Have you ever heard of the term “Church Hurt?”
I’ve experienced church hurt before. I’ve been hurt in at least three different churches that I can think of. At the first church I went to, the choir director befriended me and after gaining my trust, he tried to sexually harass me. He would call me late at night, send me inappropriate text messages, and when we would greet each other at church, I would extend my hand out to him for a handshake, but he would lean in and give me the longest and most uncomfortable embrace. I hated going to that church because I didn’t want to run into him. At the second church I went to, the members there pretty much shunned me because I refused to believe in the false doctrine they taught. They didn’t believe in hell, they didn’t allow me to take communion because they said I wasn’t part of the “elected”, they didn’t believe that Jesus was God, they didn’t believe in the Holy Spirit as a person, and when I told them that God still talks to people in this generation, they rebuked me. They made me feel confused. And at the third church I went to, some of the members of that congregation slandered my name, gossiped about me behind my back and wouldn’t fellowship with me because of my past experiences with homosexuality. I felt like I didn’t fit in among them. And the rejection caused me to feel ashamed.
But none of those experiences pushed me away from God. God didn’t do any harm to me; He’s been only good to me. I can’t turn my back on Him because of Man’s imperfections and shortcomings. My experiences in the church only caused me to grow closer to God, because Scriptures tell me that if God is for me, who can be against me? And by drawing closer to God, I ended up receiving a deeper revelation of the love of God.
Love is not easily offended or angered. Love holds no records of wrong. Love forgives 70×7. Love never fails. God taught me how to forgive the church member who sexually harassed me. He taught me how to pray for those who led me astray with their false doctrine, that God would show them the truth. And he taught me how to love past the contempt I was receiving from those in the church who judged me because of my past life.
As believers who have experienced church hurt, we have to learn not to take things so personal. We have to learn to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Because at the end of the day, being bitter and unforgiving will not get you into heaven. Walking away from God because of “church hurt” isn’t going to get you into heaven. But walking in the perfect love of Jesus Christ will get you into heaven.
1 John 4:17
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.