"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too."--2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)
The church, "ekklesia" (Greek), is a body of believers who come together to worship and honor God. It is a place where community is cultivated and relationships are established. It is God's house--a place where we should experience love, mercy, grace, and acceptance. Yet, we hear of so many instances where people have experienced deep hurt and rejection in the church. Many have left wounded, angry, and vowing never to return. How can this be? And, how do we reconcile hurt and despair when it stems from the very place that is called to minister healing, hope, and care?
Perhaps it is important to remember that we are all flawed and in need of redemption. Flawed people come to church. Broken people come to church. Offended people come to church. Hurt people come to church. Why? The church is a hospital, a "Trauma Center" as our pastor calls it. So, what do we do when we have been wounded by the place that we expect to receive help?
Prayerfully consider the following:
1. Take your wounds to the Cross.
Confess your feelings to the Father. Identify them. Give them a name.
"God, ______________happened. I confess that I am hurt and angry because_________". "I feel offended that___________." "I was rejected by________".
Repentance is humbling, but a requirement, as it opens the door for healing and deliverance from the offense.
"and My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land."--2 Chronicles 7:14(AMP)
3. Choose to forgive.
"Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you."--Ephesians 4:32(AMP)
4. Don't Get Stuck. Receive God's promise to deliver and move on.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all."--Psalm 34:19(NKJV)
5. Walk in compassion. Be/give what you desire to receive.
"You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate."
Father, in the name of Jesus, I bring my heart before you now. I confess that I have been wounded by this experience in the church____________ and I feel_____________. Forgive me of harboring toxic feeling(s) of______________, _______________, and _______________. I repent of it/them now. I turn to you for healing and deliverance. I pray that you would uproot these feelings now in Jesus' name. I receive your love and your healing. I am making a decision to forgive and move forward. I thank you for giving me the grace and strength to do so. I pray that you would help me to walk in compassion and be a conduit of your comfort that others would sense your love as I purpose to live a life that brings you glory. Amen and so be it according to the word of God!
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