaries for. You never, ever have to let yourself be taken advantage of or hurt by someone in the church just because they claim to be Christian. You never ever have to allow people access to your children that you are uncomfortable with. You never, ever have to continue in an abusive situation. Ever. Period. We have to have our eyes open and we have to trust the Holy Spirit when He tells us something is not quite right.

We must determine that no one will feel unloved or unwelcome, hurt or abused, by our hands. We, as Christians need to step up our game in loving the unloved and reaching the lost. Reaching people who very well may have already suffered at the hands of wicked people. Just because we were hurt doesn’t give us the right to hurt others; and it also doesn’t give us the right to lose our compassion for them.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35

So how can we move forward? Understand that God is not people. People have hurt me. But God never has. Never. He is faithful to His word. He loves us unconditionally. He sees us as spotless through the blood of his son. He always does what is best for us. He always wants to see us grow in grace and in truth. He left his home in heaven and was abused on our behalf. He endured the shame and the bitterness and the hatred and the weight of the sin of the entire world that we could be his children. We simply have no right to give up on Him because of the abuse we may have suffered. 

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11

Cling to His promises, and cover yourself with his love. Get up every day determined to show the world his grace and his truth, not only with your lips but with your life. Love and serve Him with all that you have because He is good and He is worthy, and no one here on earth, in the church or out, can ever change that.

 

11 comments

  1. Very encouraging read! Some of the best people I’ve known have been from my church, some of the worst people I’ve met have also been at my church. Thankfully, the good people have outnumbered the bad in my case. I am very blessed to be part of a loving church. We’re not perfect but for the most part, we love God and each other.

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  2. This is a great post Lauren!
    Here are my thoughts: The Church has too much drama, money schemes, and politics. Which is understandable, after all it is made of people. I do believe though that the Church is broken. And my experience in church has only fueled that belief. In my mind the Church is supposed to be a safe haven. A place to worship the Lord and feel welcomed. Not a place to hear politics in the Sunday sermon. Not a place to be lectured on giving money. But a place that wants to better humans and bring them closer to the Lord. As I have seen firsthand though, that is not the purpose of the majority of churches. I often wonder what Jesus Christ would do if He visited a church right now, I believe His reaction would be a lot like Mark 11:15-17.

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  3. How appropriate this post is! We were victims of this because of a dispute between my uncle and the pastor. The members turned nasty and their true colours were revealed. Instead of allowing the devil to control the situation we held onto the promises of God and simply fellowshipped at another church which I am so happy to call home 6 years later! ☺😊

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  4. Thank you for writing this. As a minister’s wife, I have been through this several times. I’ve watched my husband and children take arrows from brothers and sisters in the church. The heartbreak and devastation left behind when one of God’s children is hurt, is phenomenal and often causes that hurt child to walk away from God. I hope and pray that we can be an encouragement to those who have been hurt and help them find peace with our Savior, who never forsakes us and who loves us eternally.

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  5. Thanks so much for this post. I think these are some of the truths that people love to cover up and pretend that are non-existent. Thank you for shedding light on the truth and how God can be glorified nevertheless. After all the church consists of people, and people aren’t perfect but God is. May He always be the head of His church!

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  6. Love this! One of the greatest truths my Pastor ever shared with me is that even Jesus had the opportunity to be hurt in church! It was the “church people” that went after Him, but He responded with love, forgiveness & truth. The perfect example!

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  7. SUCH a great article! I started following your blog last month; your honesty and wisdom is honestly so refreshing – Love your stuff!
    Ps. Thank you for not beating around the bush, as a single christian girl your blog has done wonders in changing my perspective on a lot of things!

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  8. Oh my goodness I read this and could not stop crying I went to a confrence held at my church today and one of the female leaders kept looking at me in this mean way like she was frowning and disapproving with her eyebrows creasing like she was annoyed by my very presence its really odd, she greets people and walks pat me she is the pastors wife. I am presently praying about weather I should leave that church but I don’t want to be hasty as no church is perfect anyway however I do feel a strong pull to leave and the word is taken out of context quite a lot, sometimes its really bibical other times two verses are read and opinions voiced more than scripture which worries me.

    I prayed about it before and she seemed ok with me now its back to square one and I am already struggling with other things personally sometimes I feel like I cannot do this christian walk like I’m not strong enough to deal with people like that, you can choose to love someone but if they reject you and are not excepting your efforts it just won’t work no matter how hard you pray. I am optimistic that something will give God has told me he is taking me in a different career direction and to trust him so I’m excited about the pleasent suprise he has for me.

    Its just hard for me I just want us to love each other the way the bible says we should it seems worlds away and no matter how much things improve it goes back to sqaure one it has now stopped improving I got dirty looks from this person today I’m quite shocked as you wouldnt expect to get that from an assistant pastor but I feel more than ever God could be moving me out of that church.

    Please pray for me I’m going through a lot Iv’e also been missing my dad who passed away from lung cancer in 2007 we were very close, I’m also struggling with my singlness as I trun 30 April its been an emotion filled few months for me and very hard.

    Thanks for reading this. x

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