Churches have a responsibility to uphold God’s word and be honest with the congregation at all times. However, many believers in Christ struggle with their fleshly desire to control others for fortune, power, and greed. Unfortunately, this has led to many people walking away from the church and overall, religion in general. According to Barna.com, “In 2000, 45 percent of all those sampled qualified as practicing Christians. That share has consistently declined over the last 19 years. Now, just one in four Americans (25%) is a practicing Christian. In essence, the share of practicing Christians has nearly dropped in half since 2000.” Not very good is it!
This kind of hurt is often referred to as “Church hurt”. Church hurt is when you constantly feel attacked personally by a leader or member in the church because they’ve deemed you to be of the “devil” and not “Christ-like”. A couple of examples I’ve seen, experienced, or have researched are the following:
A single mother receiving disapproving looks
A young man not being able to share his craft such as rap or dance because it’s not “Christ like”
The pastor constantly berates you for missing ministry meetings even though you’ve expressed to him that you are nursing a family member back to health
Called a sinner or treated like you are less than for your overall appearance (tattoos, hair style, piercings, and earrings)
Many churches have this self-righteous attitude and believe if you don’t act, look, walk, and talk a certain way than you’re in the flesh. Which is wrong on so many levels. Since these people left the church because they were overworked, didn’t fit the mold, or just didn’t feel like they could confide in their church family they became of the world and now they are confused.
I left the church completely back when I was 15 years old because I didn’t appreciate the treatment my mother received when my grandmother passed away and I just didn’t fit in or see the church evolving. For years I was bitter with this church and couldn’t stand anything to do with Christianity. At 19 years old I gave another church another shot but I left because I was treated like a little kid who just needed to stay in his place.
After that experience I remember sitting here thinking to myself, “I’m 19-years-old attending a “Bible study” and it’s nothing more than loud feminine singing and dancing. The whole place is filled with little kids and grown women who act like children. God you must be trippin’ if you think I’m ever going back to church after experiencing this. Oh yeah and also, God, how do you explain the lady telling me to my face that I need to be singing with the little kids when I am a grown man.”
Over the years the topic of church hurt has fascinated me. Obviously not everyone’s experience is like mine was but it still hurts to feel misunderstood or to not fit in because it really affects people psychologically. Us as human beings want to fit in somewhere. Even though the introvert in me wants to always disagree, I do want some kind of social interaction. I don’t always want to feel left out or unwanted all of the time. According to APA.org, “Being on the receiving end of a social snub causes a cascade of emotional and cognitive consequences, researchers have found. Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness.” With that being said, I see why people turn to another religion, spirituality, and atheism because they were snubbed by a Christian church and their hurt simply won’t allow them to let it go.
I have to be honest. I didn’t want to forgive my church. Forgiveness has never been my strong suit but I’ve learned you must forgive yourself. It’s not easy but it’s not impossible. But the church has to normalize not forcing people into forgiveness but shoving the Bible down their throat and imposing their will on others. Let the Holy Spirit guide that person back to God because their former church really hurt them. The church really needs to grasp that their “Church hurt” may even stem from being rejected as a child and coming on too strong can severely affect them with them in their teaching. (2 Timothy 2:24)
One day you will have to forgive those who have hurt you. Not because someone told you to but for yourself. Why? Because God knows your heart. He knows if you are lying or telling the truth. Your darkest secrets are always being watched by the Most High and you can’t run away from Him. The church may have let you down for whatever the case may be and your initial reaction is to blame God. However, God is not responsible for what happened.
God did not love you less, the church fooled you into believing this
God did give up on you, the church did
God did not judge your looks not once but he judges the fruits of your labor
God has always had your back, your church dropped you like a bad habit
You see where I’m going with this. The church makes mistakes and judges people unrighteously but God NEVER makes mistakes and will always want to talk to you. However, he will not chase you down, you must make the first move.
To conclude, I believe church hurt is the reason why you and others have gone ghost from Christ Jesus and turned to another religion. This will not enter you into the Kingdom of heaven. I’ve established that churches have many flaws but I’d suggest giving churches another chance like I did or trying out online churches. Why? Because fellowship with other believers is healthy is your walk with the Lord. The more you isolate yourself the lonelier you become which allows the devil to tear you apart. Having a foundation is what Christ wants because without it you’re left to your own cynical and lonely self. To prevent being deceived you must read the bible for yourself because without His knowledge you will continue to be fooled by false teachers (Matthew 7:15) and prophets that think they are gods.