Have you ever been deeply hurt by another Christian? Unless you live alone on the island of Figi you probably have. Sometimes pain caused by another is intentional but most of the time it is not. We are all sinners and make mistakes and most don’t desire to cause pain to others. Today I want to talk about the rare kind of pain that is intentional. The hurt may be by an individiual, by a group of people or it may even be by an unhealthy church.
Todd and I are very fortunate in that the many churches we have attended or ministered at, 99% were healthy, Bible teaching, loved God and people. But we have been around the block enough to know that there are some dysfunctional churches around and if that were not so there would not be so many books, articles and websites on this topic.
In the last year my husband and I have had more than a few people call us to seek counsel in dealing with their pain and in search of healing. Here are 4 steps in the healing process that God uses…
1. Listening ear and support of a godly person – Sometimes just having another person who will listen and offer emotonal support makes a huge difference. We are made for fellowship and being heard by someone who can listen, give objective godly counsel, and be there in the crisis is huge.
2. Prayer – Individual prayer before the Lord, praying with another or a small group and praying corporately with a church is very powerful. Sometimes going to a church prayer meeting where you are new is extra helpful. It is amazing how the Holy Spirit can speak to people how to pray for you without them even knowing the situation.
3. Consistent time with the Lord in His Word – If we listen God will speak words of truth. Psalms is a great place for healing. The Lord is the great physician and without a daily devotional time in Scripture the healing process will be delayed.
4. Time – Growth takes time. Healing takes time. How long it takes depends on many factors. Though I agree that forgiveness is a choice, sometimes working through the anger, hurt and forgiveness takes time. Steps 1-3 will help speed up the process. If you get stuck and do not seem to be moving through the healing process, maybe consider a professional grief counselor. Make sure the counselor has the qualifications you want.
In time we will see how the Lord uses pain to bring about His purpose in our lives. I have learned that joy is not the absence of pain but joy is the presence of God.
5. Biblical Confrontation – Last but not least is Biblical confrontation. This is listed last for a reason. I don’t think Matthew 18 should be done in anger and sometimes it is. Don’t forget that the purpose of confrontation is restoration. This can be a final chapter in the healing process if the offender allows it. As I said earlier, 99% of the churches Todd and I have been in have encouraged and supported the application of Matthew 18. But there is that that 1% that believes Matthew 18 does not apply to Pastors, Elders or other Christains in positions of authority. Unfortunately those who have this view most likeky never graduated from seminary or lack accountability for their actions to others.
This is my list. What would you add to it? Tomorrow I would like to list some good resources for people who are in this painful situation.