The Hurting Church: Why we get hurt and hurt others

Written by Gail Rodgers

The hurting church is not an occasional dilemma. More and more often we find people who have been hurt deeply within the family of God, leaving them worn and exhausted. More and more often we find leaders in conflict within the body of believers, robbed of the joy Jesus promised in Him. When we find this hurt hanging on to our own bruised soul, it can make us want to leave the church and sometimes even want to “back burner” our God who seems to have allowed it all.

Sadly, we have come to accept that this is the way church is. There is an epidemic of fractured believers out there and we have actually come to accept this as the norm. So we either stay away and let our hearts become cold … or we put on our Sunday best, call “forward march” and implement a new vision or program and hope the problems will just go away. The hurt in individual hearts and churches gets buried … until it gets bumped again.

Can we break this cycle that happens over and over in heart after heart, and church after church?

I am continually amazed at the simplicity of God’s Word and the direct instructions He shares with us. The Father’s heart toward us, His children, is so open and loving as He instructs us in living in the day-to-day challenges of rubbing shoulders where the rubber meets the road.

The steps God gives us are simple, though not necessarily easy. They are steps that can help us move from being reactive in conflict to becoming proactive in guarding our hearts and our churches. And, as steps always do, they will take us to higher ground where we can live above disunity and confusion.

The framework these steps are built on is love. Love is also the handrail that helps move us along from one step to another. Without love, the steps move us from the fulfillment of right living that God calls us to, to self- righteous living, which is hollow and void of the power of the Holy Spirit. God says our trademark will be love. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

Step 1: Know your enemy

We don’t like to focus on the devil. We don’t want to give him any glory. Yet, in failing to heed the warning of Scripture that the devil actually “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), we find ourselves consumed (devoured!) by all kinds of irritations in one another and in the church.

How the new programs run, personalities of the leaders, worship styles that become the focus and the quarrel, people who “just don’t get it” spiritually the way we do, all begin to rob us of our joy and steal our effectiveness as a body of believers. And we are so often oblivious to what is really going on in the spiritual realm. Scripture says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers…” (Ephesians 6:12) When in conflict with another believer, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Am I wrestling against flesh and blood?”

The answer in these situations is usually “yes.” And the solution is so simple we miss it. As Christians we are in a wrestling match. But our opponent is in the spiritual realm. His mandate is to “kill, steal and destroy” (John 10:10). Instead of recognizing that, we put on the gloves and begin to engage in battle with one another, leaving scratches and scars, bruises and bleeding that sometimes takes years to heal and always leaves a mark. And the trademark of love becomes so faint, onlookers can hardly see it.

Scripture tells us to “be alert”, “resist the enemy” (1Peter 5:8,9) be on your guard and “stand against the schemes of the devil”. (Ephesians 6:11) So when irritation strikes … know immediately who your opponent is … know immediately he has schemes and plans in place that will at best steal from you and at worst destroy God’s people and their effectiveness.

Any pervasive, downward spiral needs to be called what it is. Be alert to the red flags. Our human nature wants to defend and justify ourselves. God knows the propensity of our hearts to go their own way. That is why He calls us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44) and to do good to those who spitefully use us (Luke 6:27). (The trademark of love, remember?) Only the “God strength” in our lives, His strength invited in at our point of weakness and frustration, can remedy this battle that is fought in the heavenlies, yet lived out in our churches.

“Be alert and always keep on praying” (Ephesians 6:18) When prayer is no longer the oxygen of our spiritual soul or the heartbeat of our church, our defense is down. Praying for those who hurt us becomes something we don’t even want to do. Neglect in prayer and in the spiritual training of the Word leaves us with open doors for the enemy to turn the wrestling match on one another. It is so subtle and we can feel so justified, but the loss in our own hearts and in the Kingdom is an unnecessary tragedy. The stealing and robbing is done long before we have even recognized the enemy was at the door. Knowing he is prowling the neighborhood keeps us in a proactive state and able to recognize and withstand his tactics.

Step 2: Keep short accounts

The simple truth of the Word of God in the instruction from Paul to “not let the sun go down on your anger” is so profoundly elementary that we miss it.

The Bible often uses the picture of seeds and reaping and sowing. Seeds of irritations and annoyances, not plucked out and dealt with on a daily basis, grow in our hearts. When they are not dealt with as soon as we recognize them, they take root and each subsequent encounter with that same irritation, which will always be linked to some person, will cause that root to dig just a little deeper. The deeper it goes, the more bitter it gets.

Scripture tells us “a root of bitterness springs up and defiles many”. (Hebrews 12:15) When it finally spills out, or spits up, it defiles us and those around, and hurt is the result. When our own bitter roots spit up we hurt others. That is why Proverbs 4:23 tells us “above all else guard your heart for it is the well spring of life.” It is the very source of all we are. What is in our heart spills out of our mouth (Matthew 12:34), and it is by our very words that we often grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:29, 30), and love goes out the window. The trademark that identified us as His disciples vanishes and the world looking on can see no difference in us.

So guard your heart. Take stock every day. Holiness is really just truth in the inner part. Keep short accounts for your own heart’s sake.

