Finding and joining a church is a lot like the process of getting married. From dating to defining the relationship and then going public, there are several parallels. Unfortunately, those similarities sometimes include heartache too.
I know first hand because of an experience I had several years ago. After being a committed member of my church for more than 10 years I was blindsided by scandal. “There’s going to be an announcement,” a friend said in a phone call. She went on to share details of betrayal and moral failure: there had been an affair. I couldn’t believe it. As I stood at the kitchen sink in shock, tears streamed down my face, and I suddenly felt weak.
I had no verbal response for her announcement. She had just communicated the unthinkable. Instantly, trust was replaced with skepticism. Everything I thought I knew became a lie, and church was no longer the safe refuge I had once deemed it to be.
And as I survey the current Christian landscape of #ChurchToo hashtags, accusations, and resignations I imagine that many have found themselves or are now finding themselves in a similar place. Amid the wreckage of once thriving congregations are people: some who have lost hope, left the church, or abandoned their faith altogether. Although the despair of church hurt is overwhelming, there is hope. God is able to exchange our “ashes for beauty” just as it says in Isaiah 61:3.
There are blessings to be found after experiencing hurt in the church. Below are just a few that I have discovered.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Seth Hays