No one expects the church to be perfect. But we do expect God’s family to treat us with more kindness and compassion than the world does. Injuries inflicted by fellow Christians can wound the soul like nothing else. They can lead to disillusionment that when left unchecked and unhealed, affect how we view ourselves, how we relate to other Christians, and how we relate to God.
There are ways to dig out of the hurt and break through the bitterness and anger. If you’ve suffered a church hurt or know someone else who has, these resources will help hurting people navigate through the painful waters of church hurt. It is possible for people to hold on to their faith, rebuild their trust, and transform the bitterness. God can heal the hurt and bring glory out of the mess!
Burned by the Church By Michelle VanSlate
Slamming the telephone onto the receiver, I flung my words of frustration at my husband, who sat in the family room watching the latest episode of Star Trek. “I can’t believe it! It’s not fair.” Bryan lowered the TV volume. “Who was it?” “Pastor Don. He said ... he said that I....” My throat closed over the rest of my sentence. I curled up on the couch and grabbed a box of tissues as tears spilled down my cheeks. I loved the church and had poured my heart into it, but now we were being pushed out. When my husband first took the job as an unpaid associate pastor, the church was positive and supportive. But as times got tough, the new guy and I, his wife, were taking the blame. These most recent allegations from Pastor Don were only the latest in a growing list of petty grievances against us.
Hurt, frustration, and confusion welled within me as Pastor Don’s accusations rang in my mind. “You should have…,” “You were wrong to...,” “This was your doing,” “You’re not being faithful.” And with each statement, I felt as if someone were jabbing me with a red-hot poker.
I hadn’t expected to be hurt like this, especially in the church. But with three tissues wadded in my fists, and my eyes red and puffy, there was no denying it: I had been burned by the church.
Overcoming Church Hurts: And Moving Forward in God By Cinda Adams Gaskin
A church hurt is something most people have either heard about or experienced. And it seems that the more involved you are with a church, the greater the propensity for experiencing or learning of a church hurt. What do you do when you experience a church hurt? Do you simply quit the church in a huff, vowing to never return? Do you go around bad-mouthing the church leaders, telling anyone willing to listen that they’re a bunch of hypocrites. Do you simply forgive, as the Bible says? I wrote this book to help hurting people navigate the shipwrecked waters of church hurt. My aim is to help these people hold on to their faith, rebuild their trust, and transform the bitterness they are likely feeling into a sense of wholeness and peace.
Church Hurt: The Wounded Trying to Heal By Angela L. Corprew-Boyd
The body of Christ is full of people who have been wounded by Christians or the church. Author Dr. Angela Corprew-Boyd helps the hurting recognize they are not alone and provides them with wisdom and knowledge to reach out to Christ and receive deliverance from wounds that have made them bitter, resentful, and less effective in ministry. Once crippled by wounds inflicted by her pastor and trusted members of her church, she describes how she found healing and offers words of comfort and practical advice for readers grappling with their own church hurt. Topics covered include the many possible sources of church hurt, how to recognize when a wound is still open, how woundedness can be transferred to church members, and the process of healing.
If you’ve been part of a church, you have probably suffered a “church hurt”—or know someone who has. Maybe the pastor had an affair or the congregation fought over money or the leaders were disguising gossip as “prayer.” Stephen Mansfield knows how it feels. Though he is now an author, he was a pastor for more than 20 years, and he loved it—until he learned how much church can hurt. Yet he also learned how to dig out of that hurt, break through the bitterness and anger, stop making excuses, and get back to where he ought be with God and His people if you’re ready to choose the tough path to healing. Mansfield will walk you through it with brotherly love, showing you how you can be better than ever on the other side of the mess.
When God’s People Let You Down: How to Rise Above Hurts That Often Occur Within the Church By Jeffrey Vanvonderen
No one expects the church to be perfect. But we do think that God’s family should treat us with more kindness and compassion than the rest of the world does. Because our hopes for the church are great, the disappointment we feel when the church fails to live up to its promise is devastating. Wounds caused by strangers are painful enough. Injuries inflicted by people we count as friends are crushing. Yet the wounds we receive at the hands of fellow Christians cause a wasting sickness of the soul. Left unchecked and unhealed, they affect how we view ourselves, how we relate to other Christians even how we relate to God.
Recovery from Church Hurts By Sally Scammell
Church can hurt. Why? Because there are people in it. Even when working together for a common cause, we can hurt one another. Usually it is not intentional, but that doesn’t make the pain any less. Frequently we hide our conflicts and offenses while pretending all is well. That decision buries our pain below the surface where it festers like an infection. Frustrated and hurting, we leave our churches. Friendships are fractured. Some give up on God. Sound familiar? Then this book is for you.