Was it really the church that hurt you?
There are a lot of hurting Christians out there because people in the church can be very nasty to one another. A lot of the fuel in the emerging church is the intense dissatisfaction with the church as it is because the church hurt them. I can’t deny that some of my thoughts and perceptions of the church are shaped by negative experiences.
In many ways I’ve moved beyond the hurt. One of the things I needed to do was stop blaming the church and face the fact that it was individuals within the church that hurt me. Blaming the church as a whole is easy to do and trendy. It also let me off the hook. I can be bitter and there is no one I need to forgive and I can ignore the specific hurts.
It wasn’t the church that hurt me. It was the friend who thought I was deceived because I was thinking about leaving his church. It was the pastor who thought God spoke to him and was reckless with his “prophetic words”. It was the institutional president who tried to intimidate me when I called him on his lies. It was the people who gossiped about me and ruined my reputation. It was the people that mocked me behind my back.
The new testament writers didn’t ever say this journey was going to be easy. Jesus warned us of the cost of following him. We have a choice. We can stay bitter, or we can be courageous and forgive one step at a time. It took me many years and I did avoid “church” for a long time but I did get better.