As the body of Christ, we have to talk about church hurt.
For countless believers, the Christian church is a community of love and unity.
Through Christ, God created a global family to live out the faith together as one people.
However, despite familial ties, there are members of this family who experience the pain of church hurt. In a study carried out by Barna Group focusing on matters of faith and spirituality, it was revealed that roughly 1 in 4 adults say their cause for doubting Christianity comes from past experiences with a religious institution, citing the hypocrisy of religious people as the top driver of their doubt.
This article aims to delve into the concept of church hurt and its accompanying pain, while offering practical guidance for healing.
What Is Church Hurt?

Church hurt refers to the emotional and/or spiritual pain individuals experience as a result of negative interactions within their local church community.
Believers experience church hurt in many different ways, and it can lead to feelings of anger, confusion, doubt, and a loss of faith.
Here are six common examples of how Christians experience hurt in their local church.Eph. 4:29
6 Common Ways Believers Experience Church Hurt

1. Judgment and Criticism
Feeling judged or criticized by church leaders or fellow church members for personal beliefs, actions, or lifestyle choices.
2. Hypocrisy
Witnessing hypocrisy or inconsistencies in the behavior of church leaders or members, which can lead to feelings of betrayal and disillusionment.
3. Exclusion
Feeling excluded or marginalized within the church community based on factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, or sexual orientation.
4. Conflict and Division
Being caught in the middle of church conflicts, disagreements, or power struggles, which can create a toxic environment and damage relationships within the congregation.
5. Legalism
Experiencing a legalistic approach to faith that emphasizes strict adherence to rules and regulations over love, grace, and forgiveness.
6. Manipulative Leadership
Dealing with leaders who use their influence to manipulate or control members for personal gain or to maintain power.
Church hurt can result from something as simple as a misunderstanding between believers or as difficult as spiritual abuse at the hands of those trusted to lead. Whether simple or difficult, the pain can leave lasting emotional scars and hinder one’s spiritual growth. It is crucial for the church to address church hurt and for believers to seek healing and restoration to overcome the impacts of church hurt.

6 Ways Believers Can Pursue Healing From Church HurtEph. 4:29

Healing from church hurt is a personal journey that will look different for everyone. Here are 6 ways to pursue healing if you’ve been hurt in your local church.
1. Address Your Emotions
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” Psalm 34:18.
It’s important to acknowledge the emotions you feel due to church hurt. Don’t suppress them. Don’t gloss over them. This creates space for you to understand and process your feelings and begin the journey toward healing, knowing God is near and identifies with you in your pain.
2. Reconnect with Jesus
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.
Take the time to reconnect with the lover of your soul in worship, meditation, prayer and scripture. Even when his people aren’t faithful, God is faithful. Even when his people fail to love us well, He loves us unconditionally. God never desired for you to experience hurt at the hands of those you are called to walk in love and unity with. He wants to give you rest and help you heal. Reconnect with Him.
3. Seek Support From Trustworthy Sources
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” Galatians 6:2.
Reach out to a trusted leader, counselor, or mentor who can provide support, a listening ear, guidance, and perspective on your situation. Find a ministry that focuses on helping believers heal from difficult seasons of life and ministry. Seek out a support group that focuses on helping believers process their church hurt. There are Jesus-loving brothers and sisters out there who are ready and willing to walk alongside you as you pursue healing.Eph. 4:29
4. Practice Self-Care
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” Proverbs 17:22.
Take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being by engaging in activities that bring you joy, peace, and rest. Start a devotional that focuses on restoration. Meditate on scripture that reminds you of God’s care for you. Start a prayer journal. Participate in activities that are life giving and restorative.
5. Consider Where You May Need To Take Ownership
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3.
Sometimes church hurt is the result of a disagreement and miscommunication and both parties are hurt and offended. Did you pursue peace and unity in the fall out? Did you engage with your brother or sister with love? Be sure to take time for self-reflection to evaluate your heart, actions, and intentions in the matter.Eph. 4:29
6. Pursue Forgiveness
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” Matthew 6:14.
The Bible encourages us to be people who forgive others the way God forgives us. Don’t hold on to bitterness, anger, or hatred toward your brother or sister in Christ. Pursue forgiveness, whether towards individuals who caused the hurt or towards the institution itself. Release those feelings of resentment and find closure.

It’s Time To Heal

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.
Church hurt is difficult, discouraging, and damaging.
It can ruin relationships and cause deep emotional pain.
But the good news is that healing is available to all who seek it. Have you been hurt in church?
It’s time for you to begin your journey toward healing.
Jesus is waiting for you with open arms, saying, “Bring your pain and grief to me. I want to give you rest.” Jesus knows firsthand what you are experiencing, and He offers restoration and healing to all who trust in Him.
So take a step of faith and trust him with your pain because every step taken toward Jesus is a step taken toward healing.Eph. 4:29
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