#ChurchHurt: It was a trending hashtag last week and it’s been a trending topic for years, so much so that I believe some have become numb to the reality of its pain.
The church, especially for African Americans, has been a safe haven, but the church, unfortunately, is the place where we sometimes experience betrayal, disappointment, hurt, and embarrassment. Each of these experiences can drive a wedge between the victim and the church, as well as between the victim and God. Ultimately, that’s what the enemy desires. If Satan successfully keeps you from church, then most likely, he can keep you from God. Likewise, if Satan can interfere with your relationship with God, he will most likely keep you from the church. And when he does either, he chips away at your confidence, trust, and self-esteem and hinders you from using your gifts and talents for God’s kingdom.
I remember my Vacation Bible School teachers having a conversation about an upcoming family reunion, stating that all the kids were part of an upcoming family reunion except Chaunte. You don’t see a problem so far, right? The hurt came when I observed the whispers and low-key laughter. It may not seem like such a big deal as you read that, but as a kid, it was a big deal to me. It was one of those let-me-hide-under-a-rock moments as a fatherless child because even though I was young, I was old enough to know what the whispers were pertaining to. Let me make it clear that the private joke was not about me being fatherless, but about who my father is.
Yes, children experience church hurt too. And, I believe, church hurt experiences may cause you to shut down and suffer in silence. Let me be transparent. Having experienced repeated church hurt as an adult, I know this to be true.
Yeah, I know, the church is not a perfect place and it is made up of imperfect people. As imperfect people, we sometimes hurt others and when it happens in the church, it’s referred to as church hurt. I suffered in silence for years, at times losing my peace of mind and confidence and kept silent when I should have spoken up. I realized later that it was the enemy’s desire for me to keep my mouth closed so that I would not confidently speak God’s truth, reaching others for Christ.
You’ve probably heard many times before that hurt people hurt people. I heard fellow advocate Crystal Ruffner say during an interview this summer that “restored people restore people.” When restoration outweighs the pain, you must move forward in helping others heal.
Could it be that people in the church haven’t dealt with their past church hurt or bad church experience and therefore are hurting others rather than restoring them? It’s time that we talk about church wounds so that we, particularly as leaders, can teach how to overcome church hurt and stop saying get over it. Our churches are filled with hurt people and sometimes from the pulpit we add to their pain, pointing out their wrongs that we’re aware of rather than offering biblical solutions for them to correct their wrongs and process their pain.
I pray that these 7 steps to overcome church hurt will be helpful to you.
As a fatherless daughter, how have you experienced church hurt? Let’s talk. Send me a message or leave a comment below.