This post is all about Church hurt: what it is and how to deal with it
Have you ever been hurt by the Church?💔
If your answer is “yes”, then this post is dedicated to you.
If your answer is “no,” I hope you can still learn something from it. Why? Because church hurt can happen to anyone. I also pray that you will have the compassion to understand the weight of this topic.
Church Hurt is not something we should take lightly, as it can cause long-term pain and damage.
Fortunately, God is a loving Father who will always be with us on our journey toward healing.
Before I begin, I want to mention my stance on Church hurt:
- Any hurt or abuse in a Church is wrong!
- It has no place in any Christian community.
- Everyone deserves to feel safe, respected, and loved in their Church family.
I hope this post will help you find solace in knowing that Church hurt is real and that there are steps we can take to heal from it.❤️
What is Church hurt?
Church hurt is a term used to describe when an individual or group of individuals has experienced hurt, pain, disappointment, betrayal, and/or abuse from within the church environment.
It can manifest in both physical and emotional forms but is generally centered around wounded relationships with pastors, leaders, or other members of the Church.
How can a good God bring so much agony?
Friends, I saw this as a bumper sticker a few days ago.
For some, the agony of Church hurt can bring so many questions and profound sorrow.
Here are some things I want to mention about God & Church hurt.
- Church hurt isn’t the will of God to be experienced by any believers, yet sadly, many have gone through it in one form or another.
- God is a good Father who desires to protect His children from all harm and heartache.
- God cherishes us as His own beloved children and would like us to be free from the turmoil caused by Church hurt.
- The truth is, God isn’t the author of Church hurt.
- He cares deeply for those who have been hurt by their churches and longs to bring healing and restoration.
- The only cause of church hurt is human sin – our lack of love for one another, our pride, our selfishness. God hates it when His people sin against Him and each other; He doesn’t take any joy in it.
- We can be sure that Church hurt doesn’t reflect the nature and character of God. He is the ultimate healer and redeemer.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on our own actions and attitudes. Are we showing the love of Jesus in all we do? Are we caring for those who have been hurt by their churches? Let’s make sure that every Church is a place of safety, hope, and healing.
P.S. My post on suffering has more on this topic. It’s super encouraging. Please read the post after you’re done with this one. Here is the link: 31 Biblical Truths About Suffering and Why God Allows Suffering.
A special message to those who have Church hurt
If you have experienced Church hurt, I want to take a moment to emphasize and validate your feelings. It’s ok to feel hurt, angry, betrayed, and frustrated. All these are valid emotions that we have the right to feel.
However, don’t allow Church hurt to keep you away from the body of Christ or from Christ Jesus. Allow yourself to come back into the fold when you’re ready, and God will give you the strength to move forward.
Church hurt in the Bible
The Church of Corinth was one of the earliest churches, and it is an example of how church hurt can occur.
Paul wrote several letters to this Church, admonishing them for their behavior and addressing several issues, including divisions in the congregation.
Here are some of the issues the church had:
1. Divisions in the congregation:
In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth and addressed their divisions.
He was concerned that they were squabbling over pastors and teachers within their group rather than unifying in the larger mission of spreading God’s Word.
2. Sexual immorality:
As outlined in 1 Corinthians 5, the Church of Corinth was engaging in sexual sin.
Paul warned them in 1 Corinthians 6 not to be “so deceived and misled” by the immoral lifestyles of their society but to remain committed to holiness instead.
3. Abusing spiritual gifts:
In 1 Corinthians 12-14, Paul noted that the Church of Corinth was misusing spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and prophesying.
They were boasting about their abilities rather than using them to edify one another in the body of Christ.
4. Disputing Paul’s leadership and also False Prophets:
He reminded them that God had appointed him as an apostle to spread His Word and admonished them for disregarding his authority.
5. Making false accusations against Paul:
In 2 Corinthians 12:16-17, Paul addressed the fact that some had accused him of being deceitful and deceptive in his actions.
He argued that he was an honest messenger from God who sought to do His will and nothing else.
6. Refusing to take responsibility for their actions:
In 1 Corinthians 4:18–21, Paul confronted the Church of Corinth for their unwillingness to take ownership of their wrongdoings.
He reminded them that they must be accountable for their actions and accept responsibility for the consequences of those choices.
In verse 20, it states the following issues in the Church, “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder.”
As you can see, there were plenty of reasons for someone to become Church Hurt in the Church of Corinth. Sadly, a lot was going on.
Signs of church hurt
There are many possible examples or signs of Church Hurt, such as:
- Deconstruction of your faith (I will discuss this in the next section)
- Feeling like you no longer belong in the faith community
- A lack of accountability from leaders within the Church
- Feeling ignored or neglected by other members of the Church
- Being ostracized after going through a divorce or some other difficult life experience
- Being unable to serve in any capacity within the Church
- Having your faith in God and the Church shaken
- Feeling like you’ve been treated unfairly or unjustly by other members of the Church
- Being judged or criticized for personal choices
- Not feeling welcomed by other church members.
Some individuals may find themselves questioning and re-evaluating their faith as they go through the process of dealing with Church hurt.
Faith deconstruction is a process in which individuals break down and examine foundational elements that are driving their faith choices.
Faith deconstruction can be very dangerous to the faith of an individual who is already struggling with the hurt and pain that the Church has brought upon them. Why? Because it can lead to a slippery slope. If not done in a safe environment, it can easily lead to the abandonment of faith altogether.
