Moving from Hurt to Healing
Hurt from a church situation is different. When the people of God fall short, break trust, offend, or disagree and then do not handle the situation in a God honoring manner, it cuts to the soul.
I grew up in Arkansas and after a good rain, teenagers liked to go mudd’n. It was red neck all the way. We would pile into a four wheel drive pick-up truck jacked up so high one could barely climb in. Slip sliding around in an empty field was a blast until the Mack daddy of a truck could not pull itself out of the sludge. Wheels turning but going nowhere. Stuck and sinking.
Hurt can be like a miry pit of mud, especially church hurt. We become stuck in our shock, grief, confusion, anger, bitterness, and sadness. We become bogged down in our blame, accusations and pointy finger. God has created us with a purpose, we need to refuse to let hurt hold us back from fulfilling it.
Here are three ways that have helped me avoid getting stuck while opening the door to hope, new possibilities and life beyond the hurt.
1) Remember to Rest
Church hurt drains us to the core, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Spending countless hours processing, discussing, and praying takes a toll on our body. People usually leave the church which opens up volunteer and sometimes staff positions. Everyone is pulling a double or a triple and we work over time to make up for the missing body parts.
There is no time to rest, but rest is a must. Even if we can’t sleep or don’t feel like playing. If our souls are a cylinder, it has a hole at the top and another one close to the bottom. The hole at the bottom is our output from giving, serving, depleted energy given to regular life and now the hurtful situation. If there is nothing being poured in, we will drain dry, burn out and cease being useful.
Go golfing, boating, fishing. Read a book, magazine or favorite blog. Plant a flower. Take a walk. Sip a cup of tea. Watch a funny movie or go out with the friends that make you laugh. Get an ample dose of vitamin D. What is one healthy activity that you like to do that fuels you? Do it!
Just like a physical injury needs proper rest and care for healing, our soul needs proper rest and care as well. Remember to take time to rest.
2 Keep Forgiveness on Your Radar
When we are hurt the tendency is to place “forgiveness” locked in a box and out of site. We know that Jesus forgives us and we are expected to be forgiving. We know we are to forgive 77 times. We know the Lord’s Prayer states “forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who wronged us.” We know the lack of forgiveness becomes a noose of control intended for our offender when it actually is wrapped around our own neck. Yet what do we do? Stay mad, hang on to our bitterness and choose not to forgive.
Forgiveness is tough and I will address it further in the next blog, but I ask you for now to pull out the forgiveness box. Place the box in a prominent place where it is a constant reminder of the process that needs to occur. Full healing will not happen without it. Keep forgiveness on your radar.
3 Choose Humility
Church hurt is especially vulnerable to creating soil that will produce self-righteousness. Hurt says, “I am right” feeding a need to prove “I am right” at any cost. Hurt says, “No one cares. Everyone is against me. I deserve better. They owe me.” Hurt sees a Bible verse, hears a sermon, reads a blog and points the finger in every direction except at ourselves.
Humility creates soil that has room for new life to grow. Humility considers while we believe we are right, we surrender our need to be right like Christ did. Humility reminds us that God cares for us, is enough for us and He died for us. Humility sees a Bible verse, hears a sermon, reads a blog and catches the pointing finger reeling it back in to ask…. “Jesus, what are you teaching me?”
Embracing a spirit of humility balances the hurt. Humility reminds us we are mortal and need to take care of ourselves. Humility positions our radar with forgiveness at the center. Humility will smooth out the rocky road from hurt to healing.
You are important and God still has a purpose for your life. Do not let church hurt immobilize you or keep you from serving Him through His church. Intentionally take a path towards healing. In the midst of your hurting remember to rest, keep forgiveness on your radar, and choose humility.
(What does the Bible say? Jeremiah 6:16; Philippians 2:3-8; 1Peter 5:5-7)
Thank you for reading my blog. I have also written a Bible study for women, Image Wearers to Image Bearers. Gather a couple of your friends together and join me in learning the truth of what God’s Word has to say about who you are and who you are meant to be!