If the root is only just beginning in your own heart and still undetected by others, go to God and ask for its removal. You know when it is there. Ask for grace to be poured out in your heart so that you will have all the grace you need to deal with that particular situation and person. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” If the root has already spilled out and hurt others, go and confess to them. Even if they do not receive you or do not own their part of the conflict, keep your own heart guarded and clean. You are only responsible for one heart. Unresolved conflict in the heart of another is God’s job to deal with.

The presence of God in a life and the degree of truth that is allowed in the inner part will be evident in the fruit of our lives. Watch the fruit in your own life and in the lives of others. The fruit gives us away (Matthew 7:20). If you have owned your part in a conflict and others refuse to do the same, give them grace, pray for them, and if necessary, distance yourself from the overflow of their bitter root until they allow God to do healing in their heart.

Always be alert to the seeds that you allow in your heart. They all eventually produce fruit of one kind or another. List the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness/humility, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22). Ask yourself the simple question: “What fruit of the Spirit is in short supply in my life right now?”

Then take an honest look at the seeds that may have begun to take root in your heart.

Step 3: Don’t be afraid of accountability

It seems we have come to allow gossip, slander and anger to simply be overlooked and rationalized in our churches. We excuse the fractures among believers by telling ourselves that God is purging our church, He is bringing justice. We stand up and glibly say, “God is in control,” while heads roll and tears fall and tender spirits get bruised and crushed. We forget that God gives us a choice in how we deal with matters and that the enemy is alive and well, attempting to influence those choices. We forget that for God to be in control of the moment, the conversation or the situation, we need to say “yes” to Him in allowing His Spirit to work in us and through us. Psalm 15 depicts the marks of an authentic Christian. It says, “He casts no slur on his fellowman…. but honors those who fear the Lord.” In any given troubling situation we need to honestly ask ourselves, “Am I making choices that allow God to be in control here or am I taking control?”

Proverbs 3: 5, 6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with your whole heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” If your own understanding is resulting in opinions and actions that bring division, be accountable for what is going on in your own heart.

God speaks harshly about the one who promotes division. (Titus 3:10) If you are prompted to speak to one who is causing division, remember the trademark and go in love and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid to call or be called to accountability. We can run to God, our help. God is sovereign and He is the great redeemer. No matter how bad a situation is, if He is invited in, at any point, He will come in and redeem the situation, work things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28) and put a derailed train back on the tracks.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked (selfish) ways, then I will heal their land” (their church, their heart). It’s a sure promise!

Step 4: Acknowledge pride

Scripture says, “God resists, or opposes, the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Pride is a killer. It is one of the subtlest tools of the enemy. God actually resists the proud! Who would want to be opposed by God! Yet in the church we often do find pride, but it wears a different cloak than it does out in the world.

In Christian circles we know that pride in our position and possessions is not a godly thing. We scorn openly the pursuit of “fame and fortune” alone. Yet pride exists in our hearts and in our churches in two prominent ways that we often try to justify.

  • There is pride in standing for a “principle of righteousness” while walking away from reconciliation. Making such a stand is not wrong in itself; however it is very often accompanied by a lack of grace and a spiritual superiority that cuts off the Spirit of God from working in a situation. If you are ever tempted to “stand for righteousness” against another Christian brother or sister, check if your trademark of love is visible, make sure your heart is clean in all the secret places and that you have done all you can to live at peace (Romans 12:18). If the basis for your stand is your own pride be very careful, for God does resist the proud.
  • The second place pride plays a major role in the church is in the area of spiritual gifts. You may have a discerning heart or a prophetic gifting. God may reveal truth to you in a situation or even in the life of another. Again, be very careful. God calls us first to prayer and often, to nothing more. If words are to be spoken God will clearly reveal that, but the first task is to obey the call to prayer.

Much damage has been done in the church when someone feels they have received a word from God and simply talks, rather than prays, about it. If you think you sense something pray, pray, pray and God will reveal if there is anything else He requires. God’s whisper in our Spirit will never be in conflict with what He directs in His Word. When we speak in spiritual pride, the Spirit is grieved and we cut off that which God was at work doing in our lives and in the situation. (1 Corinthians 13) The simple question to ask before opening your mouth is: “Will this lift Jesus higher or will this lift me higher?”

Be slow to speak, especially words that sow negative seeds about another, and be quick to listen. Ephesians 4:29, 30 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…”

Step 5: Be willing to plant stakes in the ground

When we recognize there has been hurt in our church, we must be willing to take a stand to say what will be different from this day forward. So often we experience hurt within the church walls and we retreat for a while, only to return to find a new vision or a new program and a turning of the page to “forward march” and “forgetting what is behind” without ever acknowledging why we got to the hurtful point we did.

If there is one thing we have learned throughout history, it is that history repeats itself. Struggles with pride and accountability, with tending the seeds of our heart and not recognizing our enemy are day-to-day struggles.

Unless we recognize where we have been in hurting times and plant some stakes that serve as markers to check us when we tend to spiral into the same patterns, we have not taken the opportunity to mature and move ahead in our journey with God as a church. Ask yourself: “Am I willing to acknowledge my part and take steps to prevent a repeat?”

