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Thread: Healing Church Wounds

  1. #1

    Healing Church Wounds

    Hello Friends,

    Perhaps there is someone out there that can benefit from this random article I found on the net. I don't know anything about the author but the advice is helpful. Here's how I relate to it.

    I am pretty sure #1 has been happening to me for a while and I don't want the devil to win.

    I FAILED at #2. I rushed it for sure and did not take time but I'm in too deep and can't go back now without looking like a jerk.

    I have no clue how to do #3. I was however, mysteriously compelled to sign up to wrap christmas gifts at the mall with the church next Saturday.

    I am very good at faking #4. I go through the motions with a gigantic wall up and no one has a clue.

    #5 We have selected a good church for this purpose, there are 3 excellent pastors and the worship is good.

    I hold on to grudges for years so #6 is hard.

    #7 It is hard for me not to live in isolation. I am around people but I am pulled toward isolation with the exception of my husband. He is the only reason I have not gone completely insane.

    I am bad at #8. There are days I can do it but some days I am really mad at them. Did they not realize how dangerous it was to change denominations of a church cold turkey like that? One can seriously damage sheep that way. Especially the naive and young ones.

    Your thoughts and opinions are welcome.

    Healing Church Wounds

    http://www.tommylupton.com/2010/08/healing-church-wounds/
    August 18th, 2010

    In this post, I’m addressing the question ”how can those who have been wounded (in / by the church) experience healing?” As we consider this, I want to also ask if healing happens by some prescription (i.e. a prescribed set of actions we can take), or does it happen through a process that may take some time? My answer, for what it’s worth, is “BOTH”.
    What I want to share with you here is a process that I am presently working through as I allow God to bring healing to my own wounds over the past few years. Yes pastors do experience “church wounds” too; in fact we call it “sheep bite”. As we serve as under-shepherd of God’s flock, sometimes the sheep we love and serve can turn around and bite their shepherd. When this happens it leaves wounds that sometimes take a good amount of time to heal.



    In my particular case, I have suffered from a combination of “sheep bite” and ministry burnout. The burnout is another issue, and I take responsibility for that (for some thoughts on how to deal with ministry burnout see my July 29 post). But today I want to focus on the process of healing for those who have experienced the common “church wound”. I believe that God can work through this if we let Him, and these things will in fact work if we will approach them as a process and not a “miracle pill” that produces a quick cure.
    1. Simply make the choice that you will move on by God’s grace (the devil will tempt you to hang on to anger and hurt, asking “what’s the point of trying again” )
    2. Don’t expect healing to come quickly (be asking God for the grace to forgive those who hurt you) If you’ve left a church due to being hurt, don’t rush back into another church setting and/or serving right away. Relax, awhile and enjoy your family and be sure they heal too. Have some fun, engage in worship and Bible study with your family outside of church.
    3. Get back to the basics of allowing yourself to be loved by God, as well as revisiting your first love for Him (some say the key is serving again……giving in order to receive – but if you are empty, you cannot give what you do not have)
    4. Learn to trust other believers again – do not continue for long in isolation. Even if you cannot bring yourself to attend church for a season, meet with others just for fellowship. No “religious” agenda or program is needed, just enjoy each other’s company and learn to trust again.
    5. Find a large church with good worship and Bible teaching where you can blend in for a while anonymously. As you begin to heal and learn to trust God and others again, find a safe place where you can share your heart with others (with the goal in mind that you will serve again when ready)
    6. Keep in mind that this is a process and do not allow others to rush you. Learn to communicate with others what you are going through, but do not let this permanently define you.
    7. Also be determined that this process is temporary and does have an end – do not live your life as a perpetual victim, and do not live in bitterness and isolation (that is exactly what Satan would like)
    8. Continue to pray prayers of blessing for those who have hurt you. Ask God to prosper them and be at work in their hearts and lives (do not pray prayers of witchcraft such as “God judge them, or cause them to be ashamed of what they did.

  2. #2
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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    These seem to be wise words. Take your time, heal, find the heart of God. Then dust off, pull up your big girl britches and press on. You will be wiser and stronger on the other end of this mess. I promise.
    For what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived? ~ Deuteronomy 5:26

    If you're not prepared to risk your very life for your "enemy" you have no right to speak to him of love. ~ Daughter

    Many say they are called... but I am pretty convinced that with many of them it was the wrong number. ~ Project Peter

  3. #3

    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Now that's a really good article.

