Psalm 55:12-14 New International Version (NIV)
"If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers."
It has often been said that GOD is a great person, but unfortunately HE has some bad PR (public relations) people. Although this has been said jokingly, it is actually a very accurate truth. Even JESUS said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except GOD alone" (Mark 10:18).
No matter if you have just started going to church regularly or if you are a seasoned church goer of many years. One of the most painful experiences to get past is being hurt by someone you trust in the church. To experience betrayal on any level is painful within itself. However when that betrayal takes place within a church by a fellow member and/or one who works in the ministry, the resulting hurt often cuts deep into the spiritual life of the victim which could damage that person's relationship with GOD. This type of betrayal happens on many levels. For example, many of us have heard or read reports in the news about church leaders who have sexually abused children. We have seen reports of corruption where a church leader or ministry worker has stolen money. There have been cases where a person's husband or wife had an affair with someone they met in the church. But it could be as simple as a fellow church member with whom you are close says or does something that really hurt your feelings. Perhaps you wanted to volunteer and become involved in one of your church's ministries and you were rejected. Perhaps you were seeking help or counsel from your church and you were told your pastor (or other qualified ministry leaders) did not have time to meet with you. While each circumstance has it's own complexities, the common fact is that it tests the believer's faith and relationship with GOD.
This is a subject I can speak about personally. I hope the wisdom GOD has given me through my experience will be a blessing for you. In my situation a person who is very close to me (and one who I would say had much to do with leading me to JESUS CHRIST) betrayed me. What made the betrayal most painful was that it happened in the church. I asked GOD, "why is this happening to me?" I could not understand why GOD would allow such a thing to happen. Although there are some very nice people at this particular church who have been very kind to me, the pain of my situation became so bad that I began to see this particular ministry as a symbol of hurt & betrayal instead of a place of peace & worship.
Recently I was lead to go back to this church. While I was there GOD allowed me to see (up close) the situation which had hurt me so deeply. But something else happened while I was there. GOD gave me the grace to put that situation completely out of my mind. I began to worship and praise GOD for HIS goodness. I began to thank HIM for all of the good things in my life. As I was praising GOD, this incredible peace came upon me. The pain of the betrayal was no longer in my heart. Before leaving the church that day, I was able to look that person who hurt me so deeply in the face with confidence. Instead of feeling contempt for this person, I felt compassion & forgiveness. Recently this person needed my assistance with a personal matter. GOD blessed me and gave me the grace to help this person with their problem. In conclusion I came to realize the situation and the resulting pain I suffered was not about my relationship with that person. Instead it was all about my relationship with GOD. It was an attempt by the devil to distract me and take my focus away from GOD.
Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV)
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
In my experience, I have learned several things.
1. Always keep GOD first and focus on HIM regardless to what else is going on.
2. No one is perfect. People make mistakes (especially in church).
3. Always be ready to forgive.
4. Give the same grace and mercy to others that GOD gives us (especially those who hurt us).
My friends, do not let the terrible things of this world turn your heart away from GOD. HE loves you dearly. Give your problems, pains, worries, and all burdens to the LORD. HE will keep HIS promise to bring you peace in the storm and sunshine when the storm is over. Always remember, people in the churches are still "humans". Whether they have titles such as Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Deacon, Minister, (etc), or simply a fellow church goer, they are all still "people". They make mistakes just as we all do. If someone has hurt you (especially a person in church) and you are having difficulty dealing with the hurt, ask GOD to give you the grace to heal and get past it. Ask GOD to give you the grace to forgive those who hurt you. Make it a daily thing by asking GOD for HIS grace each day and then you respond by taking things one day at a time. Short term goals lead to long term progress and ultimately end in victory!
Psalm 126:5 New International Version (NIV)
"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy."
I do not have an answer as to why HE allows us to go through such painful experiences. Sometimes it can only be answered as, "this is the will of GOD for your life". I know we must suffer in order to be made like JESUS CHRIST. But I also know that GOD has promised us joy & victory.
Psalm 118:8 New International Version (NIV)
"It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans."
Psalm 34:8 New International Version (NIV)
"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."
John 10:10 New International Version (NIV)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
I pray these words have been a blessing for you as they are for me (bringing us in closer relationship with our FATHER). Please feel welcome to reply and share your thoughts by posting them here or privately at email@example.com. If this message has touched your heart and you do not know JESUS CHRIST as your Lord & Savior but want HIM in your life you can accept HIM right now wherever you are. Pray this prayer out loud, "Dear GOD, I ask forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that JESUS CHRIST is your son. I believe that JESUS suffered and died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected for me. I accept JESUS as my Lord & Savior. Come now and live in my heart. I accept you as head of my life. In the name of JESUS I thank you, Amen."
If you have just prayed this prayer I say to you "GOD bless you and Congratulations"! If you do not have a church home, pray and ask GOD to lead you to a local (Bible believing) church in your area where you can be baptized in JESUS name, fed the Word of GOD, and fellowship with other Christians.
If you have any questions please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
GOD bless you!