When conflict threatens your heart and your church, as it always will, seek first to be intentional about raising the prayer banner in your life and in your church. This invites the Spirit of God to be at work in the lives of those involved and minimizes our tendency to lean on our own understanding. It moves us toward recognizing afresh our utter dependence on God and God alone is the hope of the hurting church.

If you are part of a church that is experiencing hurt and conflict, confusion and disorder, God gives a measuring stick to determine what value system is at work.

James 3: 13-17 talks about two kinds of wisdom, one, which does not come from heaven, and one that does. The one not based on heavenly values is centered on earthly, unspiritual values with envy and selfish ambition at the core. Not hard to spot. The trademark of love will be missing as well.

The wisdom based on heavenly values will be pure, peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

This higher value system can be reached by applying these five steps based on the foundation of love – love that comes from the heart of the Father to our own individual heart. Then the world will see our trademark and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Tend your heart wisely! The state of your soul, the health of your church and the world that is watching depends on it.

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191 Responses to “The Hurting Church: Why we get hurt and hurt others”

  • Kyle says:

    Sharon, the nearest large city is 100 miles away (Houston) with Austin and Waco being about the same and Dallas-Ft. Worth about 170 miles. I’d love to move, but I’d need a job which makes financial sense. I haven’t found one yet.

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to Kyle— good comments but I am soooooooo sorry for you being hurt from churches not wanting singles after college age can I ask what about living where you are but going out side the town to another town for church or is that quite the distance. I know of young people living in one town and going outside the town to another church with friends what do your friends do I am praying for you. from sharon

  • Kyle says:

    I think one reason it is so easy to be hurt by others in church is because we expect better of people who attend church and call themselves Christians. Sadly, we’re all human and we all stumble and fall at times. If we were all perfect, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to come to this Earth and die.

    However, there is a different in human failings and deliberate actions done with malice aforethought. When we fail and hurt another, we realize it, apologize, and seek that person’s forgiveness. However, many in church do things for no other reason than to inflict pain on others. It might be two cliques fighting it out (very common) or just two people with a personal grudge. Others get into petty fights over doctrine, most of which is irrelevant such as “how old is the Earth?” In my case, it has been women doing everything they could to hurt me because I dared ask them out. Why not just say “no thanks” and leave it at that.

    Other than for a funeral, I haven’t been in a church in roughly 4 years and I don’t see myself going back to one as long as I live in this town. Churches here have made it very clear they do not want singles older than college age, with many actively driving us out. I can worship God on my own. I do not need the misery that comes with going to church.

  • conny says:

    Iv experience hurt in my church i took 2months break from going but im back. Its been tough to come back to the same ppl but i had to remind myself why i cone to church…do i come to ppl or to Jesus. I got offended at the first place coz i started pleasing ppl not God. My focus was on the man and woman of God not on the author and finisher of my faith Jesus Christ. Remember God is a jealous God…if you love ur pastor more than Him He wont be pleased. Instead of calling upon Him u pick up the phone and call ur pastor…thats idol worship and an arbomination. I also needed to die to self more. The bible says if we safe ourlives we will loz it but on the contrary if we loz it for His sake we will gain. I think this kind of tuings in cjurches happens to fix our characters coz Jesus went thru this…thrz lot of dying to srlf that needs to happen. JESUS WILL COME FOR A SPoTLESS bride…without blemish…everything is going to be tested with fire. …if it stands then it wil be considered worthy and that includes us. If we cant stand this fire…are we going to stand the trials that ate already at work b4 His coming. Christians are gojng to be tormented for the saje of Christ…will we be able to stand….let us wear the full armoyt of God so tht we may b able to stand…in everything…im soeaking to.myself coz we were badly affected by church polititics…even my kids…its hard to explain to kids as a christian who is suppose to be forgiving why you are no longer going to church or why are u hooping around churches…

  • Marie says:

    Church almost killed me. It will be many years before I trust any church again. I was recently hospitalized for stress but I am done with it now. God bless everyone!

  • Gail Rodgers Gail Rodgers says:

    Hi Valeri, I think it may be easiest to post this link to your page. It has the comments.

    http://powertochange.com/experience/spiritual-growth/hurtingchurch/#comments

    OR post it from my website:

    http://www.gailrodgers.ca/index.php/site/articleItem/01_the_hurting_church/

    Thanks for sharing.

    Gail Rodgers

  • valeri says:

    Instead of me just getting to click facebook “like” tab, I wish I could share this with others by being able to post this to facebook! Can anyone put a facebook “share” option on this page for me to be able to share this so that I can share it insaead of me just liking it? If so please add the option for me to be able to be sharing this page with ithers on facebook since I’m needing to be posting it to some people!

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Jenny, thanks for those encouraging words for Laurie! I love watching the interaction and encouragement on this thread.

    Wonderful, I am glad you too can identify with this article and I agree with you that the enemy does target and attack churches. If God’s body can’t get along, then who would want a relationship with Him? As Jesus said, they will know our heavenly Father by the love we have for one another.

