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Church Hurt Happens

I didn't really take ownership of my faith until I was introduced to a group of people that were around my same age and in my same stage of life. Being able to "do life" with people that share your values and beliefs highlights how much those values and beliefs impact (or at least should impact) every decision you make. You get instant accountability; a group of people holding you to standards you aren't always able to hold yourself to alone.

Another aspect of doing life with "church friends" is they become your "real friends" which grants you this amazing opportunity to see beyond their masks. What you'll find there is that no matter how good their intentions they are still broken. They are still human. They will still fail.

And sometimes their failure hurts.

I've been on the receiving side of that hurt. I've put my friends on that "but you're supposed to be a Christian" pedestal and forgotten what that really means. It means that they are just as flawed as the world but that they are forgiven. It means that they are striving to be better but that they will never be perfect on this side of heaven. It means, like me, they lose their temper. It means sometimes they lie or sometimes they're too honest. It means I

will

get hurt.

Guess what, you will too.

The question isn't "when, will we get hurt" but rather "how, will we respond". Many times people choose to take their hurt out on God. They refuse to attend church. They refuse to sit alone in His presence. Sometimes people try to ignore the hurt. They attend more services or join more groups. They never allow themselves to make deep connections.

What we should do is extend grace.

Talk about the elephant in the room. Reach out to whoever hurt you, in love, and hear their side. Not addressing the issue allows the offense to bubble under the surface and harden your heart. They might say something that gives you new perspective on the situation. They might apologize or they might see no error in what they did or said.

No matter what the response choose to forgive.

You can forgive and still set-up boundaries. You can forgive and peaceably end an unhealthy relationship. You can forgive and pick up where you left off. But you must forgive for your own well-being and to be obedient to God. Once you make that choice (and it might be a daily choice) you'll find the hurt doesn't have the same power over you. And why give power to something so negative?