After being hurt by the world and exhausting all your opinions, for many, going to church seems to be the ultimate answer. This is where you’re loved, edified, saved, restored and taught the word of God; you’re not expecting anyone to hurt you. But, what happens when you run to the church for help and they treat you just as bad as those of the world consumed by their sins (judging you, looking down at you, talking negative of you, walking with their nose up high, etc). What should one do? How should you handle it?
One thing I never understood is how someone so close to God (or claiming to be close to God) can hurt and offend someone who’s seeking help, guidance and strength from the Lord. How can someone say their saved and call themselves a Christian yet bash someone entering the church wanting deliverance from their sins? Or how can someone treat another as though their less than human or as though there better than the rest? Have those bashing others forgotten that they too were born of sin and walked a life filled with sin and other things that were and are in opposition of Christ? Have those consumed by their titles forgotten that come judgment day, titles aren’t going to get you into heaven? Though this is a sensitive topic, this is something that’s happening in many churches and its drawing people away from God and causing people to tote a negative connotation on what it means to be a Christian.
Need an example, here are two of them. While working on 2 PraiseGod today, I read a response to a testimony someone gave and an excerpt of that comment referred to the people of God as, “oh-so-awesome-and-totally-perfect Christians who think they are above everyone”. A few days ago, I was browsing the net, I ran into an interesting quote and it read;
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Gandhi.
The sad part about this is that the “oh-so-perfect Christian” comment came from an individual who once went to church but doesn’t anymore. In regards to Gandhi, Gandhi wasn’t a Christian; his beliefs were Hinduism YET there’s still something about Jesus Christ that captures his attention although not being able to say the same about the followers of Christ. Though there are only two examples provided to illustrate my point, these quotes speak on behalf of many individuals (in terms of thousands if not millions of people). So what does that say about us (Christians)? What does this say about our relationship with one another? What are we doing to draw people into the church and not out of the church? What are we doing to show the love of Christ to others? Are we condemning? Are we judging? What are we doing?
To be honest with you, this blog entry is something I delayed in writing because I wasn’t sure how to confront it or how it would be perceived but it’s something that needs to be addressed. I’ve experienced and have witness others experience hurt by the people of God; having to deal with the judgment and opinions of others although the Bible makes it clear not to cast the first stone unless you are without sin. Please understand that my objective isn’t to offend anyone and if I have please do accept my sincere apology. However, this sensitive topic happens often yet is kept in the dark. Because of this, my assignment for today is to expose and to give encouragement to those who are dealing or have dealt with this hurt in some way shape or form.
To those who have dealt with the hurt, I understand how you feel. I too wanted to walk away from the church and isolate myself. I thought of all places, church should be the last place where I’ll be hurt. However, just when I had that thought, I was reminded, who am I going to church for? Is it for the sake of people or is it to increase my spiritual walk with Christ and be edified.
Understand that people (including church leaders) are fallible; as their not perfect; they too fall short from the glory of God, as we all do including myself. Although it’s easy to run away from God, a church or to form an opinion about the body of Christ from the pain caused by people, I encourage you not to give up. Don’t let others stop you from getting all that the Lord has in store for you. God wants to do new things in your life and has assigned you to do mighty things to the glory of His name. It’s the devil’s job to stop you from doing the work of the Lord and to tear you down. One of the many ways the devil goes about doing this is using people who’s close to you, and sad to say, this includes family members, friends and even the people who make up the church body. How so? Well the Bible lets us know in Ephesians 6:12 that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” The part I want to focus on is where it says, “…against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Please understand that spiritual wickedness in high places includes (but isn’t limited to) spiritual wickedness operating through church leaders, pastors, ministers, clergies, pastoral assistances, etc. This is why we have pastors who teach one thing but are hypocrites to the sermon they preach; this is why you’ll hear on the news that a trustee was guilty of stealing money from the church or a church leader molesting a child and etc; because there’s “spiritual wickedness in high places.”
In addition, using the same scripture (Ephesians 6:12), when someone hurts you, understand that your battle isn’t against “flesh and blood” but against “principalities, against powers [and] against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Theses evil spirits (demons) who are given their assignment from the devil are out to steal, kill and destroy you. What better way to go about doing this than to use the people who are the closest to you – pastors, ministers, church leaders, family, friends, etc? Honestly, it would make the most sense to do so. If I wanted to detour you away from God, this would be the most strategic move. It would place you in a stage of vulnerability and put control in my hands because I know If I sent an evil spirit to operate through someone close to you, its effectiveness to throw you off track away from God would be incredibly high. This is why we’re told to put on the WHOLE armor of God so that we may be able to stand against the wilds (strategies) of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
What should I do?
When others accuse, belittle, degrade, lie, mistreats and hurts you, don’t resent or hold grudges against the person(s) offending you. Instead, pray for them. I know praying for a person whose hurt you can be difficult but it’s the start of restoration and healing. When you pray, ask the Lord to speak to their heart and to give them a spirit that’s of Him – love, peace, joy, etc. Also pray for a spirit of unity. Remember that praying not only helps the person(s) you’re praying for but it also helps to strengthen your walk with Christ as well.
In addition to praying, forgive. Don’t seek revenge or wish harmful things against anyone no matter how much they’ve offended you. Do not say, “I [will] pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them! (Proverbs 24:29)” “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19). God will handle those who are harming and coming against His people. In the mean time, forgive and if you can’t find it in your heart to forgive, ask the Lord to give you a forgiving spirit and He will. Choosing to forgive a person is a conscious decision you must make regardless of how you feel. Choosing not to forgive will hold you attached to that person with the chains of bondage; set yourself free by forgiving. I encourage you to read about
Forgiving Others as it will go into further detail about forgiving and the affect of choosing not to do so.
Be mighty in the Lord and know that you are more than a conqueror. When you face opposition doing the good work of the Lord, they’re not coming against you, but rather the spirit of Christ that’s within you. Don’t be weary in well doing, give up or throw in the towel. God says in His word that every tongue that rises up against you in judgment, you shall condemn (Isaiah 54:17). Again, I encourage you to be mighty in the Lord and be stead fast on him. When faced with opposition, pray and forgive those who have come against you and God will handle it from there.
I encourage and exhort those offending others to seek the Lords face and ask him to renew within you a right spirit. The Word of God says, “if anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:19-21). Loving your brothers and sisters in Christ doesn’t consist of hurting or offending them; neither does it consist of hurting those who are poor or unfortunate. Remember, what you’ve done to the least, you’ve done to Christ. The Bible speaks against walking around thinking highly of ourselves and encourages being a servant to others. God showed us how to be a servant when Jesus himself washed his disciple’s feet which was strictly a job left for a servant.
How humbling is this? Jesus himself, the messiah, going down on his knees setting an example on how to serve others.
If you’ve offended someone, please go to that person and ask for their forgiveness and make whats wrong right. In the Lord’s house, there should be peace and unity, not disfunction and wickedness.
You and I will be held accountable for every word and action we say and do; let’s make sure we’re speaking life and blessings into people’s lives and not death, poverty and brokenness. Let us be Kingdom Builders of the Lord and nothing else. The devil himself is out to destroy the people of God, let’s not be contributors of this devious plan by destroying one another.
From a concerned source