I sat on the other end of the phone in pure amazement. Disbelief, hurt, and anger flooded my thoughts. I could not believe what I was hearing, more importantly I could not believe who it was coming from. I loved this person not only because she was my family member, but because she was my spiritual mother. She was the same person that encouraged and spoke life into me during discouraging times in my life’; yet, she was the same person killing my spirit at that moment. It was a Friday evening, my church was having a revival and I chose not to attend for various reasons: I was extremely tired after working all week and wanted to relax at home and honestly I wasn’t feeling it. At times even as committed, faithful Christians we don’t always feel like going to church. Lastly, I was tired of church as usual, tired of going through the motions. I was dealing with some personal issues and right or wrong this is the way I chose to handle them. My phone rang and the person on the other asked if I was coming to church. After I told her that I wasn’t coming, you would have thought I just cussed her out. She became very upset and asked why I wasn’t coming to church. I simply replied that I wasn’t coming with no explanation. What I really wanted to say was I don’t feel like it! But because of the respect I had for her I chose to keep my mouth shut. She then said, “Are you slacking on your responsibilities? What’s going on with you?” She never gave me a chance to reply to the questions. I began to cry silently because again I could not believe this person allowed her emotions to get the best of her. At that point I could hear her voice, but did not know what she was saying. Her last words to me were, “You’re going to need God.” If she only knew about badly I needed him at that moment, she might not have said those things. A few weeks before that I experienced a miscarriage and was in a season of uncertainty. I was also dealing with other personal issues that only God and I knew about. Spiritually speaking I was in a very fragile state. As we hung up the phone I cried. This person surprised me in deed and speech. I could not believe she spoke to me this way. I was a faithful member of my church for many years. I was on the praise and worship team, choir, youth director, chairlady of women’s day and Missionary. These ministries required hard work and dedication on my part. I was very committed first to God, then my church.

I was devastated for days, weeks and months to come. I kept replaying the conversation in my mind. I never thought I would experience this type of hurt in the church. I’ve always heard people say, “The worse type of hurt to experience is church hurt.” I never fully understood it until I found myself in it. This was the worst hurt I’ve ever experienced. This hurt totally caught me off guard. I didn’t feel as though what happened warranted this type of rebuke or correction. And most importantly I didn’t think it could have come from this person.

The church is supposed to be a place a healing, a hospital in a sense. It is not a place to be wounded and discouraged. It is a place of life not death. However, I thanked God for this experience because it taught me to watch my mouth and my tone towards people. I recognized that this experience was supposed to discourage and kill me in my fragile state, but it only made me stronger and more dependent upon God. What if I allowed those words to reside in my sprit and left the church or even worse gave up on God? Many people who have been hurt in the church have either left a church or gave up on God because of what was said or done to them in the church. As people of God we must not take a “holier than thou” attitude. We must be empathetic to the thoughts and feelings of our brothers and sisters in Christ. My grandmother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes we need to go back to the basics. Not watching what you say to people can abort you and that person’s destiny. Be careful what comes out of your mouth because it has the power to bring life or death to a person or situation. If we speak out of the spirit and heart of God and not our emotions we wouldn’t bring hurt. I’m not saying that we as Christians shouldn’t encourage or admonish each other when it is called for, I just think that we should prayerfully approach the situation and ask God what to say to that person and how to say it.

Many people I know were hurt in the church. Some have left the church never to return, others have left the church they were hurt at and found another one. I encourage those and others to go back to your first love who is Jesus Christ. He’s waiting with outstretched arms. It’s never too late. Your hurt could be a testimony of victory to someone else.

Be Blessed,

EB White

Elaine Broaster-White is the mother of two wonderful, intelligent children and the wife of the most perfect husband, whose absolutely perfect for her. She’s currently in school earning her degree in Social Work. She’s hoping to sue her degree to help others. But most importantly she is a child of the King, the most High God, Jesus Christ.

© 2010 – 2011, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.

