I’m starting to think that “church hurt” is a lot like miscarriage. It’s way more common than we would ever imagine but no one talks about it.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I had a dinner date that made me rethink my entire book idea…Devoured a book that blew up my old “cult” and it’s leader…And am in the middle of another book focused on spiritual abuse.
I feel like I have been thrown ten miles up into space and am looking down with a new, much wider perspective.
What do these have in common? What is the theme that is emerging in my mind?
Broken people break other people, all within the supposed “safety” of Christianity.
I can think of at least five stories right off the top of my head of people who were deeply hurt by Christians in church or ministry situations. I’m sure that each of you reading this have stories you could share…about your own hurt or people you know who have been wounded.
But, like the pain of miscarriage, we don’t talk about it. Words like “gossip” and “bitterness” may stop us…or maybe we are trying to “protect God’s name.” I don’t know. But I do know this, Noticing a problem does not make you the problem. That might be my favorite quote from the book I am reading called, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.”
It’s not new. If we look at the Bible we can see it’s been happening for thousands of years. False prophets leading people astray with promises of pretend peace… Pharisees laying burdens of impossible rules on people… As Solomon says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9.)
Guys, here’s the absolute truth: We are ALL broken people who are capable of causing terrible hurt. Even as Christians, we all have the capacity to inflict deep wounds in other people. Each one of us is in desperate need of Jesus!
- We need His forgiveness.
- We need His Spirit to be at work, restoring, convicting, and empowering us.
- We need His grace.
- We need to be aware of our need for grace, so that we can in turn extend grace to others.
And do you know what else? We are all passionately and scandalously LOVED by the God who made us. We are ADORED right where we are at, warts, wrinkles, blemishes and all. Jesus sees and understands our broken hearts, not just our outward actions. He gets us at a level no human will ever comprehend. He wants us to be His friends.
The hurt that people have inflicted in the name of Christianity is in complete opposition to the real God who exists.
Isn’t that good news?
Stay tuned. I’ve got more. My heart is bubbling over.