    Simply make the choice that you will move on by God’s grace (the devil will tempt you to hang on to anger and hurt, asking “what’s the point of trying again” )
    I can relate to this myself. To a lesser degree than you but still it was there. It just manifested in anger. I remember my frustrations with feeling that my offering myself to ministry was just tossed aside.

    Don’t expect healing to come quickly
    In my case, the fact that I was so angry, perhaps the healing came a little quicker than if I went into depression.

    Get back to the basics of allowing yourself to be loved by God, as well as revisiting your first love for Him
    I definitely found peace and strength by getting into His word and praying on a consistent basis.

    Learn to trust other believers again – do not continue for long in isolation.
    This has probably taken the longest time to get over. I'm always a little skeptical.

    Find a large church with good worship and Bible teaching where you can blend in for a while anonymously.
    I think we did a nice job on this point.

    Keep in mind that this is a process and do not allow others to rush you.This I'm learning daily.

    Also be determined that this process is temporary and does have an end
    This is so great to know.

    Continue to pray prayers of blessing for those who have hurt you.
    This is something I'll have to make a point of doing myself.

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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    This is excellent advice....do take it slow but the best thing is quiet time with the Lord, for reading and prayer and just getting from Him what He wants you to do. Fix your eyes on Jesus and not on other people....we all have a tendency to do that.

    God is faithful and will heal this wound!
    Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    It looks like great advice, especially number 4. It really IS necessary to know that God loves YOU as an individual. Even with all of our warts and pimples.

  6. #6

    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    I will believe you Firefighter.

    Thank you Seeking!

    Vhayes, What do you have a crystal ball? I woke up with a new pimple this morning.

    Ninna, I think you might be right about having my eyes on other people which is what happened with #2. I know they needed help and I couldn't say no, although I was not ready. I still don't think I am.
    JDS

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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    If you are not ready, you need to say no. Otherwise, honestly, why are you doing it? But you also must be careful to not say no because that what you want to say....God may have other plans. That is why we must seek the Lord.
    Come unto me all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

  8. #8
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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    JDS...

    Having been there and done that more times than I care to count, I think the fact that you are acknowledging reality puts you ahead of about 95% of Christians who experience hurt and then live the rest of their lives in denial.

    The advice in the article is excellent. Just takes time.

    And one other thing. Giving up your right to get even, or to be vindicated, or for someone to say "those are bad people." You have to give that up. You are dead to self and alive to Christ. Dead people don't have any rights. The evil that these people have done, intentionally or negligently, is in reality not directed at you but at Jesus. They may not know it, but it is true nonetheless. So intentionally tell God that you want to give up any perception you have of getting even, being justified, or being proved right. Let God deal with it.

    That will be a renewing of your mind, a repentance, a changing of direction in your mind, that will make the future better.

  9. #9

    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Sometimes I wish I could stop the treadmill of life. I'd take a leave of absense from my job and completely focus on studying the Word of God. Maybe even enroll in real classes. No distractions. No worries. Just us.

    And speaking of work, I feel helpless. The department got re-orged and things look really bad. There are 4 bosses. One transferred out, one is getting fired, one confessed to me is looking to transfer, and the other is unhappy and clearly stuck. Rumor has it they are going to change our job descriptions dramatically come January. I applied for a transfer but I am feeling apprehensive about it. I used to ask God to just tell me what to do so I could follow His orders and be done with it. But through a series of events He trained me to use my noodle, be proactive and be responsible. I have to wait and see what happens and waiting is tough.
    JDS

  10. #10
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    Hug Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Quote Originally Posted by JDS View Post
    Sometimes I wish I could stop the treadmill of life. I'd take a leave of absense from my job and completely focus on studying the Word of God. Maybe even enroll in real classes. No distractions. No worries. Just us.

    And speaking of work, I feel helpless. The department got re-orged and things look really bad. There are 4 bosses. One transferred out, one is getting fired, one confessed to me is looking to transfer, and the other is unhappy and clearly stuck. Rumor has it they are going to change our job descriptions dramatically come January. I applied for a transfer but I am feeling apprehensive about it. I used to ask God to just tell me what to do so I could follow His orders and be done with it. But through a series of events He trained me to use my noodle, be proactive and be responsible. I have to wait and see what happens and waiting is tough.
    It sounds to me like the issue the article addresses and the issue at work are very much related in terms of the ways the Lord is working in your life.... and that you see that.

    I am thankful that you have shared both of these things with us... I have prayed, and know better how to pray.

    Hurt's that come from a church, are really just offenses against us from people. The principal applies in the same ways as do a brother who sins against us.... that great 'unfairness' in that holding those wrongs against us does not harm only them... but us.

    I do not believe that YOU can forgive them.