  • Wonderful says:

    I can identify with this article, this time last year sep 2013 I went through the same issues, is think the enemy was attacking the churches so people can leave the churches.. It’s always spiritual and it’s a painful thing . We need to be watchful coz God shows us this kind of things before they happen. I saw my situation in the dreamt I didn’t pray enough

  • jenny says:

    Laurie, I so much applaud you for your honesty! There’s a lot of integrity for you to be open and free and transparent about your situation. I really truly believe that there is a lot of mental illness in the churches that should be dealt with and loving tender care and help. We all that believe are in church for mental or emotional healing in some level and should help others in our God given strength. I am so sorry and your situation seems complicated but through God all things are possible. I believe that God can heal your emotional issues and your kids. Don’t push towards people that want to reject you. Find another church if you think God wants you to and be open and honest with the pastor. I think God has a loving, caring, helpful church family waiting for you and your kids. Be blessed and know that you are loved here and on this website.

  • laurie says:

    I am a Christian with mental illness.to make a very long story short for now,basically while in an”episode”I told my family member at the same church that I wanted to kill them and had bad thoughts and feelings but was sorry for them.i even asked them for help and they met with my counselor once,she gave suggestions on how they could help such as holding my hand during therapy.they refused to help in any way.they are my sisters law and brother law.
    Basically they got a restraining order against me,including my niece,their daughter who I loved for years.they had me thrown in a psych ward,arrested,and went to get another restraining order on May 5th,but the judge wouldn’t grant it,thank God.anyway,it’s 6mos plus banned from church,me and my children(their nieces and nephews)Leadership wouldn’t hear me nor do a thing about this.(they went to bible college together)
    So my children,teens,and I tried to go back after all this,they moved to the other side of the church when I sat in the same row like we had for 8 yrs.my brother law got rude and hurtful to me in the hallway,literally getting in my face and basically saying I’m not loved,etc.
    They stopped talking to me and the kids months ago.we live around the corner from them and they’ve walked and driven by many times ignoring us.it is extremely painful.i once tried to talk to them on the street asking to have a meeting,apologizing,ect they treated me like I’m invisible.my brother law said hurtful things and in front of my daughter.he said for me not too talk to him and he would not be there for me in my life,etc.he said he doesn’t want to understand my mental illness nor would he deal with schizophrenics.(they’re supposed to be missionaries someday)they disowned,abandoned,and betrayed me,us and they still go to church to serve,usher,praise and worship,etc while me and my children are barely hanging on by a string.my children’s faith is affected and I am thinking about becoming an atheist.broken heart and devastated spirit!

  • Sharon Sharon says:

    to Marie– I am sorry you are getting hurt from churches we are to please God more than men. I am praying for you for God to comfort you at this time. I feel for you I can’t imagine on what you are going through. how sad for you.

  • Marie says:

    It is not so much that going to Church is bad. It is the people at the head of the church that is horrible. Referring to my experience. The pastors, deacons, church mothers, etc. There is so much spiritual witch craft that I have experience it is sad. I am starting to think it is all Fake! Fake shouting, fake preaching, etc. If you do not tithe the right amount you are rebuked. If you do not praise God the way they feel you should you are rebuked and judged! I am just so sick and tired of all the antics. I have been to 9 churches and have yet to find a REAL church. Alot of theatrics and cliques. At this point I really do not care, and I mean I do not care what anybody and I mean anybody thinks about me anymore except for God. I am all about pleasing God not man.

  • Deborah says:

    Doris, this is a typical comment to those that have been hurt or victims by the wrongs of others. It is based in psychology, mans advice. Jesus harmed no one, He healed, showed the incredible love and compassion only He could reveal. Yet, He was treated like He was nothing, disrespected, mocked, falsely accused and crucified. This blog is for those have been deeply wounded and struggle with it. They are looking to Jesus and the love of fellow Christans. Jesus rose from the dead and overcame all, so will all that look to Him and are in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. God Bless, Debbie

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Deborah,
    I agree that Ann Graham Lotz’s book is an excellent book and well worth the read. It is very sad but unfortunately, hurting people hurt others and we all need to look to see what it is that God wants us to do rather than dwelling on those hurts.

    Marie,
    I have to agree with you as well that there is much for us to do that is both inside and outside of the walls of the church. His work and purposes are definitely not confined to within the church.

  • Marie says:

    With me is not so much trying to find a church home it is more like trying to find God;s purpose for my life. I have discovered there is so much more God wants me to do in my life that is greater than the inside walls of a church.

  • Shelley Shelley says:

    Dear Father God.

    Lord i pray that people can get back to the church and that the church needs to wake up in what it is doing to mankind. As my pastor says we need to get back to basics in the church. We need to reread the Word of God and take Him at His Word.

  • Deborah Eaton says:

    I would like to recommend a book by Ann Graham Lotz called Wounded by God’s People. She is Billy Graham’s daughter, and she shares her horrible experience in a church that left her torn apart. She looks a all sides and how to overcome the incredible hurt and pain. I myself have been through a lot, sometimes I think it was the worst you can go through in a church, but that is because it was me. No one has ever come forward to ask forgiveness or even reach out in the love of God. We are being tested all the same to follow God no matter what happens in this life. Those who are mean and hateful only reveal themselves. I must not be the same and overcome, praying for others. It’s not just about me so getting past self is involved in this work of God in us, denying self , pick up the cross and following Jesus. Blessings! may God give you all you need to be victorious today! Deborah

  • jenny says:

    Jackson, you have obviously have a very loving heart or you wouldn’t feel this pain. It’s ok if people don’t want to share in your love. Don’t let this stop you from helping others find Jesus on the outside of the church walls. Love them and help them as y o u can with God backing you. It is not a sign of weakness to hurt or feel the pain from other people. Jesus did it all. Did signs and miracles for people and they the majority treated Him like dirt. Take a deep breath pick yourself up dust yourself and keep moving toward Him and stop licking wounds. You have much strength so go forward. Find a church that good simple teaching and listen and do. You have to understand what God is telling you. I have faith in you! God bless in Jesus’s name.

