It is very likely that certain pastors or church members popped into your head when you read this title. A good number of us, Christians in the world today have experienced when the church lets you down. Maybe something a spiritual leader did or the way the church handled what a spiritual leader did. I have too and one time I told myself, I love Jesus but I am done with this church business. Every other day was a new story. Some pastor sexually abusing church members, another embezzling church money, yet another involved in diabolic practices.
I wondered how the church members in those churches feel. Did they feel embarrassed, hurt and/or angry? Would this situation drive them even further from God? Many questions I had and still have. I first prayed to God about it, because who else is a better person to talk to when the church lets you down than He who instituted the church? Then, I also spoke to some trusted spiritual friends (who were not pastors by the way) because I didn’t want any biases. I also did some study too and here is what I found out:Pray to God about it, because who else is a better person to talk to when the church lets you down than He who instituted the church? Click To Tweet
We cannot separate Jesus from the church
In the book of Acts 9, Saul met with Jesus on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. When Saul asked in verse 5 and 6, “Who are you, Lord?” Jesus’ reply was, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” Note that this happened after Jesus had resurrected and gone to heaven.
So clearly, He wasn’t bodily on the earth and definitely, he wasn’t persecuted by Paul physically. But Jesus said this because the church is the body of Christ so what you do to the church, you do to Jesus. Again, in John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Peter, three times “Do you love me?” and when Peter responded yes, He said, “Feed my sheep”. This means that Jesus wanted Peter’s demonstration of his love to be seen in how he feeds His sheep, the church. Understanding this made me realise the flaw in this statement: “I love Jesus but I hate the church” We really cannot separate Jesus from the church
We cannot separate Jesus from the church Click To Tweet
The church is full of imperfect people. And that is okay because if we were perfect, why would need a saviour? Everyone in the church is on a journey unto perfection. Yes, when you believe in Jesus, you are saved and you have eternal life but this doesn’t mean that all your flaws immediately become non-existent.The church is full of imperfect people. And that is okay because if we were perfect, why would need a saviour? Click To Tweet
What is important, however, is what happens after then. When we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, we have forgiveness and we are expected to repent. However, when one is literally living in sin and is absolutely unrepentant, then something is wrong. For instance, someone embezzled church funds, confessed and repents, the bible says to restore such a one (Gal 6:1). But in the case of one who is completely unrepentant, the biblical recommendation is different (1 cor 5).
Everyone in the church is on a journey unto perfection. Yes, when you believe in Jesus, you are saved and you have eternal life but this doesn't mean that all your flaws immediately become non-existent. Click To Tweet
Pastors are humans too
I think sometimes we forget that pastors are human too. This is why we are often shocked and disappointed when we hear of such news. 1 Tim 3 holds such high qualifications for the man of God but the truth is sometimes pastors who at the time of their instalment met these requirements sometimes fall along the way. There are several reasons for this.Sometimes we forget that pastors are human too. This is why we are often shocked and disappointed when we hear of such news. Click To Tweet
Sometimes, some get so engrossed in the work of God and the euphoria of leading people that they forget or find no time to care for their own souls. Some other times, it is little foxes they refused to deal with earlier in life that is now ruining their vineyards now.
Whatever the case, it helps to have at the back of your mind that no matter how amazing the preaching is, that man of God is still a man. And ultimately, your trust should be in God and not himIt helps to have at the back of your mind that no matter how amazing the preaching is, that man of God is still a man. And ultimately, your trust should be in God and not him Click To Tweet
Your pastor may have fed you but ultimately God is your shepherd
This is important to note because like I said earlier, some have fallen from the faith because of the harm done to them by the church, their pastors. Someone misrepresenting Jesus and His church doesn’t mean the problem is with God. In fact, many times God can still be blessing and healing people through the hands of this fellow.
This is where the distinction comes between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. The fall of your pastor doesn’t negate the truth of God’s word that he taught you. It also doesn’t change the character of God. So please, don’t run away from God because your pastor fell, instead allow the love of God calm and heal your heart.The fall of your pastor doesn't negate the truth of God's word that he taught you. It also doesn't change the character of God. So please, don't run away from God because your pastor fell, instead allow the love of God calm and heal… Click To Tweet
Let the truth of who God is prevail over your heart. You may choose to change the church but don’t break away totally from other Christians (Heb 10:24-25) I know you may be wondering what if I get hurt again? Sigh. I really cannot promise you that you won’t get hurt again and that the church won’t let you down again but what I can say is this – God is true. God is consistent. God is dependable. Let Him hold your hand as you journey.
Let the truth of who God is prevail over your heart. You may choose to change the church but don't break away totally from other Christians Click To Tweet
It does break my heart to see the harm done to the people of God by the church or church leaders. I know it breaks the heart of God way more than it does mine. But ultimately, God is good regardless of how wrong and imperfect his representatives sometimes are. If you have been hurt by the church, I am so sorry it has happened to you. I hope you find healing and rest in the arms of our perfect Father. Run to Him for He cares, very deeply for you.
What was your take away from this article? Have you been hurt by the church? How did you go about it? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section.
You should also read;
Handling Hurt And Dealing With Pain (Especially When the Church is Involved)
How Should Christians Respond To Church Scandal
4 things You Should Know About Your Pastors and Spiritual Leaders