If you haven’t been through church pain, you probably will. We’re all fallen people—redeemed sinners—which means we sometimes still reflect our fallenness. Church pain, though, can be some of the deepest pain. Here’s why:
- We expect better. After all, this is the church. God’s people. They’re supposed to act Christian. Things shouldn’t be this way.
- We’re seldom prepared for it. We don’t go looking for conflict with church people. When it comes, it catches us off guard.
- We love God’s people. Deeply, even. God’s people can be great. Church battles, though, mangle relationships with those same people—and the depth of our love makes that pain even deeper.
- We don’t understand it. Why would God’s people act like they do sometimes? And, why would God allow it to happen? Our questions don’t help our pain.
- We look to the church for peace, not pain. Church ought to be our safe place—the one gathering where we can just rest our souls. Conflict robs us of that safety.
- It affects a big part of our lives. If we’re invested with a congregation, our church becomes an investment of all we have. That means any church pain affects all we are.
- It often doesn’t make sense. We elevate our preferences to the level of the gospel, guard our turf as if God’s church will disappear without us, and fight against those we call “brother” and “sister.” Church pain really hurts when the whole situation is dumb.
- It’s sometimes built around “he said” or “she said” rather than fact. That type of conflict can be especially painful when those involved don’t really know the facts.
- We put a lot of confidence in church leaders. We assume they’ll model Christianity and lead us well. When that doesn’t happen—and especially when we let the situation linger—the anguish is real.
- The enemy magnifies the pain. He wants us to remain bitter, angry, and unforgiving. When we stay in that state, our walk with God is seriously affected.
- We are idolatrous people—and sometimes we idolize our pain. That’s not to excuse anyone for causing pain; it’s simply to say that sometimes we choose to wallow in our pain rather than forgive. By definition, idolatrous pain is overwhelming.
- It just gets old. When you’ve faced church pain before and it happens again, you just get tired of it. It’s easy to wonder if being a part of a congregation is even worth it.
I’m praying today for everyone dealing with church pain.