Should we be saying, “The Church Hurt Me”? This was a title of a rebuke article over at the Gospel Coalition this last week.
I thought to myself – WOW talk about bad taste to bring up such a thing after some pretty ugly opinions in the light of the ‘alleged’ victims of C.J. Mahaney’s network of churches. Remember this was just a week PRIOR!
Are they seriously that out of touch?
Remember this tends to be a figure of speech. Most of the time people are referring to a principal of hurt they experienced at a church. The author went the literal route. As in every Christian on earth, and every Christian Organization HURT me.
I guess if it wasn’t published so quickly after the SGM Scandal I might not have such a bad taste in my mouth. I would still think it was a bad approach being so literal, but it wouldn’t seem so ugly if the circumstances were NOT as they are!
Timing is key at times, and under the circumstances the author seems to be speaking of some petty things in comparison to the ‘alleged’ lawbreakers at Sovereign Grace Ministries they supported just a week prior. When you think the of heat they took after their statements? It looks really bad.
Here are some items the article brought up for discussion.
- Failure to hear the person's feedback on controversial issue.
Refusal of certain type of service.
Church member offending you in some way
Now, under normal circumstances I can see addressing these items. Yes, some people do get very hurt or dismayed at church. Heck I suppose even as ‘literally’ as the author wrote to be as well.
Although since we aren’t under normal circumstances? Taking a phrase that people use – when you are under criticism of enabling ‘alleged’ lawbreakers?
Timing of this type of rebuke is just distasteful.
The Universal Church
The person could mean the big-C Church has hurt them–all Christians everywhere. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But think about it. When a person says “The church has hurt me” and they’re refusing to visit or join any local congregation of believers they have practically projected their hurt onto the entire universal body of Christ! They have assigned their offense to every possible Christian and Christian congregation imaginable. Practically, their distrust has reached universal proportions. In every case this is false. We might provide some of our best care by helping our friends recognize the practical universalism in some of their reactions. Hopefully we can get them to dial it down to the next possible level.
The person could also mean Sovereign Grace Ministries under C.J Mahaney’s authority, and the brotherhood of pastors that stood by him due to friendship. OH YES, as they also threw the victims under the bus!
Again most of the time people are talking about a ‘circumstance’, and to try to make your point by being ‘literal’? Universalism maybe?
Some have every reason for the mistrust, and not everyone that gets ‘hurt by the church’ means EVERY universal aspect of Christianity. Your application is ridiculous!
Maybe we need to, “Check to see if someone is referring to a principal of a circumstance – and not literal’.
Sounds a little silly to ask people to ‘dial it down’, because honestly? He used the same extremes he accuses others of.
I realize the author most likely wasn’t addressing this group of individuals, but more along the types of circumstances he mentioned. I get that. Problem is when the wounds are fresh like they are? You need to at least mention something to them. You should understand that some of them have said the very same things, and for good reasons.
You don’t write an article to rebuke people over petty items compared to the here and now circumstances his own ministry is dealing with (Rebukes of their support). Can we get real here for a moment?
Sadly, they are showing how completely insulated they are from the world their audience lives in. Honestly? All it would have taken is a short disclaimer. I have no doubt he doesn’t even grasp how ugly this sounds.
Shall we look at his points?
1. Take your pain to the Lord who bore your pain and bore the sin of those who offended. In His arms are 10,000 charms.
2. Take your heart to the ones who actually offended you and seek reconciliation–and if necessary take godly, impartial help.
When I see this type of instruction it is rather patronizing to those that are mourning families involved with the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal. People that have ‘allegedly’ been harmed by forms of ‘spiritual abuse’, and manipulating scripture to fit an ideology.
If we glance at some of the family stories you will find a small child right out of ‘toddlerhood’ being asked to come to a meeting with their pedophile for ‘reconciliation’, and to show forgiveness. The leadership of the church called this meeting – not the wounded family. When the leadership was called out on this type of thing? They ignored the rebuke, and a lawsuit followed. I hope you asked them to dial down their ‘universalism.
This family was ‘hurt by the church’. Figure of speech – not literal!
What seems to be a pattern with some churches to never use ‘traumatic’ events like this, and it is what most think of when others speak of being hurt by the church. After what happened recently? Why wouldn’t they?
