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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Seven Things to Remember When You Believe You Have Been Hurt by the Church

People are sometimes hurt by people in their churches. Many times they identified this hurt with the church rather than with the people who hurt them. Today, they lash out on Facebook or write blogs decrying the evil of the church. Unfortunately, other people copy these blogs and Facebook posts so that the message of a hurtful church travels around the globe. It hurts the church, the message of the gospel and those who are giving their all to bring people to Christ.

So, here are a few things for those who have been hurt to remember before they lash out.

The church didn't hurt you. It was a few people within the church.

Most of the people in church are loving, giving and seeking to walk with the Lord. They are unable to control the actions of those who are hateful, self-centered and judging. I have never been in a church that had more than a very few "trouble makers." They were loud and demanding but they didn't represent the church. They come to church because no one else will let them have their way. No one else will love them with their present attitude. Yes, the church would be better off without them so they gravitate to churches who are more loving and forgiving. The church accepts them just as they are.

Many of the hateful people in a church do not know the Lord.

It is easier to join a church than to be a member of the Country Club. The Country Club will demand dues and would not put up with the hateful actions of many. People learn the Christian lingo and become church members. They are baptized without any faith in Christ. They attend for social reasons and can spout enough of the "God bless you's" that the church accepts them into their fellowship. Anyone who examines them finds sexual immorality, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissections, envy, drunkenness, etc. These are all the fruit of the flesh. These are all evidence of someone who is far from the Lord or doesn't know Him at all. Unfortunately, every church probably has some of these people.

Most churches are doing their best to reach people with the gospel.

That means they are trying new things which may step on the traditions of some. The church is the only organization that I know of that also exists for those who have never entered the building. The pastor is probably reading what others are doing to grow their churches and is trying out as many of the ideas as he can. He has no intention of hurting anyone. He has no intention of allowing you to be hurt either. Maybe his best was not good enough for you but it was still his best.

The church is the Bride of Christ no matter what has happened to you.

The church is not a civic organization, a club or a shop. The church isn't even a group of people whose main aim is to make you happy. The church should be a fellowship of believers who are being prepared for Christ's return. I know that I don't like people criticizing my bride to others. I can't believe that Jesus likes it either.

Maybe you actually deserved what you got.

I know this is rough but think of it this way: I can't tell you how many times that I have broken the law while driving. I have rolled through stop signs, turned right on red without actually stopping, failed to look both ways before crossing an intersection and pushed the speed limit with all the other motorists. One night I was pulled over by an officer who noticed that my rear lights weren't burning. I had performed a funeral that day and no one told me that my lights were out. He gave me a ticket.

The next day I took my car to the shop to have it fixed. They discovered a short in the light switch. The lights were working some of the time. However, I still had a ticket (not a warning ticket). In this instance I didn't believe that the ticket was justified. However, I thought of all the times when a ticket was justified and decided that I deserved it.

God is using this experience to do something greater in your life.

I though of David when he was being cursed by Shimei.

2 Samuel 16:10-11 (ESV)
10  But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11  And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.

Could it be that the Lord is doing something in your life that couldn't have been accomplished otherwise. It may be something as simple as being humbled. It doesn't make what has happened to you good but it may be that God is about to do something magnificent if you will refrain from lashing out and put things in his hands.

God could be using your loving reaction to work in the life of the one who hurt you.

Maybe God needs to work on those who hurt you. Attacking them only justifies their actions. It often gets in the way of what He wants to do. God is always just but His justice is not always seen on this earth. He loves you and will demand justice for everything that has been done to hurt you. He doesn't expect us to live unscathed by the actions of the world. He expects us to walk with Him through all these things. The world cannot deny the testimony of a Christian who remains loving when faced with evil. Love changes the hateful. 

So, please refrain from lashing out at the church when you have been hurt. Instead, put your trust in Him who will relieve all hurt someday.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)
38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

This has been an interesting read.

I laughed when I have finished this part: "In this instance I didn't believe that the ticket was justified. However, I thought of all the times when a ticket was justified and decided that I deserved it."

What do you know, I sometimes looked at such, in the same way, too?!

What does it point to?
Does everyone think that way, often enough?
What kind of people would think that way?

Maybe, this other example, I will give, shares similar pointing (to), and gives us a clue to the other 2 questions -

Someone steps on your toe (literally!), what would you do?
Do you forgive the person who stepped on you?
Some of us, do, some would NOT, and would react nastily, even.

For those who forgive, why do they forgive?

For me, I forgive for 2 reasons, one got to do, directly with the faith - the high sounding one - "God forgave you, so must you forgive others", the second is simply, this - I also at times, stepped on someone's toe! And I would like the poor fellow to forgive me, too.

Actually, both are in Scripture, Col 3:13 & Matt 7:12 (the Golden Rule). The first is more peculiar to the Christian faith (we are a peculiar people, said Scripture), but I believe the second (the Golden Rule) is more generic, meaning even if you are NOT a believer or Christian, if you have had a decent upbringing, you would have known of this golden rule. Yet, more and more people have grown blatantly ignoring this. How would you like it, if you have stepped on someone's toe, to have him turn around and step back on your toe, and doubly hard at it, even, or punch you in the face?!

This (the above) is one angle to look at this subject, so that we would moderate our conduct (of lashing back). There are other angles to it.

One other angle is of course, "the one has NOT be transformed ENOUGH (YET) by the faith". By this I mean, they are NOT changed enough, yet, to be subscribing to the ways of the Lord. It is a process and time period, for some, is a long, long time, is required for transformation/sanctification.

The "instant noodle" notion is now even a theology of the Christian faith; and we wonder why there is great impatience and intolerance in the church.

It is bad enough that the instant noodle idea is rampant in the world and shaping people who walk into the church, it is even now, being promoted as the core theology of the faith. You see, this heretic teaching that is so very popular, that says that "you are done", is NOT helping at all. This teaching sourced in the hypergrace, actually projected, once you are a
Christian, you are a perfect saint, instantly.

"So, you, perfect saint, how can you hurt me!"

But the church is NOT a school of perfect saints, and so, it is NOT a place where there can't be chances of being hurt.

You, as a pastor, may say that you don't teach such; but many people are exposed to this lie. For in some countries, it is being televised 24/7. And so, the people already have the prejudice in them, before they step into the church.

Of course, another angle to this, is found in the Parable of the Wheat & the Tares. The church is, until the Christ returns, liken to be a field where there are the wheat and the tares in it. As a pastor, one should preach about this parable. It is to remind the pastor himself that he is NOT to try to weed out the tares, but it is also at the same time, to give understanding
to the congregation that there is a mix in the church, and we can only do so much, to avoid the impact of the existence of the tares.

Pastor, you have my sympathy. Tough job. What can I suggest further for

you? Find sanity, in the Lord.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions