Thoughts on Church Hurt

Originally posted on the Salty Dogs Podcast blog.

In response to my guest appearance on the Salty Dogs Podcast back in February, I wrote:

I’m sitting here thinking about church hurt after my guest appearance on the Salty Dogs Podcast last night. You can watch the replay here.

I said something during the episode that, to be honest, was a spur of the moment organic statement, and something I hadn’t prepared to say. As I’ve thought over what I said…it dawned on me just how hard it really is to do.

Here is what I said:

“I cannot hold others accountable for the wounds they did not inflict on me.”

I was saying this in relation to church hurt.

Let me be clear…I’ve been hurt…a LOT…in and by those in the church. I’ve been hurt by deacons, pastors, average Joe church attendee, and more.

As a result, I would leave a church and walk into my next church with the walls already up and prepared to deflect any attacks I fully expected I was going to receive.

And you know what? I was wrong to do that.

You see…It is easy to put our walls up when we get wounded. It is easy to walk into the next situation after a previously bad situation and go in with the expectation that we are going to get hurt again.

I don’t want to be hurt again, and I know you don’t want that (honestly, who does?), so our instinct is to insulate ourselves to the wounds by already assuming we are going to get hurt again. It’s as if we tell ourselves that, if we go ahead and assume it’s going to happen, then it won’t hurt nearly as bad when it does.

This may be instinctual…but it’s not healthy.

Reality is, we may indeed get hurt again. But the people we encounter along the way who hurt us, aren’t the ones who hurt us before. And there are often casualties of innocent people who haven’t hurt us that get caught in the crossfire.

Then I think about my God…and how he sent Jesus to die in my place…He sent Jesus to be held accountable for the wounds I DID inflict upon Him through my sin and rejection of Him.

And yet…He didn’t hold me accountable for those wounds. His Son, Jesus, willingly took up MY cross for me and became the accountability on my behalf.

His kindness, grace, and forgiveness move me to a place of gratefulness and a deeper desire to know this God who would do such a thing for me.

So as I think about that, I ask myself a new question…

How could I truly hold others accountable for wounds they did NOT inflict on me when my God didn’t hold me accountable for the wounds I DID inflict on Him?

It’s humbling.

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