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The Baggage We Carry 4: Abuse in the Church

The Baggage We Carry Day 4 – Abuse in the Church

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3, ESV)

A heartbreaking truth we can’t deny is that sometimes God’s people in the church are responsible for crushing the hearts of some and turning others away completely. In some instances, church leaders in a position of authority, but having no evidence of eternal life, use their position to control and abuse members. This is a disgrace! 

Some people have been sucked into a cult, whether by family origin or persuasive ambassadors for the movement. While it seems like a good thing initially, in time the mind control and abuse become apparent and breaking free can be extremely challenging and dangerous. 

But more prevalent is the use of passive-aggressive comments from “well intending” fellow believers within our church families that are meant to control our behavior. I do not speak here of biblical instruction with a tender and compassionate approach; that is very needful in every local church. Rather what I am referring to is a person’s use of snide or sarcastic comments that belittle others, under the pretense of “correction,” as they seek to control members.

So what are we to do when we experience abuse at the hands of the church? So often, we see someone completely turn away from attending any church after experiencing such abuse and pain from members. As a believer, though, this goes against biblical principles to regularly gather and remember the Lord through worship, communion, and using our gifts within the Body of Christ. 

It is far better to confront the one who has hurt you, seek advice from church leaders, and if the leadership is at fault (truly at fault), then find a God-honoring place to worship where abuse is not present. 

Forgiveness is key in the life of a believer, as we’ve mentioned before in this study. We cannot thrive spiritually while shouldering burdens and baggage of our past hurts. We must be willing to confront, forgive and move forward with purpose and love. 

Know this: God is compassionate toward your hurt. The local church where the Body of Christ gathers should be a place of safety and love, not abuse and hurt. Sometimes, though, we must simply surrender our pain and hurt, knowing that one day our Righteous Judge will make all things right. Until that day comes, we must do our own part to live peaceably with all, demonstrating His love to all who walk the halls of our churches. May it never be said of me that I caused someone to walk away.

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