A few years ago, I heard someone mention the term “church hurt” and they began to explain how many people don’t attend a church because of past church hurts…
It’s funny how you don’t really get some things until they happen to you. Abstract concepts take on new meanings when they become concrete in our lives.
One of the greatest hurts that I have felt within the church is betrayal. It’s weird because I have felt betrayed by friends, family and business associates but for some reason a spiritual betrayal seems to rock your core.
How does this hurt occur? Usually as a result of gossiping and speculation.
Betrayal in essence occurs when someone that you trust behaves in a way that makes you unable to continue trusting them. Either they say something about you that is not true or that was told to them in confidence or they do something that hurts you whether that action is intentional or not.
I believe ministers, spiritual leaders and church people hurt others more than family, friends and business people because many of us view the church as a scared place. We think that the people who are supposed to represent God take that charge seriously. We believe that they have our best interest at heart and genuinely want to help us become better. Sadly, that isn’t always the case because the church is filled with humans, which means that regardless of their title, they are imperfect.
When you are fresh in the spirit, I think you are even more vulnerable to becoming a victim of church hurt because you don’t really understand the dynamics and politics of “church”. In theory, we view the church as a sanctuary of Holy people carrying out the will of God but in actuality, that’s not always the case. There are all kinds of people in the church doing all kinds of things in and out of the name of God.
I’m wrestling with overcoming a church hurt and I have to continuously pray for guidance in dealing with the situation because I am sure when I confront the person they will apologize and all should be well but to me, the incident is symptomatic of a larger issue. A part of me knows that I shouldn’t be surprised because this person is human and I can’t expect perfection from anyone but the human part of me is disappointed because I held this person in a high esteem and wonder if they can be restored. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t idolize this person but I believed that they were sincere in the things they said to me and now when I talk to them I find myself wondering about the sincerity of everything they say.
** Don’t worry… this incident won’t prevent me from believing in God, attending church and doing the work that I feel is my calling ;)
Outside of praying about a situation… how would you get over a church hurt? Do you think church hurt is different from the other hurts we suffer in our lives?