We expect to be persecuted and hurt by the world. That is just the nature of the world.
Churches really ought to be a refuge for the weary, a safe house for the broken, a rescue for the abused and mistreated. These local expressions of God’s gathered people are meant to offer the love, hope, and healing that God himself offers us in the gospel. This is not so for our ministry in the Galveston-Houston diocese.
Sadly, some of the most serious and enduring pain is inflicted by the church, by people in these churches. Sin creeps into the corners of our sanctuaries and corrupts leaders, priests, ministries, and relationships. And it hurts.
What to do?
“When the feeling of hurt arises, the spirit of offense comes on the scene to fortify the pain, tempting you to hold on to the grudge in your heart. Therefore, the proper response to emotional pain of the soul is always an immediate confession of forgiveness from the heart. The alternative to forgiveness from the heart is the ongoing torment of the soul. So if you want to be free from your hurts and wounds, take thoughts of forgiveness, meditate on them and confess them rather than taking thoughts of the hurt, meditating on them and confessing them. This is God’s way—and it’s the only way that brings true healing. And, while you are at it, pray for those who have hurt you. This process will cleanse your heart and renew your mind. And you will walk free from the pain of your past.” Amen.
The way to find the power to forgive those that have hurt you in the church is to remember you are a recipient of forgiveness yourself.
Think back to all the offenses you have committed against God, including the offense of unforgiveness towards a fellow recipient of grace, and realize that the debt you are being asked to write off, although real, is nothing compared to the debt you have had written off by God Himself who never did anything to wound you.
Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Colossians 3:13 NIV