If you’ve ever walked into a church you’ve probably been hurt by it.
It’s when the pastor’s son bullies you and no one stops him or corrects his behavior. You’re only 7 years old but you never forget.
This is church hurt; when the place you thought you could find healing brings agony instead.
The kind of pain that lingers deep inside.
It’s when you’re a lonely teenager from a broken home where you never want to be. You happen upon a church function in your neighborhood and you are hesitantly invited… but then overhear, “why is she here.”
It was said in secret so you don’t confront anyone. The pain stays.
It is when you become a teen mother because of the abyss of loneliness in your childhood home, and you overhear the pastor bashing another pregnant teen.
You feel equally shamed. The pastor said it so it must be true.
The pain stays.
But then the REAL church shows up…
The church that is all African American and accepts a young white boy with grace and love… even though he is bald, pierced and has “S-K-I-N-H-E-A-D” tatted across his knuckles.
You regain hope for the church.
The church that throws your lonely-teen-momma-self a baby shower and cooks for you and takes you shopping for appropriate young women’s clothing to wear.
The church that lets you serve in worship and lead even though you told them you’re only a month out of detoxing from a 5 year alcohol relapse/binge.
You begin to heal a little.
The church that shows up to the hospital when your child has a seizure and to your home when your marriage is falling apart.
The church that counsels and prays for that broken marriage instead of condemning you and telling you to submit to an abusive husband.
I have seen both sides of this crisis in the church.
The pain is real but so is the healing.
I have found healing in forgiveness. The same forgiveness that was extended to me, without limitation, by Jesus.
I have also had to ask forgiveness…
The sins I had minimized as “lesser” had actually created the very same deep pain as those perpetrated against me.
That is the point. We were all guilty. That’s why we need Jesus.
He is STILL the answer to all our troubles.
He is STILL our hope and healing.
Even for #churchhurt.
May you be forgiven and extend forgiveness without reservation.
May you love the church, the broken bunch we are, as Christ loves the church.