  • Marie says:

    ~UPDATE~ I went to the revival tonight and it was what I expected. I pray for all the hypocrites and hope they repent and get saved before it is too late. Nothing will kill my joy for God. The more silly they act the more spiritually strong I become. Now I see through all the smoke screen of the crying and hollering it is nothing but NOISE. There is no change being made, no transformation in their live and it is sad. When people can proclaim their love for God and show hate towards God’s people they are being hypocritical. I am only responsible for my destiny and Jackro you are responsible for yours. So we just have to always have faith and God on our side at all times in order to overcome the battles of the world. God bless U and I just wanted to give you an update on my revival. I will be attending a few more days this week.

  • Marie says:

    In Response to Jackro-WOW God is speaking to me. I am so glad I read your post. First of all God bless U! Yes, and yes I have been in your shoes. Most definitely and can relate 100% on what you are going through. You no something that has helped me get through my spiritual warfare is one thing FAITH! Man cannot put us in heaven or hell only God can. God knows our heart and that is all that matters. This world is full of negativity. When I stopped caring about what people thought about me and started pleasing God my whole life changed. I can now walked in the room with my enemies and be unfazed and love them. It takes the strength of GOD and only through God all things become possible. I am going to a revival tomorrow night and will have to face people who hate me for no reason and you know something Jackro I will not allow ANYONE to steal my joy and love for God. NO ONE! So if I can say anything to you it would be this do not let anyone, and I mean anyone destroy your praise and love for God. Fear no man but fear God. God is the only one we should fear not man. Our job is to please God not man. Don’t let the enemy rain on your parade. Satan’s job is to destroy our faith and if we have the faith in God he will never win. So go to church and walk by faith and not by sight. Love everyone even your enemies and you will win all the battles! Love you and God bless U! Marie

  • Jackro says:

    I have found that the biggest damage comes from those in the church. So, I’ve come to the point that I’d rather be among the “sinners”, living a godly lifestyle, than waste time fighting over what bible passage means what, and who we are responsible to watch over, or who we report to. I am a charismatic Christian, so you’d think those churches would be better at watching the ire. However, I’ve not been back in church in well over a year. Has anyone called to see how I am? Nope. If I meet with anyone, I’m the one doing the contacting. I think I’ve reached my limit of trying to be a part of the church community, even the online forums are full of the vinegar and bickering. I’ll just spend my time being an example to those that need it. Those in church have an answer for themselves. They’ve accepted Christ or at least have had the chance. So, I’ll spend my time among others that need Christ or by myself. I think I may even stop reading on the web. It causes nothing but open wounds and sores. I’m tired of mending up the wounds. I’d rather avoid them.

  • B. Miller B. Miller says:

    Oscar, thank you for writing in and posting your requests. I have found what has helped me the most with understanding how to overcome spiritual enemies and all that comes against me in my spiritual walk, as well as with how to overcome the pitfalls or traps that can lead me into sin, is to seek the strength of the Lord to read and pray over His Word each and every day. As I continue to study His plan for me in the Bible, I learn who He is as my God and Father and Lord and Saviour, as well as who I am as His precious child. In addition, I am learning each day what the Lord desires me to do in order to walk out His plan for my life, and that God truly does have a plan for my life. Only by praying and reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible, can I know and understand how my Lord and God wants to guide me each day in His way of life, and just who He is and who I am as a child of His. The Scriptures are our blueprint for life, and without knowing them, I believe it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to walk in the light of God’s will for us with success, if we can actually do so at all.

    I pray this is of help to you, Ocar. If you would do not have a copy of the Bible and would like to begin reading it, here is a link to BibleGateway, which has several different versions of the Bible, in addition to a variety of reading plans and other resources to help you:

    http://www.biblegateway.com

  • jenny says:

    Oscar could you be a little more specific? Bless you!

  • Paula says:

    Dear Zheqi,
    The hearts of many shall wax cold-end times. I pray the Lord heals your hurts. I pray for Him to send you at least one friend who can agree with you in prayer concerning needs especially in trials. In your not so hard times try to sow what you need in your hard times. By extending your openness to ask others if they want prayer or have any prayer requests, the same may be reciprocated back to you. If not from people whom you say ignore you, but your willingness will be acknowledged by God and your prayers in hard times may be meated with more grace. I have felt very isolated and rejected in the past. I saw a picture of a group of sheep together with the shepherd and one sheep drinking at the river alone. So I have agreed with the Lord and His word to fulfill the where 2 agree as touching it it shall be done of the Father. He has answered. I don’t expect anything from people. When people see you’re not asking from them what they don’t have or are unwilling to give, it puts them more comfortable to engage in conversation and with that you may not feel ignored. I pray the Lord comes to you in those times and becomes more than enough. I’m sorry we get hurt by brothers and sisters who should help those who are in need. We should run toward the hurting, but most run toward the healed. I pray the Lord send you someone who is strong enough and sensitive in His Spirit enough to receive you into their lives.
    Paula

  • Zheqi says:

    Dear Pastor,

    I find myself repeated being ignored by B&Ss of the churches I attended, whether in Asia and in the Western countries. We study very hard and take Bible seriously. But when the hard time comes, you ask for prayers, most would hardly give a reply, even when you are in great danger.

