What to Do If Hurt Happens - The Crosswalk Devotional - August 20
What to Do If Hurt Happens
By Lynette Kittle
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” - Colossians 3:13
As Christians, we hope we can count on those we meet in church or Christian settings to be loving, kind, and compassionate in every situation. Unfortunately, disillusionment, wounds, and hurts can occur when these unrealistic ideas of perfect Christian relationships shatter, collapse, and leave us feeling devastated and lost in many ways.
Dealing With Failed Expectations
A few years ago, a friend asked for prayer for her father, who felt driven away from the church where her family had served for over a decade. Following the separation, he seemed broken from the experience, leaving her deeply concerned with her Dad’s lack of focus and passion for the things of God. Sadly like so many individuals, the fellow Christians at his church had disappointed him and let him down in a spiritually devastating way. Because they are individuals who say they love God, his expectations for their behavior and treatment of one another were so much higher than what he experienced.
Experiencing the Wounds of Others
Growing up as a pastor’s kid and then later as a pastor’s wife, I’ve experienced deep hurt within church walls and through the actions of fellow Christians. Like me, many, if not most, who enter and serve full-time ministry will also experience the painful sting of well-intended church members who have the ability to wound their leaders right to the core of who they are, like knife wounds to the heart.
Unfortunately, wounds aren't restricted to just church leadership but to many who actively attend and participate in church. Individuals can be totally surprised by brutal, cutthroat attacks from within the body of Christ inflicted by those they trusted as fellow believers.
What Can Be Done?
Gratefully we can take measures to prepare our hearts ahead of time for possible wounding, rather than thinking it won’t ever happen, especially since these types of hurts often blindside people when they least expect it. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people hurt people, and that includes believers in Jesus Christ. Below are five ways to help safeguard and prepare for possible disappointment and hurt within the Church so if it comes, it won’t shake our faith and knock us off track in our relationship with God.
1. Put on the full armor of God. As Ephesians 6:12 explains, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
It’s not just people, even within the Church. There are spiritual forces and powers at work to divide and destroy from within our church walls. To be prepared, we are instructed in Ephesians 6:14-17 to put on the full armor of God so that we can against them.
2. Activate prayer. Prayer is a powerful resource we have to turn to and put into motion. As Ephesians 6:18 urges, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
3. Forgive. Cultivate a tenderness to forgive others as God has forgiven us. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
4. Resist disillusionment with God. Like my friend’s Dad, disappointment and hurt can cause Christians to disconnect from God. The devil works through wounding to cause us to doubt God, to believe He didn’t protect us in the situation, and even more so, that maybe He’s really behind those who caused the hurtful actions.
Hurt blurs our vision, causing us to blame God rather than imperfect people who are being led by divisive spiritual influences. It’s vital in these situations to guard our hearts from letting others cause disillusionment with Him.
5. Fix our eyes on Jesus. As Hebrews 12:2 urges, it’s important for us to fix our eyes on Jesus rather than what other Christians may say or do in the name of God. It’s key to loving the Church even when the people within it have caused pain.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Have you been hurt in a Church situation or by another Christian? If so, ask God to help you to forgive those who disappointed you. Also, seek His wisdom and understanding in recognizing the wounding came from within their hearts and not from His heart.
Facing the Sorrow of Unfinished Business
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Marjan_Apostolovic
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.
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