    I believe that forgiving them requires faith that we lack as humans.... the natural 'man' does not have it within to do so.

    The beautiful thing is that we know that Faith is a gift, and all we need to do is to ask. We receive the faith to forgive, and the Lord heals us as we seek Him and do so.

    Corrie Ten Boom, the great sister of ours who had to forgive the guards who killed her sister in the prison camp in WW2 compared it to her father giving her a train ticket. He did not give her the ticket to hold onto... she might have lost it or forgotten she had it. He waited until she was to board the train... and gave it to her.

    The steps above sound reasonable, to look for opportunities to receive the ticket. I would add a step not mentioned though.

    To me, trusting brothers and sisters who you don't even know by starting a thread to discuss these things on the internet is an act of asking for that ticket....

    While some times we know we have not because we ask not, we also know that a child does not ask for bread and receive a stone from a Loving Father.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * ** * *** * * * * ***** * * * * ** * * * * ** ** * *
    ~ * You get 10 'reps' to bless others with each day... don't log off until you have used them up......
    ....Live your life the same way.... ~ *

    Please pray for the 'Persecuted Church'.


    Bible Forums Vision: "To be a community of believers who are actively engaged in pursuing the truth of God as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ by way of studying the Scriptures diligently in order to discover this truth."



  11. #11

    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Wait. You think the church and work issue relate? How?
    JDS

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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    I personally think that forgiveness is forgiveness, no matter what or towards whom.

    Matter of fact, we should be QUICKER to forgive other believers, if anything. Seventy times seven, and all that ...

    Maybe it's not a church issue. Maybe it has to do more with your expectations of people in the church. We often expect perfection where there is none to be had just because somebody says they believe in the Lord.

    I believe in God and still hurt people. I'm going to continue to hurt people. Not because I mean to, but because it happens.

    Maybe extend forgiveness, sure, but also adjust your expectations and approach things realistically, understanding human failure.

    Also, a lot of what happens to us are just plain attacks. the enemy comes at us from every which way, and he'll use all sorts of people. Again, these people don't mean to be used, it just happens.

    I've been used like that to attack others, and I'm not immune, and having to acknowledge that continues to keep me humble.

    I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. We get hurt by others. We hurt others. We move on, leave the past be, and follow God and look to Him, every day. And forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Period. Because we too, have been forgiven, and continue to be forgiven. We're not all that much better even though we think we are, and we're capable of lots of ugly things. I know I am. That's why I need God and why I will continue to need God.

    That's reality.

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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    I personally think that forgiveness is forgiveness, no matter what or towards whom.

    Matter of fact, we should be QUICKER to forgive other believers, if anything. Seventy times seven, and all that .......

    Yes, but that is why it can be such a challenge. Those in the world we EXPECT to have to forgive. The need for it is, of course, still the same.... thankfully the Lord is just as faithful to give us the ability to do so when we ask.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * ** * * * ** * *** * * * * ***** * * * * ** * * * * ** ** * *
    ~ * You get 10 'reps' to bless others with each day... don't log off until you have used them up......
    ....Live your life the same way.... ~ *

    Please pray for the 'Persecuted Church'.


    Bible Forums Vision: "To be a community of believers who are actively engaged in pursuing the truth of God as revealed in His Son Jesus Christ by way of studying the Scriptures diligently in order to discover this truth."



  14. #14
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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    I love and use this quote often:

    When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to
    that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger
    than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link
    and get free."

    -- Catherine Ponder
    Amazzin

    Obedience to God is more than a soldier obeying his commander. It is our grateful response to the Lover of our souls.

    CHURCH: Where worship is enjoyed, not endured - Grace is preached, not legalism - And Christ is exalted, not religion!




  15. #15
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    Re: Healing Church Wounds

    Quote Originally Posted by amazzin View Post
    I love and use this quote often:

    When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to
    that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger
    than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link
    and get free."

    -- Catherine Ponder

    This reminds me of what Jesus said about "what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven". I often think if we bind ourself to a situation by refusing to let go of it, we can't be surprised if we find ourselves bound spiritually as well. If we let it go, it can no longer hold us back.

    (If only it were as easy to live it as to say it)
    24 August 2013 - I've decided to take a break from a number of internet forums, including this one, for my own reasons.
    I expect to be back at some time in the future, although at present don't know when that will be.
    I've been here just a few days shy of six years, and those six years have been greatly blessed.

    ---

    1Jn 4:1 NKJV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    1Th 5:21-22 NKJV Test all things; hold fast what is good. (22) Abstain from every form of evil.




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