Friday, September 21, 2012

Learning to Trust Again

“There is nothing quite like the pain of being hurt by the church.”  This is what my new pastor acknowledged to me when I first visited him after leaving the church where my husband and I raised our boys and served for over fifteen years.  Boy was he correct -- there really is nothing quite like the pain of being hurt and disappointed within the Body of Christ.  It is disorienting and confusing to say the least.

I’ve concluded over the three and a half years since we moved on that, at times, the church can be an odd place.  First a disclaimer: I love the church!  I was raised in an active, loving congregation and, with the exception of a year or two as a young adult, have been a member of a local body my whole life.  In spite of the heartache, I truly believe it is the place where God wants us to serve and impact others for the sake of the Gospel.  The church is an equipping station where we learn and grow – then drive off the church parking lot to go out where our ‘real ministry’ begins. 

However, as they say, the church is made up of humans (myself included) and we simply do not do conflict well.  We become so close to one another through all the ups and downs of life -- and then get upset because we do not know how to let people go when God is clearly calling them elsewhere.  The brother’s and sister’s relationship is severed, and then we have to start all over again with a new group of believers.  Is really this how God wants it to be?  How can we do this without getting hurt or hurting those we are leaving behind?  Why can’t we be more kingdom minded and understand we are all on the same team -- no matter whose bench we are sitting on? 

There is a deeper question: How to do we learn to trust fellow Christians again?

I would say that we first always need to look at ourselves and the part we have played in any conflict.  Just like in a marriage, there are times when it takes two to get to the breaking point.  I am confident that when we ask God to show us our sin, He is faithful to answer.  It is from that posture of humility that we can then ask Him to help us forgive, heal and trust again.

Do not abandon the church!

I do not mean to make light of this by giving a simple answer -- but I know that the Lord has chosen the Body of Christ, His bride, to meet together regularly to be the incubator for growing, developing Christians.  Just in case we are tempted to think we don’t need the incubator anymore, ponder this quote by an unknown author that declares “If you’re not growing, you’re dead!”

Hebrews 10:25 states, “ And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near”.

It is important for us to not confuse God with the behaviors of His children.  In truth, people are always more helpful than harmful.  Grace filled, loving, and forgiving people can be found in most every church.  Seek them out!  Spend time with them!  Keep searching until you find them and be one yourself!  The church is God’s idea and He protects it faithfully -- even though He is often saddened by its behavior.

Have you been hurt and are fearful of trusting again? Take heart, dear sister.  Begin today by knowing that this can be a maturing experience and in the end bring you to a deeper walk with your Savior.  During my season of hurt and confusion it was a sweet surprise to discover that, during that time, my husband and I had only Jesus to fellowship with. I wouldn't trade that time for anything  Matthew 11:28-30 comes to mind when I think back on those days when our hearts were heavy: 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Much love to you all~



  1. Our church is doing a church-wide study on the church of Antioch. Your devotion reminds me of a verse in Acts 8. It's the first verse that says "and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria." Maybe we aren't called to stay in the same place forever. I'm not saying everyone should leave their church and find a new one, but we have an example where God allowed this "scattering" of his flock. Maybe, just maybe, He has allowed certain situations to scatter us, too.

  2. Love your comment Mary Beth and thank you for the response! I do agree with you and the scripture you gave was running through my head as I wrote the post last night. There is no doubt that there are times when we are called to "pay it forward" and take what we have learned to a new place. That has been part of our experience.