Injured by the church

Injured by the church

Injured by the church

Jesus is perfect. But churches are filled with Christians who tend to resemble him. It is therefore possible that you have been hurt by Christians. I want to help you overcome these wounds so that you can live connected to the body of Christ and not fall into the trap of isolation and bitterness.

The church is made up of people in the process of transformation

"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus did not plan for the Christian life to be lived alone; He said, "I will build my church. "It is made up of the men and women he called out of the world to follow him.

It is possible that beyond fraternal communion, love, authenticity of relationships, generosity, compassion or empathy, conflicts may arise between the children of God. Jesus mentioned the Church twice in the Gospels. Notably to explain how we should deal with conflict within it.

The reason is simple: the church is made up of Christians, like you and me.

What is a Christian?

  • Someone who, like you, tries by faith to follow Jesus.
  • Someone in the process of renewing their thoughts.
  • A person being configured in the likeness of Jesus.
  • A human who has begun to manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

 From incomprehension to clumsiness, from inappropriate behavior to the harshness of legalism, from immaturity to carnal behavior, the causes of potential injury are many among Christians. 

Jesus did not say, "If your brother has sinned against you, change churches! » 

Our master tells us to go find him and fix the problem. Forgiveness and confrontation are the basic principles for resolving conflicts according to Jesus. The Lord has even explained the procedure to follow in case of resistance and non-repentance: If this doesn't work, then take another Christian with you as a witness and then finally speak to the spiritual authorities of the church if he doesn't listen to you (Mat 18:15-17).

When Jesus says that one must treat the one who refuses to repent as a publican, it means that he is no longer a brother but that one must seek to win him back to Christ just as one evangelizes an unbeliever.

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 John 4:20)

Don't confuse love with sentimentalism or cowardice. Christians often avoid the person or isolate themselves instead of doing what Jesus said, rather than confronting the problem. They are afraid of damaging their image or the relationship they have with the person.

It is not a lack of love to confront someone. In fact it is a lack of love not to do so because the situation will happen again with someone else. The lack of confrontation between Christians is thus a hindrance to the growth of God's children. When we become aware that we have hurt someone, we can change, but if no one tells us the truth, we can live for years without changing while hurting those around us. To confront is to expose a problem with its author in order to solve it.

I encourage you not to be alone and to share what you have experienced with your church authorities, just as a child will talk to his parents about the actions of one of his brothers and sisters. Do not fall into the enemy's trap of confusing the behavior of such an immature Christian with Jesus.

I pray that God will give you the courage to act with love according to Jesus' instructions, it is worth it!

Stay connected to the body, you need it

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Depending on our life course, it can happen that our past wounds make us so sensitive that they complicate our relationships with others despite all the good will they put into it. God can heal you from the rejection or betrayals you have experienced in the past so that these wounds no longer have the power to block your current relationships. Ask the Holy Spirit who you need to forgive in your past and forgive them. Ask what lies you have believed and what truth you should believe.

For example, if you have come to believe that no one can be trusted, no Christian will ever be worthy of your trust. But the truth is that not everyone is like those people who made you suffer in the past. The only way to develop your character is to be in contact with other people. It is impossible to put into practice the more than 70 verses of the New Testament that speak of our relationships with our brothers and sisters if we live in isolation. Just because someone is in the same congregation as you, doesn't mean you have to be their friend. You don't choose your brothers and sisters but you choose your friends. Don't accept anything and everything from someone just because they say they are your brother or sister. In the church, everyone has a different level of maturity. Without falling into judgment and criticism, however, you can set healthy limits on each other based on their behavior.

Peter would have liked to be able to stop forgiving after a certain number of times but Jesus showed him that he still had to forgive his brother. Wherever there are human beings, it is necessary to apply forgiveness regularly. The more you see someone, the more you will be led to forgive them. Remember that if you have to forgive it is because Jesus has forgiven you. To keep bitterness or hatred against your brothers while pretending to love God is to deceive yourself. Just as in a couple conflicts are inevitable but can be resolved and make the couple stronger, work to build healthy relationships in your congregation. We are invited to make every effort to keep the bond of peace through the Holy Spirit. This bond between us comes from the fact that we are children of God. It is a spiritual and supernatural bond that unites very different people, but we must be careful to protect it, that is, be intentional and make efforts to maintain it. It's worth it!

I pray that God will give you to realize the value of fellowship and that it will become so precious that you will be ready to defend it with all your strength.

Return to church

"How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Matthew 7:4-5)

Dear friend, there is no such thing as a perfect local church. Jesus Himself is working to make His bride spotless.  You may see problems in your church, but be careful not to become critical and slanderous. Consider the beam in your eye before you see the straw in your siblings' eyes!

If your experience of church has hurt you more than bringing you closer to God, it is likely that you have just experienced religion and not God's family. Religion is what is left when the Holy Spirit is removed from a church.

My friend, have you ever bumped your foot against a piece of furniture? It is unlikely that you cut your foot off your leg to prevent this from happening again. Likewise, although you may be wounded in the body of Christ, parting from it will do more harm than good, like an amputation.

Jesus said, "This is how they will know that you are my disciples: by the love between you. » (John 13:35)

What if you became a disciple of Jesus filled with love for others instead of letting bitterness lead you into loneliness? 

When you have been hurt, it is difficult to trust again, but the Holy Spirit can comfort you so that you may be able to regain your place in the body of Christ if you have isolated yourself from your brothers and sisters. 

I'm sure there are excellent churches around you and all you have to do is look around a little and be prepared to travel a few miles to find a spiritual family that will allow you to grow in faith. In the same way that you do not choose the family into which you are born, but you choose the person you marry, you are not obliged to remain all your life in the congregation to which you have converted. Some spiritual families are dysfunctional, and when we realize this as we become more mature in faith, we can ask the Holy Spirit for help to lead us to a healthier place. The Bible says that we should not abandon our assemblies. This is not about never changing local churches, but about constantly meeting with other Christians. So if this verse prevents you from considering finding a good church, rest assured.

There is a difference between a dysfunctional church and having a difficult relationship with a particular Christian. It's like in a family, maybe you argued with your brother or sister, but that didn't make your parents irresponsible and deprived of their parental rights.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

Just as iron sharpens iron. In contact with others, you too will change into the likeness of Jesus. If God can lead you to change assemblies, or if it may be necessary for you to make that decision, do not become an itinerant or solitary Christian, but fully integrate into a local church.

I pray that you may again say with the psalmist, "I rejoice when they say to me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord'" (Psalms 122:1) and "May it be sweet and pleasant for brothers and sisters to dwell together!" (Psalms 133)


David Théry

Practical teachings to experience God

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