It’s the elephant in the room that no one likes to mention. The topic of conversation that many choose to avoid. But it’s there. It’s real. And it’s emotionally painful. So, let’s talk about it.   Church Hurt.   If you have ever felt offended, betrayed, abandoned, ridiculed, or dealt with controversy within a […]

Church Hurt: Trusting God through Emotional Wounds

 

It’s the elephant in the room that no one likes to mention.

The topic of conversation that many choose to avoid.

But it’s there. It’s real. And it’s emotionally painful.

So, let’s talk about it.  

Church Hurt.

 

If you have ever felt offended, betrayed, abandoned, ridiculed, or dealt with controversy within a church or ministry, which has either led you to be angry, distrusting toward and convinced to leave, then you have experienced hurt from a church.

There are many people today, both Christians and non-Christians alike, who have dealt with this type of emotional wound and, unfortunately, many who still suffer silently. It’s easy to expect pain and disappointment in life, but what do you do when those who are devout Christians, who serve God alongside you, have caused it?

You’re not alone.

God knows what you’ve been dealing with and will help you through it. Although the coined term is not directly stated in the Bible, being hurt by other brothers and sisters in Christ is acknowledged, as well as how to handle it.     

1. Draw Near to God

No matter how we feel, we should always come to God with our problems and our cries. He is Our Creator, Our Healer, and Our Provider. God can fix what no man can’t. Choosing to give up on God, or church altogether is not fair to Him. Don’t allow a human’s mistake to twist your perception of who God is.

Remember that Jesus Christ, too, was ridiculed, mocked, and falsely accused. That didn’t stop Him from loving, from praying, nor distract Him from what He was called to do. So, if you need to, go ahead and cry it out, pour out your heart in prayer or a journal to God. Fall at His feet and express your pain to Him. Then, allow Him, through the Holy Spirit, to comfort and heal you [Matthew 11:28-30].

2. Forgive

Yes, you may be in a lot of pain. Yes, it may be difficult. And yes, you have a right to be angry. We must understand that forgiveness doesn’t mean your offender was not wrong, but instead that you’ve decided to extend grace and release the person(s) and situation from burdening you mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Why? It is because Christ forgave us. Think of a time you were in the wrong, and someone or God forgave you. What a joyous feeling. As Christians, we are called to forgive, to be forgiven [Ephesians 4:32].

Understand that humans can disappoint, even righteous ones. Stop wasting time on the should’ve/could’ve/would’ve and give it to God. We (myself included) have to be careful not to put Christians, especially pastors and those in the leadership of a church, on a pedestal. They’re humans too, meaning they’re still susceptible to making mistakes. Even if someone in the church doesn’t acknowledge or agree that they’re at fault, your decision to forgive is beneficial for your healing process and spiritual growth.

3. Turn to the Word

The Bible serves as our manual for all of life’s issues, especially in dealing with emotional pain and conflict. The New Testament, for example, is composed of many of the Apostle Paul’s letters to churches that were dealing with internal issues, many of which were indeed disagreements amongst church members. A few solutions throughout scripture include:

 

– To first examine ourselves [1 Corinthians 11:28]

 

-Bare and share our burdens with one another [Galatians 6:1]

 

– To remember we are forgiven through grace [Ephesians 2:1-5]  

 

– Not to worry, but to instead seek understanding through prayer [Philippians 4:6]

 

Read God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit guide you on how to resolve the matter. If you’ve already taken the concern to the offender and the church [Matthew 18:15-17] and done all that you could do, leave the rest in God’s hands. Afterward, if you feel led to leave and join a different church ministry, pray on it and seek confirmation through the Holy Spirit. Our feelings and emotions may be strong, but they can also be misleading. Make sure that whatever decision you follow through on, that it is of God, and not of your own accord.

Like a physical wound, emotional recovery takes time. It’s possible that your experience will build your character and faith, enabling you to comfort and minister to others going through what you’ve gone through and almost gave up on God. As I was inspired to write this article from my emotional healing journey, you too can remind someone else that there is no pain that God isn’t aware of, nor can’t heal us from, for He took it on for us.

~ Ashley R. Cottrell

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Ashley Cottrell

Ashley Cottrell

Interested in reading more of her work? Check out her blog: www.ashleyamor.com

With a B.A in English, Ashley Cottrell has written blogs for Virginia Bride Magazine, Bronze Mag, and has been a contributing writer for numerous other digital entities. Although a Virginia-native, Ashley resides in Puerto Rico fulfilling her passion as a freelance writer. She aims to use her gift of writing to inspire others and share the gospel of Christ. When she's not writing, you can find her nose-deep in a game of chess, Salsa dancing, or making homemade skin care products.
Ashley Cottrell

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