Recovering from Christian vs Christian Spiritual Hurt
In this article, we will review how to recover from Christian vs Christian Spiritual Hurt
Spiritual Hurt Heals Through Transparency
I’m going to be extraordinarily transparent in this article. As a preacher and current Pastor, I believe transparency is the way we all heal. There’s something about being “open” which allows the realness of our hurt to manifest.
This does not suggest it is less real if you do not speak it. However, this acknowledges its seriousness.
Church hurt is reality for any Believer. Having Pastored for some years now, those who have not experienced church hurt are either not engaged or delusional.
Here is something we all should accept - Believers both intentionally and unintentionally hurt others!
The Bible says (1st John 1:8):
We don’t follow Jesus because we are perfect. Believers submit ourselves to Christ because we know we’re not.
So many have been discouraged away from the presence of the Lord because of sinful church people. More hurtful to me, is when “the lost” discover why they are alive, come to Jesus Christ, and are ran-away by HYPOCRITES!
When I first began to Pastor, I reached out to people who had left our congregation prior to my arrival. One visit stayed with me even though this person is long dead.
I asked this brother to come back.
He told me what happened between he and the former Pastor as well as another man ‘hitting’ on his wife. Of course, I was outraged! However, and not to excuse such conduct, all of us fall short of the glory of God.
Even the text indicates (Romans 3:22-24):
Although hitting on someone’s wife, in the house of God, is another level of stupid, Jesus will still forgive that. This man died having never come back to the house of God. He did not attend church anywhere else either.
I am not speaking on his spiritual condition at death.
He may have repented and received forgiveness. The Scripture further tells us: “if we do not forgive we will not be forgiven.”
Nevertheless, being spiritually wounded in a place dedicated to “safety” is discouraging to say the least. The source of the hurt can be especially relevant as well.
Being hurt by another congregant is one thing. When it is the church leader nevertheless, it takes on a whole other level of seriousness. No worries - God’s word clearly explains what He will do to the shepherds who scatter the sheep of His flock!
My Pastor Spiritually Destroyed Me
Before diving into Holy Ghost strategies to heal from spiritual abuse, I will reveal my most painful church experience. As a preacher, I served under a Pastor who had been voted out of a church for standing on righteousness.
He was deeply affected by the experience. Anyone would be!
There are jobs we love so much in corporate America that when we lose them, we never recover. How much more being a servant in the Kingdom of God?
Over the next seven (7) or eight (8) years I served with Pastor; his spiritual condition steadily declined. During this time, he recommended me for a job at a Christian organization he worked for.
I interviewed and received the position I applied for.
A few years later I was promoted to be Director of the entire facility. This allowed me a level of access to executive leadership previously impossible.
Due to such closeness, I had to confront my boss because of his unholy, racist, and obscene conduct.
This organization’s executive leadership claimed followship of Jesus, so accountability was to be expected – or so I thought. My supervisor sought to destroy me personally for being bold enough to call him out.
As things escalated, he got desperate and went to my Pastor, who worked at the organization but in another department. He knew Pastor had influence over my actions and sought to leverage that relationship for his personal benefit.
I cannot remember who told me Pastor was collaborating with this man to destroy me. However, God brought it to the light anyhow. After having lost his first church, Pastor was desperate to regain the prestige (and money) he’d lost.
My pay rate was higher than his, much higher to be more specific, and he wanted what I had. Pastor had my confidence, so I shared private things with him, and he shared those things with my enemies.
Although I don’t remember who told me about this wicked scheme, I doubted its veracity. I went to Pastor and asked if this was true?
For the first time in our many years relationship, he would not look directly at me when speaking.
In lieu of looking me in the eye, he continued to stare at a computer screen. He was almost “dismissive” which Pastor never had been prior.
The next words he spoke destroyed me and rattled my faith in a way I cannot describe.
I asked: “Pastor - is this true?” He replied: “brother I’m not going to talk about that right now.” That was all the answer I needed.
During his financial distress and inability to provide adequately for his wife and three (3) toddlers, my family made direct payments on his vehicle. Further, so terrible was his credit and financial situation, we had to sign for his vehicle, or it would have been repossessed.
For those thinking: “you are the fool so why are you complaining?” Pastor has been fired from a church for standing on the Word of Jesus Christ. Up until this time, about six (6) years later, he yet remained so!
I would never, and have never, supported a church leader whom I knew to be crooked! When someone stands for what is right, like Pastor, I will whole-heartedly support them with all I have.
On the opposite side of the fence, when someone is a crooked leader, I come at them with the whole council of the Word of God as well!
All the loyalty we had shown him was repaid with utter betrayal.
My rage was so elevated at this revelation, I thought to kill him, literally. However, he was still God’s anointed even in his sorry state.
I was hurt in a way that I still cannot describe more than a decade removed. This does not say I have not forgiven Pastor for his spiritual abuse. Only that my trust in him was/is gone and we left his church hurt and destroyed.
I point this out so that you understand I totally get where you are at.
Spiritual Wounds are Worse When We Expect too Much
I am not saying you should expect to be hurt by other people. I have relationships with people who have never harmed me. At least, not in ways I know!
However, if you’ve been hurt by a leader and were destroyed (like me), it is because you put them on a pedestal on which they did not belong. Those of us God set apart to lead His people will suffer terribly for scattering them in spirit.
Listen to God’s Word on the matter (Jeremiah 23:1-2):
This Pastor has done terrible things even beyond destroying me. I mentioned his loss of his first pastorate, but I didn’t mention after we parted ways, he lost another.
This time, it was well-earned and for doing some of the same things he’d done to us.
However, much of my hurt occurred because I put him somewhere he did not belong.
I am a preacher/Pastor of the gospel. I know a perfect man, apart from Jesus Christ, does not exist. Pastor’s many flaws became evident to me over the years I served with him.
Although I did not imagine he could try to destroy me and my family, I should have considered its possibility. Considering my wife warned me about this man a few years before the incident, the fault lies with me.
It wasn’t even his massive flaws either because we all have them. It was the total lack of repentance that was absolutely breath taking! This is what hurt most – I confronted him, and he not only refused to repent, but he also wouldn’t acknowledge any wrong.
Further, his wife subtly attacked me as well never knowing what her husband had done. I thought to tell her but for what? It would only cause more confusion and I am sure she knows who she is married to.
We should not expect church leaders to be perfect. What we should expect is them to remain ‘perfectly repented.’
This means that all of us must stay in front of God with our sin.
What I am suggesting is that you prepare to be disappointed by whomever you put up on a pedestal as well. One of my dear preacher friends delivered a sermon about disappointment.
He made the point that “no one has disappointed him as much as he’s disappointed himself.”
That was life-changing for me!
We seek to blame other people for hurt and disappointment when the reality is we fallen short before God as well.
Healing from church hurt requires you not expecting perfection you cannot achieve either.
Christian vs. Christian Hurt Occurs Because of Self-Delusion
Healing from Christian vs. Christian hurt requires acknowledging how easily deceived we are.
So much is made about Eve being deceived by the serpent. However, we are just as easily deceived by less cunning spirits!
Remember this conversation (Genesis 3:1-3):
This sort of deceit keeps repeating itself when we do not accept accountability.
Therefore, getting over spiritual hurt requires accepting responsibility for our part in it. I am not suggesting every time church hurt occurs we had a part in it, however.
If you did not have a part, do not take responsibility! However, was there something which seemed off?
Did the Spirit, through others, warn you of what was coming, and you ignored Him? Did you choose to think ‘positive’ rather than ‘realistically’?
My wife had long ago told me to be careful with Pastor. She was wise enough not to come out and say anything more because I would never have accepted it. I was warned, didn’t listen, and thus got hurt.
How could I not bear some responsibility?
We must see one another as what we truly are - sinful people who fall short of God’s glory from time to time. In falling short of His glory, we hurt others.
Let us strive to take responsibility and thus remove the shame which so long lingers.
Some Christian Hurt is Warranted
Whoa! That title says a mouth full so let me explain. Some who will read this have experienced ‘earned’ church hurt.
Church hurt also happens when we did something which deserves righteous correction, and we swell up with pride.
The Bible clearly says that we are to exhort and challenge one another with the Word of God. The hurt some feel at being corrected, therefore, is pride. The Bible says that pride is leads us off a cliff.
This same pride, misinterpreted, has sent many out of the House of God because they were loved enough to be corrected.
Although I cannot claim to have run away from being corrected by the Word, I understand it’s not comfortable. Yet I have found those things most uncomfortable to be most beneficial in my walk with Jesus.
Our faith grows when challenged and these are often places of discomfort. It then makes sense that our faith cannot grow if we remain comfortable.
As you count the numerous instances of church hurt, ask yourself the hard questions about where the fault really lies. What you will find is if you have been in church for multiple years, a few of those instances was not genuine church hurt.
The Bible says: “God corrects and disciplines those He loves.” Are you so arrogant to believe God loves you but won’t send another believer to correct you?
It is my prayer that something here will begin the process of you dealing with church hurt. Regardless, please don’t stay away from the house of God for too long. This is a trick of the devil.
He understands your hurt will blind you to what you most need - the prayers and comfort of the Saints.
I’m not trying to marginalize your hurt but please understand, we have been hurt and have hurt others.
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