35 comments on “Getting Hurt by Church Folk by Elaine Broaster-White”

  1. Elaine, thank you for writing this piece because I could totally relate to being hurt in the church by church folk. To be honest, I’ve never recovered from the spiritual and emotional hurt I suffered in my childhood church. I am turned off from small churches or churches that are too clichish. During my time of need I overheard some of the church officers talking about me and my situation in the bathroom. When they saw me come out of the stall, they didn’t say hello or even speak to me. I was so hurt by how they treated me. I was surprised that the backbiting and rumors were coming from the officials. I will NEVER fellowshio there again. I can’t do it. I’m so glad that I was able to reconnect with God.

    Thank you for writing this post. be blessed, EB!

  2. There are so many new stories about leaders caught in scandals. When it comes to the religious leaders, it seems to be even more shocking and I think that it does affect a lot of people’s relationship with God. And while some may forgive and look past the ‘indiscretion’/sin, it still shakes them. Thoughts?

  3. I would leave the establishment, simply because I could not ignore the purple elephant in the room. And all while he was preaching, I’d be judging him. Which is not good for him or me. NO other human can affect my relationship with God. My relationship is internal.

  4. I actually experienced this growing up in church. My pastor was accused of sexual molestation of a monir. It was a mess. He was arrested, but was acquitted of ALL charges. It’s been some time, but I don’t recall allof the details except that the young man’s father confessed that he put his son up to do this. Although the pastor was acquitted thoughts still lingered in my mind for years. It’s a shame, but even when leaders are not guilty, they become somehwat tainted by the allegations.

  5. It’s just a hustle. People in the church are so quick to judge “people of the world”, yet, they turn a blind eye and are quick to overlook not only their own short comings, but also those of the “leader” they are following. People in the church are religious but far from spiritual. Of course these very people use the Bible to justify all of their actions…

  6. To me, religious is a practice out of habit. For instance, you watch Oprah everyday at 4pm, you watch her religiously. People in the church go to church every Sunday, they know how to shout, how to do the movements while pretending to catch the spirit, how to pray, how to give that same dry testimony….it’s all out of habit. Being spiritual is emboding principles to be of service, helpful to mankind, and having a meek and humble spirit. Do you know there are pastors who can tear a church up on Sunday and then won’t even speak to you when they pass you in the grocery store on Monday? Deacons in the church act holy on Sunday, but won’t even go to an elderly person’s house to cut the grass for her. You don’t have to be in the church to be a spiritual person…

  7. Church leaders are human & are bound to make mistakes like every other persons so I think they need to be encouraged prayerfully. And it should not discourage us knowing we are all work in progress & God’s grace that always keep us on the right track of our christian living. We put our focus on God becos when we look so much on man we are disappointed, but with Him we need each other to be strong in our walk with Him

  8. I live in the ATL where the Bishop Eddie Long was accused of being with many young men in his church!! He of course denied these things but with the boys getting together with a law suit it was a huge deal!! I don’t go to his church, but had watched him on TV on occasion. I was disgusted!!! Now they have reported that he is “settling out of court”” smh!! It has taught me that I worship God and not these “Men”!! I am more spiritual and can quote the bible alot more than the people that attend church every sunday! I just have a problem with churches that are sooo big where the Pastor has a Bently and a hellicopter…and most of the people that go to the church are riding the city bus to get there!!

  9. I live in the ATL where the Bishop Eddie Long was accused of being with many young men in his church!! He of course denied these things but with the boys getting together with a law suit it was a huge deal!! I don’t go to his church, but had watched him on TV on occasion. I was disgusted!!! Now they have reported that he is “settling out of court”” smh!! It has taught me that I worship God and not these “Men”!! I am more spiritual and can quote the bible alot more than the people that attend church every sunday! I just have a problem with churches that are sooo big where the Pastor has a Bently and a hellicopter…and most of the people that go to the church are riding the city bus to get there!!