    I am a veteran Christian and I know I should not expect from others. Sometimes I just wonder, why there is a BIG GAP between what is being preached, and what is being practised.

    I am not going to point a finger at others but simply realising how vulnerable we human beings are. Please keep me in prayers that I would be able to abide in Him and trust in His provision of the type of friends in Jesus that can support each other and point each other in the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.

    Zheqi

  • Oscar says:

    Tel me how to deal with hide enemies and how to avoid or escaped from trapped

  • Paula says:

    Dear Barbara, Deborah, and Jenny,
    Thanks for your comments and prayers. I’m very appreciative of all who step out and lend their heart and hands. I got encouraged by fellowshipping with my church family on Thanksgiving. The Lord has recently given me a house and I’m soon closing on the one that I was abused in. What a difference to go to the new one! I told God I was ready to open up and try to make new relationships with the singles outside of service. My new house can be used for gatherings also. Its amazing how
    fellowshipping can nullify the messages of the devil of “no one loves or cares about you, you’re all alone, you have to be healed first before you have fellowship, no one wants to talk to you, nobody’s in your life.” There’s a fellowship every other Wed. I’ll make myself a regular to disprove these lies that this thanksgiving revealed. I didn’t want to go, the Lord said, “This is your family”. I never felt a part of my earth family like I belonged, but apart. I’m going to keep going for fellowship to prove these lies wrong and embrace the love God’s family has for me. It’s time to let go of the past hurt and recordings in my brain of what my abuser said of me for 15 years and replace it with the love of God’s family.
    Barbara, I’m sure your book is good, but I have my own self to look at right now. I think that if on the outside I have fellowship which reinforces the truth that Jesus loves me, this will encourage my inside life to open up and not be scared of the healing process Jesus wants to do in there with the me inside and the past hurts to have them vanish away.
    Deborah, thanks for the scripture and encouragement. Used to be flying high with my mind straight serving Jesus before all this imprisonment and bombardment to my soul. Keep praying for the fellowship. I think that is the secret in my case to give me the courage to go with the Lord to the innermost parts where the hurts are to be healed.
    Jennifer, thank you for your urgency warning. I would very much like to share this with someone in leadership, but do not know who. Pray please for wisdom and God’s direction. It’s sad, but unheallingness to “healthy” parts of the body seems to repel help and reinforces rejection. We seem to be the silent minority void of help (?). The majority say forget the past. I tell them the Lord says spend time with Him to get healed. The area I live in has generational Christians in leadership, and I come from lineage of generations of heathen. They just haven’t needed inner healing I guess, or everyone that needs it goes to Jesus individually and doesn’t want or ask how it works or anything about it. I read books on it where they had clients, but does anyone help anyone through it anymore? I’m ok now to “do it”, but seems like there should be more willing vessels to be available to help others through what is the unknown to others. I might get something out of that book, but I really don’t want to see into another persons problem areas right now with stuff to take care of myself. Any comments?

  • Jenny says:

    Dear heart, Paula, this is a wonderful web sight. I have oftentimes felt like that. I am 52 years and married and pray, seek and read Gods word. I know that you have to have an immediate and right now solution to your pain. If you can, call or make an apointment talk to your pastor now or his wife and put it all out there, also you may consider talking with your family doctor or get one. Some of this could be a medical fix. Dont feel ashamed, you are not alone on the human side of this.This needs immediate attention. I know your prayers seems unanswered but coming here is one of the answers. I am praying for you my sis. Hang in there with Jesus by your side!

  • Deborah says:

    Hi Paula, I just read your comments and I know your struggle personally! Jesus is your healer in this battle, this is how I have been healed and will continue to be healed in Him. One problem that I had from the abuse is that I began to see myself and my self worth through the eyes of the abuser. After I became a christian I began to read the bible all the time and I slowly began to see who I am through Gods eyes, there is a big difference! What God is telling me in the scriptures are true, he does not lie or deceive me ever, neither can He lie; I can trust Him completely! He knows how to deliver you and he will guide you by His Spirit. Your desire to be healed and have good friends is His will for you. I encourage you to open your bible all the time and write down what He promises , commands and how He loves you as you read. Pray and lift up each troubling thought that comes up in you mind, tell him all about it, ask for his ability to overcome this and follow Him in how you are directed in the bible. The healing will happen as God does his beautiful work in you. Sorry about the bad experience you had in church, but you can make a difference in someone’s life in church that is also hurting like this. Here are a few verses I would like to give for this battle: Romans 12:1-3, Ephesians 6:10-18, 2 Corinthians10:3-6 John 5:1-18. Praying for you Paula, I hope to fellowship again with you. Blessings! Debbie

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi Paula, I understand the pain and frustration that you are dealing with in not being able to truly find the proper help you need addressing the deep “inner” issues that are buried within you. No matter what you are facing right now or how you are feeling…do not give up hope in being healed and set free from the wounds of your past. Keep reminding yourself that Jesus came to heal, restore, and set captives free from all things that are hindering them.

