Loving God after being Hurt by the Church

I grew up a pastor’s kid, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything {represent!} However, because of that, I know what it feels like to be hurt by the church. To have the same people you and your family have poured their lives into turn around and hurt you the most. I know how it feels to be lied about, and have my father and my family slandered by people we trusted. I know what it feels to walk into church and feel like everyone is talking about you. I know how it feels to find out people who supported your family and the ministry have walked out on you, again. I know how it feels to be hated by people who sit in the pew in front of you week after week. I know how it feels to have Bible verses taken out of context, twisted, and used against you. I know how it feels when people attempt to destroy you.

And it’s not just pastor’s kids who have dealt with abuse from church members. I’ve heard worse stories. I’ve heard stories of single pregnant girls being kicked out of churches even after they have repented and want to move forward doing right. I have heard stories of people kicking women out of the church because they divorced their cheating/porn addicted husbands. I’ve heard stories of manipulation, and abuse, and even molestation.

All these things happening inside the church walls.

Where was God? What can we learn? And how can we move forward?

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First of all, it is never God’s plan for someone to be a victim inside the body of Christ; and God does not turn a blind eye to sin. He was not busy or distracted when this was going on. He was there. His heart breaking. He saw it all. Bad people make bad choices, but God is still good. Because of free will, and just like anywhere, there are bad people. Bad people who claim to be Christians. Bad people who can quote every verse in the Bible. Bad people who endear themselves to good people and claim innocence when it is their mission to destroy the people of God and the ministry of God for their own selfish, twisted reasons, and they will not go unpunished.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galations 6:7

Secondly, because the world is sin-sick, we must be wise. Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in church. (Almost, literally) Some of the best people I have ever known and will ever know, have been in my church. People who have helped me grow, and seen me through the worst times and the best times. The church as a whole is not broken. The church as a whole is the beautiful representation of Christ on earth. But you and I both know that wicked people are very good at “faking it.” Claiming to be of God, but seriously lacking in their fruit.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:16-20

We must be wise with who we let into our lives, who we trust with our hearts, who we allow near our children, and who we must set boundaries for. You never, ever have to let yourself be taken advantage of or hurt by someone in the church just because they claim to be Christian. You never ever have to allow people access to your children that you are uncomfortable with. You never, ever have to continue in an abusive situation. Ever. Period. We have to have our eyes open and we have to trust the Holy Spirit when He tells us something is not quite right.

We must determine that no one will feel unloved or unwelcome, hurt or abused, by our hands. We, as Christians need to step up our game in loving the unloved and reaching the lost. Reaching people who very well may have already suffered at the hands of wicked people. Just because we were hurt doesn’t give us the right to hurt others; and it also doesn’t give us the right to lose our compassion for them.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35

So how can we move forward? Understand that God is not people. People have hurt me. But God never has. Never. He is faithful to His word. He loves us unconditionally. He sees us as spotless through the blood of his son. He always does what is best for us. He always wants to see us grow in grace and in truth. He left his home in heaven and was abused on our behalf. He endured the shame and the bitterness and the hatred and the weight of the sin of the entire world that we could be his children. We simply have no right to give up on Him because of the abuse we may have suffered. 

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11

Cling to His promises, and cover yourself with his love. Get up every day determined to show the world his grace and his truth, not only with your lips but with your life. Love and serve Him with all that you have because He is good and He is worthy, and no one here on earth, in the church or out, can ever change that.