  10. I have been studying with Jehovahs Witnesses myself and when someone commit a gross sin and they are a baptized brother or sister,elder or ministerial servant they get disfellowshipped from the congregation until they repent of that sin!Which is a loving provision.Thats how it was practiced by the first century apostles and if your church dont follow that pattern you are at the wrong place.See pretty soon the government is going to turn on these churches and all false religion that why reading revelation18:4 is very important and understanding and following its instructions if you dont want to be destroyed!

  11. I have been studying with Jehovahs Witnesses myself and when someone commit a gross sin and they are a baptized brother or sister,elder or ministerial servant they get disfellowshipped from the congregation until they repent of that sin!Which is a loving provision.Thats how it was practiced by the first century apostles and if your church dont follow that pattern you are at the wrong place.See pretty soon the government is going to turn on these churches and all false religion that why reading revelation18:4 is very important and understanding and following its instructions if you dont want to be destroyed!

  12. @Chae– Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about excommunicating and disfelowshipping people because that is man’s way of penalizing someone menaing they judge by what the person does to show repentence not necessarily what they actually feel and believe. I understand these practices, but I don’t know if they actually achieve anything more than public humiliation. Please enlighten or correct me. I’m here to learn from you guys. I truly appreciate what everyone has to offer. Thanks!

  13. @Chae– Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about excommunicating and disfelowshipping people because that is man’s way of penalizing someone menaing they judge by what the person does to show repentence not necessarily what they actually feel and believe. I understand these practices, but I don’t know if they actually achieve anything more than public humiliation. Please enlighten or correct me. I’m here to learn from you guys. I truly appreciate what everyone has to offer. Thanks!

  14. @Laticia–Youre right, but you know how it can get up in some of these churhces. It’s like they make the pastors gods and everything is according to the pastor. I can’t stand that about some churches as if they can’t think for themselves. understand that the leader is appointed by God, but we must remember that they are also human and subject to fall like everyone else. That is why I pray for leaders. At the same time, I say get to know God for yourself and establish a relationship with Him for yourself because if not, you

  15. @Laticia–Youre right, but you know how it can get up in some of these churhces. It’s like they make the pastors gods and everything is according to the pastor. I can’t stand that about some churches as if they can’t think for themselves. understand that the leader is appointed by God, but we must remember that they are also human and subject to fall like everyone else. That is why I pray for leaders. At the same time, I say get to know God for yourself and establish a relationship with Him for yourself because if not, you

  16. God has a visible organization that does strive to practice and live by the Bible and that is Jehovahs Witnesses i encourage all lovers of Bible truth to have a free home Bible study with one in your lacality.We are everywhere in the world fullfilling Jesus prophecy at matthew24:14 united in the faith.No other Christian organization does or is doin what we do on a united scale with people of all races.We are in 236 lands and print Bibles and Bible based literature in 400 diffrent languages and distribute these free of charge.We never pass a plate or beg for money….just some evidence God Holy Spirit is backing us worldwide!

  17. It’s strange you would ask this question my faith has been rocked to the core more than once I considered myself a devout Catholic from day one church, school, confirmation, mass & confession. I had to search deep for a new foundation to plant new roots I left for a while but I did not feel comfortable at church with the cell phones, ringing the texting and the note passing I tried Baptist, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, 7th day Adventist & Islam only to come back where I started It did affect my prayer and service I had to accept the fact a man is only human.

  18. Notten should shake yo relationship with God….if a pastor cheats i think they should step down from leading the church because u cant pastor a church and yo house aint in order would i leave yes if a pastor sinning doesnt step down and take a back set

  19. Please keep me in prayer it’s hard bouncing back from someone that’s hurt you in the church. Thank God for just loving us so much that I can give him my hurt. People may say it’s easy to bounce back no it’s not that easy because God got to purge my heart and heal me from hurt. I learn not to put your trust in no man Only but God! He will never fail me nor hurt me! Keep me in prayer and I will do the same. Amen

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