“Disentangling Faith from Fear” – Jinger Duggar Vuolo
Another alternative to deconstructing is “Disentangling Faith from Fear,” coined by Jinger Duggar Vuolo.
I watched her explain this in an interview, and I totally loved the concept!
Let me explain…
Basically, this is a much healthier process that involves identifying the good elements of faith and acknowledging the bad. It’s a more constructive approach to dealing with hurt within Church and focusing on faith principles that are rooted in love rather than fear.
Instead of taking away from our beliefs, it adds to them by helping us determine what we truly value, motivating us to move closer toward Christ-like behavior. So while faith deconstruction can be a slippery slope, it’s important to note that there is an alternative.
Here’s a summary of what I love about Jinger’s concept, “Disentangling Faith from Fear”:
- Examine our Thoughts and Values: Disentangling Faith from Fear offers us the opportunity to examine our thoughts and values without altogether abandoning our faith.
- Faith vs. Personal Beliefs: It gives us a chance to separate what we have been told about faith from our personal beliefs, creating an environment of growth and progress.
- Clarity: This is an excellent way for individuals struggling with Church hurt to gain clarity about their faith journey and confidently move forward.
- Replace fear with love: We can also take steps to eliminate fear-based beliefs and replace them with principles rooted in love.
- Find what is valuable to us: By being intentional in our search, we can identify those elements of faith that are meaningful and valuable to us.
17 Tips on how to heal from church hurt
While Church Hurt can be incredibly painful and disheartening, there are steps you can take to help heal.
P.S. Please note that not all 17 steps may apply to everyone. Everyone experiences Church hurt differently, and finding out what works best for you is crucial. Some steps may need to be adapted or skipped in favor of other ones based on the person and situation.
Here are 17 of them:
1. Acknowledge your pain
Take a few moments to honestly reflect on the hurt you have experienced and acknowledge what it is that has caused this pain.
It’s important to give yourself permission to feel whatever emotions come up, as validating these feelings will help you move through the healing process.
2. Allow yourself to grieve
It’s natural and healthy to grieve the loss that may have come from your Church Hurt experience.
Grieving can take many forms, such as crying, journaling, talking with a trusted friend or family member, or simply allowing yourself to express how you feel in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
3. Be patient with yourself
Healing takes time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not feeling better right away.
Give yourself the grace and kindness that God has given you, and remember that it is through Him that we receive all spiritual and emotional healing.
4. Seek out supportive relationships
Finding others who have experienced similar Church Hurt can be a great source of comfort and healing.
Surrounding yourself with others who understand what you have been through and care for your well-being will help immensely in the healing process.
5. Give yourself grace
Church hurt can be incredibly painful and difficult, so give yourself the grace you need to cope with the emotions that come up. It’s ok not to be ok, so don’t be afraid to take the time and find ways to nurture yourself.
6. Lean into prayer
Pray for strength, comfort, and healing during this time of hurt. Prayer can be a powerful source of peace and support when you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
7. Don’t isolate yourself
Refuse to give in to the temptation to retreat from the world and escape your pain. Instead, reach out to trusted loved ones, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to process what you are going through, so consider doing this regularly until you start to feel the healing take place.
9. Take time for yourself
Make sure you stay connected with God and find regular ways to nurture your spirit. This could include taking a long walk, reading Scripture, or even just getting some extra rest when needed.
10. Seek professional help if needed
If you need additional support, consider reaching out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, who can provide an objective sounding board to help you work through your emotions.
11. Read the Bible for comfort and guidance
God’s Word is a source of hope, strength, and healing during times of distress.
Find Scripture passages that speak to your current situation, or read comforting stories as reminders that God is always with us in our struggles.
12. Reach out to trusted people (support groups)
Knowing you’re not alone in this be incredibly comforting when trying to. Reach out to others who have gone through similar experiences for advice and tips on moving forward in your healing journey.
13. Take time away from the Church
This will give you the opportunity to heal and process what happened without feeling judged or pressured. During this time, spend extra time in prayer and focus on rebuilding your relationship with God.
14. Find a new church home
If the hurt is too great to stay in the same faith community, find another church where you can rebuild your relationship with God and fellow believers.
Don’t let Church Hurt keep you from worshiping God with other believers.
15. Don’t give up on God
It can be tempting to turn away from God in the wake of Church Hurt, but He is always with us and will never forsake us.
Keep praying for Him to guide you and bring peace and joy back into your life as you work through this difficult time.
16. Seek out resources
There are many books, articles, and other resources that can help you learn how to cope with Church hurt.
When all else fails, surrender your pain to God and trust that He will turn it into something good in the end.
Know that whatever has in your Church, God will use it to strengthen and refine you. He will bring healing out of hurt if we are willing to let Him.
And that’s it, folks; Church hurt
I hope this post enlightened you on this topic.
Friends, if the Church has hurt you, take heart and remember that God is on your side. Seek Him out during this difficult time, rely on His strength, and trust that He has a plan for your healing. With Him leading the way, you will eventually find your way to a brighter future.
If you or someone you know is going through Church Hurt, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available that can provide support and guidance, such as local faith-based counseling services and online support groups.
Together, we can all stand against Church Hurt and reclaim our faith in God.
May God bless and comfort you on your journey toward healing and wholeness.