I have kind of a theme going with the links I'm sharing this week. So many I know (myself included) have been hurt, wounded, bruised, and abused by their fellow believers, that their pain is something near and heavy on my heart. Even those (like me) who have found their way back to the fellowship of other believers still have many "issues" that often rear their ugly heads just when it feels like the healing is complete.
Fellowship and corporate worship are necessary parts of the Christian life. When we are hurt it's all too easy to turn away or believe the enemy's great lie..."It's not necessary to go to church to believe in God." No, it isn't necessary to go to believe, but it is necessary for growth, for accountability, for instruction, for refreshing. Sometimes we humans mess up and get it wrong and we hurt one another. It stinks, but that is when we have to learn to lean, not on our own understanding, but on God. And it's when we have to practice what we preach...Love thy neighbor.
Here are some good posts on the subject:
15 Reasons Why Community is Important....(Even If You've Been Hurt)
How to Keep From Getting Hurt in a Church
Hurt by the Church
Here's an entire blog devoted to the subject. Hurt by the Church?
Sadly, this list could go on and on. Do a simple search for "hurt by church" and the list of links is exhaustive. Clearly, this is something the modern church and believer is struggling with. As I'm healing and growing in my own relationship with the Lord, I'm wondering if the problem isn't one of focus. As in where we are focused. Most of the hurt seems to come from egos being flexed (do it MY way) and egos being hurt. I'm willing to admit that not all of my pain was because God's will was being corrupted...a lot of it was just about me and my feelings.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying feelings are bad or that it's wrong to feel hurt, but I am coming to believe that a lot of the hurt is because collectively we are not focused on God and the things of God. We've made church a human thing, subject to our laws and whims, and as such....it can fail. Big time.
What matters is what we do with our hurt. Do we let it cripple us and keep us from our loving Father? Do we allow it to fester and cause us to sin as we fail to love our brothers and sisters? Or do we ask God to teach us through the pain and help us to grow and know better the next time?