When you are writing an article like this on the coat tails of your followers being highly offended by using ‘friendship’ as a basis for ignoring this type of pain? It would be common sense to view the article being presented in bad taste – and even offensive. Did you acknowledge those comments under your article?
You see the brotherhood of pastors refused to acknowledge those they ‘offended’, and cut off the paths to reconciliation. Remember the removing of their statement off Facebook when they didn’t like the comments? Placing it on another website, and closing the comments completely? Its sad that they don’t see how tacky that is – at the very least!
3. Stop saying, “The church hurt me.” It’s affecting your heart toward an entire congregation, many of whom are likely unaware and uninvolved in your hurt, and possibly affecting your heart toward all Christians everywhere. Don’t blame “the church.” Don’t spread your “hurt” over a wider area. If you do, it will dominate you. But if you target your pain and your reconciliation efforts–making it as small and specific as you can–you’ll experience greater control over and freedom from the hurt.
Stop taking a general term that most can realize the meaning of, and hinting that your definition only is appropriate one under the circumstances.
Most people can ‘discern’ what people are driving at by talking to them when they use this term. In most circumstances a validation with a pure heart and intent could move mountains, and will crush the domination you see.
If you can’t reach people where they are? Those very TRUE statements you do mention will be completely loss in the translation by most. You should know that by now. Please. THINK!
4. Do realize that not every church hurt you and people are not “all the same.” Find a local church you can join. Start slow if you need to. But let the Lord’s manifold grace come to you in the fellowship of His people. That’s normally how He comforts us in our trouble and pain (2 cor. 1).
Do you realize when people say this term that their definition does not always align your all compassing one. You see most adults realize that people are not ‘all the same’, and if I were guessing figured that out in childhood. Please tell us that wasn’t lost on you!
OH! Can you clue the preacher boys in that people that don’t agree with their interruptions of scripture aren’t all evil feminists, or emasculated males? You see they do give the strong impression that those that don’t agree are ‘all the same’ in that manner. Matter of fact they make some very strong statements to that effect.
5. Live in hope. Your Lord is also Lord of the Church. He cares for your brokenness but also the brokenness of the Church. And guess what? Your pain is the means He will use to teach the church to grow in love and their love will be the means of your healing. The church needs your hurt and you need the church’s love.
That would start if people would speak out against the authoritarian nature of some churches or Christian Organizations, and acknowledge humans tend to use their positions within the hierarchy to ignore the hurt. Yes, its just that important!
The ‘church’ is good at giving you examples all the time on ways to show your love for them, but sadly are NOT very receptive to rebuke when their own ‘authority’ it gets out of hand. Sadly, it’s a part of human nature that makes them extremely uncomfortable to admit. Placing the words like: Biblical or Godly in front of their statements, names, etc. doesn’t always make it so. People are noticing!
Just so I’m clear – most realize that churches aren’t ‘all the same’ in that realm. Too many are, and it would help if people like yourself dropped the spiritual spin on things and spoke out against them. Just think of the healing that could take place, and the reconciliation that could start upon that acknowledgement!
Lead by Example!
Tell the preacher boys that claim the lawsuit, and charges against CJ Mahaney were NOT about ‘founding a ministry’. How they are intelligent enough to know that, and instead of just deleting that sentence in their statement? It would look a bit more transparent if they acknowledged the statement was foolish, defensive, and an outright untruth!
Remind them that YES friendship can be strong at times, and they can still be friends in private. BUT when it comes to professionalism within a ministry under such terrible circumstances? Its not a ‘biblical’ basis of innocence, and their opinions of his character don’t change that.
As hard as it is for them they MUST acknowledge that a statue of limitations doesn’t mean there is no grounds for suspicion or lack of guilt. They wrote this statement from their own emotional state at this time, and their attempt at diversion out of loyalty was sin.
Your article asked: ‘Should we be saying, The Church Hurt ME?’ Yes, unless you have an audience that tends to take things too literally.
There are times to take the literal approach, but sadly in this circumstance? No. HECK even if your audience DID say it under the circumstances that you listed? You tend to look as silly as they do.
Thanks For Making This Possible! Kindly Bookmark and Share it: