I have never been hurt AT church.
I have never been hurt IN church.
I have never been hurt BY the people who make up the church.
These three statements above could only (ever, possibly, remotely, even a teensy tiny bit) be true if…
I have never BEEN to church.
But, I have BEEN to church.
And I AM the church.
I have hurt others AT church.
I have hurt others IN church.
I have hurt others BY being me.
It’s simply the risk we take when we say yes to relationships, and when we step out of our “safe” little worlds. If we involve ourselves in any community, in any friendship or family relationship, we will get hurt.
I guess the expectation is different in the Christian community because once we have Jesus, we are all “better”.
We no longer sin.
We no longer have selfish motives in our heart.
With Jesus, I am not even capable of hurting another person.
If you are sitting there with a pulse (and I imagine you are), you know all of these statements above are a pile of untruth.
We do still mess up, even after Jesus is our ‘everything’.
We will undoubtedly be the cause of other people’s pain – even on our best days.
So, why, oh why, do we IN the church expect we will never get hurt BY the church?
Why are we set on these unreasonable expectations?
We like to give our list of “I’ve been hurt by the church” statements, because it gives us
to stay distanced from church
to stay OUT of other peoples’ lives
to avoid being known by others.
It’s safe being all by myself. I can’t get hurt there.
“When I was a kid, our Pastor cheated on his wife with the Choir Director. I’ll never trust another church leader again.”
“Last time I went to church, all they talked about was money. This is so offensive to me. Whose money do they think it is anyways?”
“When I was at church last night, Suzy didn’t even talk to me. She walked right by me and said ‘Hi’ to Rosie instead. I can do better at Wal-Mart being greeted by a stranger.”
“I missed church for three months and no one even called to say they missed me. I will never go back to another church again!”
“Whenever I go to church, everyone just stares at me. They look at me like they know everything about me and they are judging me for everything I did wrong last night.”
“My sister’s uncle’s dog’s grandmother’s owner was kicked out of a church when he was in his 70s, and HE was even an elder, having served in that church for 50 years. I could never walk through the doors of a church again.”
We could keep going.
We have all heard the list.
We have our own list.
Whenever someone says to me, “I just can’t go to church, or get involved (or whatever it is they want to avoid) because I have been hurt at a church before” -
What I really want to say is this: “Wow! I cannot believe you have been hurt in the church. In my 15 years of serving in my church family, I have NEVER once been hurt by anyone else. Especially as the pastor’s wife. Not once have I heard anyone comment on their disapproval or disappointment in me. Not once have I had my feelings hurt in any way. I guess I have just lucked out.”
Are you kidding me? We have all been hurt in church.
And it’s not gonna end.
But thank you Lord for this group of people I get to practice life with. Without them, I would have very limited or no character development and I would have no need to have you for my Savior, or you for my only PERFECT example to follow.
Let’s stop pretending life is safe,
and stop expecting Christians to have it all together
and even better
stop avoiding the real life giving relationships that can grow us into people who might actually reach the lost world for Christ.
If we stop focusing on all our hurt feelings, and we get on mission together, with our focus on those who don’t know the truth yet, we might actually get something done.
What excuse have you made, or what excuse have you heard someone else make to avoid being part of a church family?
If you want to be a part of a perfectly imperfect bunch of folks here in Stuart, FL or listen sermons online from a very “real” pastor, go to www.covenantfellowship.com and visit us. As long as you are okay with getting hurt.