This is the final post in our series When People Hurt You. Throughout the last 8 weeks, we’ve talked about shedding false guilt, losing a victim mentality, accepting life as unfair, choosing to forgive, rebuilding inner strength, and the steps to move forward from the past. Each of the posts cover emotional pain from all forms of rejection and betrayal.
But in this final week, I feel it’s important to cover the very sensitive topic of being hurt by the church. It’s something that happens far too often – especially in the current atmosphere of division attacking our country and sadly, our church.
Now is a great time to pull out your Journal & Growth Guide and reference page 19. If you are new here and haven’t gotten started with us, it’s never too late. It is a go-at-your-own-pace series that you can start or stop at any time. Get your free Journal & Growth Guide HERE!
Finding Jesus in the Broken Church
The warmth inside suddenly felt cold. The peace that fell upon your shoulders as you walked through the doors, now resembled anxiety. Your heart heavy. Your joy no longer there.
You had served with passion and felt excited as you contributed to the ministry within your church. It was your happy place. Your safe place.
But someone within the church had changed that. Someone you trusted had betrayed you.
Now your trust was broken and with it went your desire to serve and be a part of the community.
So you left and said, “Enough of the Church. I don’t need it to love Jesus.”
But, sweet friend, I’m pressed to ask you a hard question. Even though you don’t need the church to love Jesus, are you continuing to grow closer to Him as you walk? Or … have are you slowly started falling away?”
Because, you see, finding Jesus isn’t about the church building. Rather, it’s about the pace in which we follow Jesus when we lean in and worship Him.finding Jesus isn't about the Church building. Rather, it's about the pace in which we follow Jesus when we lean in and worship Him. #momentsofhope #Jesus Click To Tweet
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT
I recently read a statistic that said there are 22 million people in the United States who claim their faith matters significantly, but yet have walked away from the church because of a hurt encountered there.
We have too many wounded believers limping through life not experiencing the full transformation available in the Name of Jesus! And the sad fact is they are limping from the wounds inflicted upon them from within the walls of the church. The very church meant to spread the light and love of Jesus to the world, equip believers as disciples, and be a sanctuary for the broken-hearted and weary.
It’s a sad statistic, but it makes all the sense in the world to me.
We are the walking wounded. Struck by the world in which we live. We are seeking safety and because we know that in the arms of Jesus we find safety, we assume the church and the arms of Jesus are the same. When betrayal happens in the church, we are caught off guard and disillusioned. We ask ourselves, “How could it happen here?”
But where else would the enemy love more to strike? The church has the potential to do great things for God and for His children. Therefore it is the enemy’s prime target. He wants nothing more than to drive a spear through the heart of the church, divide it, and watch it fall.
And let’s look at what Jesus says. He doesn’t say once you are saved you will never sin again. We are all sinners, whether saved or not. We will still slip up and fall short. That is why we need Him
Every. Single. Day.
But if we are all still sinners falling short, we must realize that the Church is still filled with sinners, too. If there was betrayal within the select group of 12 that Jesus chose as His disciples, how can there not be betrayal within our churches today?
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. -Matthew 26: 14-16 NLT
If we search, we will find treasures. Among those who allow selfishness to lead their lives, we will find the ones living a life lead by the Holy Spirit. A life fueled by love and sacrifice.
When we are estranged from the church, we miss out on those people. The ones getting it right. We miss out on the ones who will reach out, sacrifice, and love us. The ones who will reach across, pray on our behalf, and come alongside us in our darkest moments to lend a physical or spiritual hand.
And we will miss out on opportunities for finding Jesus.If we leave the church because of who is getting it wrong, we miss out on those getting it right ... #hope #findingJesus #church Click To Tweet
Growing in relationship with anyone means getting to know them well. I think of my mom and dad who have been married for 64 years. Their relationship takes my breath away. The way they love and understand each other. And know each other’s very thoughts. Every year they grow closer and love more. It took time, talking together, experiencing the ups and downs of life together, arguing and laughing.
That’s how we find Jesus. We stay in close communion with Him, learning about Him through our own experiences and the experiences of others. When we read His Word and see His redeeming love in action, we grow in relationship.
I love my church. It provides a place to find those people getting it right and it gives me the opportunities to see my good Father in action. It keeps me from getting lazy with my faith and pushes me to know Jesus more each day. Even in churches where I was hurt, I still carry deep relationships with some of those people who were getting it right.
It’s as though God seals those friendships born out of pure hearts and a thirst for Him.
Finding Jesus may look different for you than me. It may be a large building, a small building, or an area without walls. It may be thousands, hundreds, or a handful of believers. That doesn’t matter.
But what does matter is finding Jesus.
In your current setting, are you growing closer to Him? Are you walking a life that reflects His love? His glory? His righteousness? Are you following where He is leading?
I know your journey is solely yours. If your hurt caused you to walk away from the church, my heart grieves with you. I am so sorry for that travesty. And I know Jesus weeps with you. Your hurt grieves Him and the betrayal enrages Him. I know that His desire was and is for a church that lifts up, loves, encourages, empowers, teaches and disciples others.
But I can encourage you only by saying, don’t give up hope. God has a community of believers for you. When you choose Jesus, He will open and close the doors guiding you to where He calls you. As you search for that place, there are some thoughts to keep in mind. I’ve come up with 7 of them, but I would love for you to share others you have found helpful!7 tips for engaging in a church community #hope #betrayal #relationships Click To Tweet
Thank You for creating the Church. You wired us for community and knew we would need fellow believers cheering us along life’s road helping us stay true to Your path. You are the head of the church and Your desire is that it be a place to worship You and serve others in love. But our sin messes all that up.
Within our churches are those who come fueled with envy and rivalry. They are members of leadership and of the body. Lord, I ask You to heal the broken in them. I know full well the enemy doesn’t want anyone increasing Your Name and bringing forth new believers. Protect our leaders, Pastors, and their families as the enemy loves to see their character slashed and their motives destroyed. I also pray for a spirit of discernment within our leadership as they hire new staff and as they raise up new servant ministers. Let their spirits be sensitive to divisive or corrupt spirits that have come with wrong motives.
Protect the humble of spirit. Protect those wanting nothing more than to serve and love You. For those who have been hurt, I ask for their healing right now and that, in the Name of Jesus, they be freed from the chains of betrayal. That the enemy does not win by keeping them out of the church and out of community. Above all, I ask that You impress upon our hearts and minds that our focus be choosing You. I thank You for Your grace, Your hope, and Your redemption. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. AmenWhen you are hurt by the Church and don't know which way to turn-Just Choose Jesus. #findingJesus #hope Click To Tweet
You can find me linking up with these encouraging websites!
Join Me for the Series!
When People Hurt You: Rising Above the Emotional Pain of Rejection and Betrayal is a series that looks into the Word of God as a guide to not just surviving, but rising victoriously over hurt. Each week I address a new aspect of rejection and betrayal that serves to keep us stuck in the pain rather than moving forward to where we want to be. (If you missed a post, then you can get caught up HERE or click on an image below!)
Also, I’ve created a Scripture Based Journal and Growth Guide that corresponds to each weekly devotional post giving you an opportunity to go deeper and make each lesson more meaningful.
This journal along with a set of printable Scripture Cards to give you hope is now in the Library of Hope! If you have already subscribed to our community, jump on over and grab your copy! If you haven’t subscribed, what are you waiting for? 🙂 Just use the form below for your access to the Library of Hope and this journal!