    In the height of my own despair in dealing with issues from my past God called me to right a book in order to be set me free from the pain of my past. Here is a link to the book in case you are interested in reading it in greater hopes of it setting you on a path of healing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Arise-My-Daughter-Journey-Darkness/dp/1484931017/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373053642&sr=1-1&keywords=arise+my+daughter

    I am currently leading a women’s small group through my church with the use of this book and it has been amazing to witness a turn around in the ladies lives as they read the book and allow God’s Holy Spirit to bring them into areas of healing needed to set them free from their inner prison(s). I pray that perhaps the “Arise My Daughter – A Journey from Darkness to Light” will minister to the deep issues you are dealing with as it has with other readers.

    At this time I would like to pray for you.

    Father God, I pray on behalf of Your beloved daughter Paula. In the name of Jesus I pray for healing for Paula from the wounds of her past. I pray that You would place the right people in Paula’s life that will be able to minister, encourage, and help her through the path of healing that she is seeking. Your Word says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Lord, I pray that You will open the eyes of Paul’s heart so that she can begin to see the wonderful plans you have for her. I pray that as Your Spirit brings her to a place of healing that she will be able to rejoice and live the happy, blessed life You destined her to live. May a ministry of deep healing take place within Paul’s heart, mind, and soul like no other time before. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  • Paula says:

    I haven’t found help from church staff or members for inner healing and pain/hurt in my heart. I’m walled up, been thru years of mental emotional abuse and secluded with no friends. Rejected before birth till present. Just don’t know how to socialize and connect. At times very close to God. When devil gets in to deceive and get me to think what he is saying is the Holy Spirit leading me and is not, I have a hard time afterwards trusting what I hear that it is God. I see myself walking by myself and it is hard. Counselors have been on the surface dealing with fast remedies like look for and sit by single ladies your age. Where are the ones with gifts of the Holy Spirit and experience in going thru inner pain/hurt hearings themselves to help others? Retreat places seem to be places to set aside just time for you to seek God. I can do that at home. Tired of having no one else in my life and not knowing how to get this pain out of me and to Jesus.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Hi Brooke, I can see how that would be confusing. I’d recommend asking her what she meant. Depending on what kind of relationship you have with her you could have the conversation by email or in person. Try not to be too defensive and say something like, “I’m not sure what you meant when you said that you don’t know how to love me. Have I done something to upset you?” It could be that she has trouble communicating with you. Perhaps she was having a hard day and spoke rashly. Did the comment come as part of a larger conversation or was it out of context? Have you been having conflict with her?

    Give her a chance to respond. It may be that the two of you have a little work to do in how you relate to each other. Or it could be that you misunderstood. Either way talking to her, directly, is probably the clearest way to get a resolution.

  • Brooke Young says:

    What if the First Lady says to you, ” I don’t know how to love you” How am I supposed to respond to that? Please help!

  • Doris Beck D. Beck says:

    Shawn,
    I’m glad that you found this article. You are so very right…it’s up to you to deal with your own heart, and God’s responsibility to deal with the leaders of the church.

    Let me pray for you right now:

    Heavenly Father,
    I lift up Shawn to you right now. Thank you that You are at work in his life. His desire is to keep his heart free from bitterness and resentment. Continue to help him to focus on You and You alone. Heal the hurts Lord. Amen

  • Shawn says:

    I just need prayer that God’s keep my heart free from bitterness, anger, strife, and resentment. The hurt that I experienced before started to resurface and I found myself upset all over again which brought me to this article. I just want to do the will of the Father. I love God very much. I just know to keep doing what God’s ask me to do and he will deal with the leaders of the church. Please keep praying for the churches.Some churches are loosing members, for various reasons. We must stop hurting one another maybe the congregation will grow and not be stagnant. God gave us assignments to be use in the church not people. Why can we just let God and let go? Then the people can worship our God freely and not bound with heavy burdens and yokes around their neck. God said, “No Limit, No Boundaries!”

