What is church hurt? You know…stuff that gives church members that I-don’t-want-to-be-here feeling. Stuff that makes them want to stay away. Stuff that’s icky.
I’ve talked about How The Church Hurt Me, and I’ve talked about Why I’m Done Being Hurt By The Church, but the more I talk about it, the more I realize almost everyone has a story of being jaded to Christians. From something as trivial as the minister not shaking their hand, to something as huge as congregational shunning (It happens). The stories are out there, and they’re painful.
So how do we stop it? It’s easy.
Love. Forgive. Everyone.
Okay, maybe that’s not so easy, but it’s a place to start, and it’s what Jesus said to do.
I’ve seen a church completely ignore a woman who got pregnant out of marriage, but I’ve also seen a church celebrate the same situation with a baby shower. These days, it seems people are becoming less judgmental and more forgiving.
But I’m not sure who I feel more sorry for: the pregnant woman or those who ignored her. Both did something wrong–and depending on the circumstances, one may be easier to forgive–but I need to love them both.
I’ve been on both sides of the jading issue, and it ain’t pretty from either perspective.
But it all comes down to changing our attitude. The question isn’t how can we stop jading, it’s how can love and forgive each other.
And be more like Christ.
What do YOU think? How can we stop jading in the church?
How has God worked in your church to spread love and forgiveness? How have you seen church hurt diminish in your congregation? What do you think would help us to help the hurting? Consider leaving a message in the comments section below.
Check back next week for the conclusion of the series: God Still Pursues Us Even When We’re Jaded.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1Peter 4:8 NIV
Interview with Varina Denman, author of Jaded
Read what other bloggers are saying about Jading in the church:
- Jaime Wright, Coffee Cups and Camisoles – Do You Give Up When #ChurchHurts?
- Don Brobst – What Can We Do To Stop Jading Of Others?
- Andi Newberry – Been Jaded by the Church?
- Leah Lesesne – The Story I Don’t Remember – My Journey Back into Community After Getting Kicked Out
- Flower Patch Farmgirl, Shannan Martin – When Church Hurts
- Don Brobst – Being Jaded in the Church
- Faye Hager – Recovery from Religion
To add your own #StopJading post to this list, click HERE
To leave a comment, scroll down a little farther.
Click to Tweet: How Do We Stop Church Hurt? http://wp.me/pM9q6-2RD #StopJading
My seventh grade year was marked by floundering attempts to fit in with the cool crowd. I was tall and lanky with bushy hair, and my friends were just as awkward, but Karla, Shelley, and I were inseparable. To tell the truth, sometimes our awkwardness embarrassed me, but I figured it was better than being alone…
In honor of Jaded‘s release this week,
I’m giving a shout out to some of my favorite best-selling authors. For the next ten days (maybe not the weekend) I’m holding a BOOK-A-DAY GIVEAWAY over on my Facebook Author Page. Stop by, comment, and be entered to win a kindle copy of one of the following books:
To enter the contest, visit my Facebook Author Page. Thanks, and I hope you win!
Jaded releases today, and in celebration, I’m giving away three copies to these lucky newsletter subscribers. Thank you for your support and encouragement. It’s been a l-o-n-g journey.
- Cheryl Porter
Jaded can now be found in bookstores (yippee!) or you can order it online here.
To be included in future drawings, sign-up for my quarterly newsletter.
Why did I write a book about church hurt?
The honest answer is: it was an accident.
Really. It was. Five years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom, reading books to fill the void of a newly implemented no-television lifestyle, and I decided to try my hand at writing my own. Inspirational romance was my favorite aisle at the bookstore, so I sat down to write a story about a girl and a guy.
Well, since it was inspirational, the girl and guy ended up going to church, and suddenly there was church hurt, right there on the page, causing problems between my sweetheart and her hero. I had heard writers talk about characters taking over the story, and mine certainly did, but deep down inside, I realized the reason why.
Even though I had never been dramatically or publicly wounded by Christians, the issue of church hurt simmered deep in my soul.
And it bothered me.
But I got nervous. Should I write something like that? Would readers be offended? Would they judge me? And the most practical question: would any publisher touch it anyway?
I worried and fretted and sought advice from friends and family and industry professionals, and got…mixed opinions. Almost everyone agreed that church hurt is real, though a few stragglers insisted the things I was writing would never happen in a group of believers. (I’d like to find their congregation and join it.) But the more I discussed it, the less I worried because God seemed to grant me peace.
Then something unexpected happened. When people heard what I was writing, they started telling me their own stories:
- A youth minister publicly humiliating a teenager
- A family ostracized when their unwed daughter got pregnant
- Countless stories of hurtful behavior aimed toward divorced Christians
It broke my heart, and at that point, I realized I had been asking the wrong questions. It wasn’t a matter of offending readers, or having my feelings hurt, or getting the book published. It all boiled down to whether or not the book could help those who have been injured.
That’s why I wrote a book about church hurt.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
What about you? If you were to write a book, what would you write?
In anticipation of Jaded‘s release, I’m giving away a paperback copy. I’ll draw the winner from my newsletter list, so sign-up for a chance to win!