In the last year, I (Curt) have been more hurt by Christians than ever before.  Several times I thought, "How could my brother deceive me like this?" or "How could a sister use us like this?"  If the Holy Spirit is really in their lives, then how could they treat me so badly?  Those feelings of being deceived, used, and forgotten were strong, leading me even to doubt the Spirit's work altogether.

Sadly, this is a common story.  We've all heard stories of Christian leaders involved in terrible financial or sexual scandals that deeply wound others.  Some of you have been the victims of that.  And no doubt you've seen Christians hatefully arguing and churches splitting.  I had seen and heard those things before, but in this past year, it hit me personally.  So how do we deal with this without losing our faith?

First, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Is it Jesus' fault that X pastor slept with his secretary (I see on the news)?  Is it Jesus' fault that Y Christian employee at my restaurant stole money behind our back (personal experience)?  For me, it was healing to go back to the Gospels and see how Jesus humbly and gently treated people.  He is perfect.  It would be foolish for us to deny Jesus because of the acts of others.  Why would I let X or Y control my faith?

Second, we must acknowledge "wolves in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15).  Jesus warned us.  Some people out there will pretend to be prophets, but really don't know Jesus at all.  Perhaps the person that hurt you or hurt me, or the pastor we'll see on CNN in scandal doesn't know Jesus at all.  Jesus says in verse 16 that we'll know these wolves by their fruit.  I'll give an example:

Most people know about the actions of Fred Phelps from Westboro Baptist Church in my beloved home state of Kansas.  God is the judge of Phelps; I am not.  But at the same time, is it fair for people to judge Christians by the actions of Phelps?  As I look at the fruit from Phelps life, I would speculate he doesn't know Jesus at all.  It's a shame how the media is slowly lumping a lot of Christians in with Phelps-like attitudes and actions.  Jesus and Fred Phelps are very different.

Third, we must look at ourselves.  Yep, I felt deceived and used.  It hurt.  But have I never deceived or used anyone?  Am I not equally a sinner as the person who hurt me?  There is a dangerous temptation to pride in these situations.  James 2:10 says, "whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."  Moreover, if I look deeply in my soul and the motives of my actions, I find that over 90% of my actions are at heart largely selfish (a lot of my doofusness in interactions with Michelle).  I'm not so great.  Neither are you.  Therefore, as we process our hurt, let's not elevate ourselves in pride.

Fourth, let's look at all the good things the Holy Spirit is doing!  He is at work.  I've lived and traveled to places where I've seen some horrific sin, and sometimes "Christians" are responsible for it.  And I haven't seen the worst.  Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is at work, transforming lives around the world.  CNN and FoxNews won't cover it, but it's happening.  We're prone to see the negative and blame God, but let's instead see the positive and praise God.  Since the time Jesus walked the earth, many humble believers, through the power of the Spirit, have tirelessly sacrificed for the good of others.

I'll wrap this up here.  I didn't mention forgiving the people that hurt you, because people have written whole books about that.  It's hard, and I'm still working on it, but it's crucial.  So that's a few things that helped me through some hurt.  To sum up: look at Jesus.  He's perfectly good, infinitely wise, and reigning in glory, even when his followers really mess up.
 


Comments

Stacy
07/19/2011 12:44pm

So much truth!

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Aunt R
07/19/2011 4:01pm

Curt, we are using the Adam Hamilton DVD on "How Christians Get it Wrong". He is a Methodist pastor in Kansas. Stats he shares that most people in their 20s do not want to be Christians because the adjectives used to describe us are: hypocritical, judgmental, narrow minded and a few more negatives. It is an interesting series so far with good thought provoking lessons. Interesting, this age group does not have a problem with Jesus, it is the people who claim to follow him and how they do/show it. Just another FYI for you.

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Mom Kim
07/20/2011 9:05am

third paragraph is the key in my opinion and I love your thoughts that why would we let the actions of others ruin our relationship with Jesus? i understand, of course, that we come to know Him thru others, but at some point our relationship with Him stands on its own and it is the most solid and dependable thing in my life...indeed a Rock. Forgiveness is also very important and can really destroy us if we can't forgive.

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Linda Romig
07/23/2011 5:04pm

Curt, I'm very sorry to hear that Christians that you depended on and trusted have hurt your heart. This happened to me too and yes, the pain goes deep. I believe God intends for us to remember only to the extent that we learn a life lesson from the experience. I quote from an old book - Apples of Gold...."Hatred is like an acid. It does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than on which it is poured". As you know, forgiveness is often a process. Thankfully, God understands our humaneness and knows when our heart is right.
God's speed, Aunt Linda

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01/25/2012 9:34am

THX for info

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01/28/2012 5:52pm

Great info, thx

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03/27/2012 11:38am

Good info bro

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05/14/2012 10:07am

THX for info

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