  • karen says:

    I serve as a Evangelist at a church that I have not joined yes but I do pay tithes. One day while sitting on the alter the Pastor leaned over and said ” Ah I am just going to go ahead and ordain you with bro Rushal. He directed my Rev to me because she will give the 3 classes for preparation and study,now this was on a sunday. Then on wednesday the pastor mentioned it in bible class and the first lady(his wife) starting with her rejections to the matter,she began to pick out rules or what ever she could to remove me off the list and he said bluntly ” I know the rules( baptist church rule) dear I made some of them even said she didnt join.” I knew by the leading voice of the Holy Spirt when I got into my car aflter class,it was plain as day “He is going to take you off for ordination”. It was so known that she has a problem with me and I don not know what it is. One of the Evangelist fealt threaten by me at first because she wasnt doing her service but I stepped in and made moves. The church is small and filled with about 30 people who like it like it is dead and no growth but my Rev who is my friend she pulled me in to helf and the pastor took me in. So i am not upset at the cancell ordination for me but I believe if the Lord informed you to do something and then the wife dont agree then you have a problem also if its about the members who were there before me that at siiting on their butts then I feel whaen he stood his ground he should have ordained the ones she was so concerned about along with me. My question is I want to apologize to my friend and the pastore if they think I am upset in which I am not,I was a bit disturbed and did not because what the man of God just did to me, so sunday I will talk to them both and focus on explaining the internal hurt of implroper ordinance and I will continue to serve but will remove myslef from siiting on the alter so that the new ordained minister and the leaders before me can sit. I just feel it best so that it wont have a harden heart and bitterness. what do you think

  • Teachezy says:

    I just stumbled across this article and have read all of the comments and prayers and I heard my own story in the midst of so many. I served in a church for 11 years and suffered burnout because I became a servant of man and not God. My identity became wrapped up in my job description and as a result, I became bitter because I allowed myself to be overworked. The pastor was my best friend and our families celebrated the holidays together. I was venting to another minister behind closed doors and she went and told the pastor what I said. I felt the wrath of all that was wrong with the ministry. I have repented and apologized to the pastor and the other said individual for my comments. That was not good enough. I was accused of being a wolf in sheep clothing. Families were told that I was not a good role model for their children to be around, mind you I served as the youth minister for 11 years. I was shunned in the extent that the very people that I have served in the ministry with the last eleven years stopped peaking to me. The locks on the door to my office were changed and I was not told. I was left with the embarrassment of trying to retrieve something and could not get in. People were told tht I wa spiritually off. Now this church was my family. I have no biological family in the state I live. My oldest daughter was deeply hurt by the pastor to the point that she has lot faith in all church leadership. I was devastated and hurt. I was deeply hurt but I am in a better place now as I have prayed and cried out to God for healing and a Christian community that can minister to me and family during this time of transition. I battled guilt and bitterness but was able to embrace God’s grace and love and start to put this experience behind me. I thought I was making progress as I will be ordained in February. Out of Courtney and respect for the former ministry I extended an invitation for someone from her churh to serve on my ordination council. I get a phone call from the pastor telling me that I should be getting ordained there, thati need to have a relationship with the church, that I just left and never came back, and so forth. I heard a lst of things tht I had done and needed to do to make this relationship happen. I felt like I was being pulled into this cycle of being bulled again where what the pastor says goes. When I tried to mention the facts, I was told that those things were not true. I have no desire to go back. The church represents a place of bondage for me and I do not believe that God would send me back there. The issue she kept bringing up is how it looks for me to be ordained in another church in the region when i have served that church majority of my ministerial career. i do not have a relationship with that church or its leaders. The hurt that I experienced before started to resurface and I found myself upset all over again which brought me to this article. I just need prayer that God’s keep my heart free from bitterness and resentment. I am sorry to have taken up so much space but this phone call just happened last night and I am still upset..

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    This leads me to do some soul-searching! Gail Rogers was no doubt led by the Holy Spirit to write such a timely, inspirational article. Some churches are loosing members, for various reasons. There are still some people who are looking for “the perfect church”. My prayer should be: “Lord, help me to be the person who is doing IN THIS CHURCH what You would like me to do, so that we here will experience revival”! I pray that all who read this will be moved to act in LOVE toward everyone!

  • Deborah says:

    Thanks for ministering Ruby, I know 1 John is written to the Christian to walk in the light, not in darkness. He wrote so we would know we have eternal life. The whole counsel of Gods word teaches that we are growing in Christ Jesus after we have been saved through faith in Him. We are in a loving relationship with Him. He cares and as Hebrews 2 teaches us that He is able to help us with our infirmities. Pray for us, that we may overcome all obstacles and have full victory in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, loving Him and others.. Blessings!

  • Ruby Leak says:

    My prayer is; if we say we are Christian then we put God and Jesus Christ on the spot. Because the Bible says, GOD is LOVE! He exemplified and shared this love by sending his only begotten Son (Jesus Christ)to die on Calvary’s Cross for our sins that we would have a right to the tree of Life and our sins be forgiven through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Now if GOD is love and you say you have GOD in your life and you are not able to love your neighbor as yourself and you’re not able to love your enemies (unconditionally)then the bible says that you are a LIAR! Why? God said in I John 4:20-21, if we say we love God and hateth our brother, you are a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has never seen? So if you are not loving as God is according to the word of God as he has commanded, then you don’t know God and he is not in your life. This is according to scripture not what I say. In order for us to really know we have a place in God’s kingdom, we have to do the First Commandment and that is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and Love thy neighbor as thyself. A True Christian loves God by obeying the commandments in his word. You can prophesy, speak in tongues as the spirit of God gives utterance, you can lay hands on the sick and they recover; you can do all these things, but it you don’t have the Love Of God in your life and your heart, the Word of God says, it profits you NOTHING! Let’s discipline ourselves to be humble and allow God to perfect his Love in our lives so we can reach many souls for the Kingdom of God.

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