Years ago, while I was an associate pastor in a Baptist church, I worked with single adults. For a year, I led a Divorce Recovery Program for those who found themselves alone after a divorce. What an education for my wife and me! That year, I spoke with hundreds and hundreds of newly divorced people. One by one, they would sit on the other side of my desk and tell me their troubles.

My heart ached as they shared their stories with me. Once they started opening up to me, there was no turning back. Like a geyser, terrible wounds, suffering, rejection, anger, confusion, and fear poured out endlessly. I was surprised, especially since they all told me the same thing. One after another, the women would say:

“How could he do this to me when I’ve always been faithful?” Then the men: “But I don’t understand, Rick. I was a good husband and always provided well for my family. How could she do this to me after all these years?”

Then, after spending time listening to them and offering advice, I would invite them to attend the singles’ meeting on Sundays to meet people. Their response was 99% of the time: No, no, not me! I’m not going to risk getting hurt again! No, no, and no! Why should I trust someone again? After all these years with my spouse, after all I’ve been through, who guarantees it won’t happen again? If I couldn’t trust them, I couldn’t trust anyone.

Because of this immense wound, which is difficult to put into words, they were terrified of it happening again. They would hide at home, becoming addicted to television or lost in reading, and so on.

Why? Because they were too afraid to trust again, even within the church.

You might find it strange that I’m bringing up this topic. In fact, I hear the same discourse from wounded pastors, church members, and broken friends; they’re all people who have been hurt in the battlefield.

Sure, they don’t all come from divorce, but the discourse is the same. “I can’t believe he lied to me! After all I’ve done for him! I invested my whole life in that brother!” Or, “I am completely broken by what happened to our church. I’m so upset that I don’t know if I could ever go back.” Or, “I can’t understand why they acted this way? Isn’t that the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard? I was so embarrassed, are all Christians like this?”

Thankfully, not all Christians are gossipers, liars, and deceivers. There are, of course! But these few rotten apples are so awful that they tend to make us forget that there are tons and tons of very good apples!

  • Here’s something you should remember:

With all the scandals of the past years, bankruptcies, immorality, and ridiculous teachings that have developed within the Church, it’s easy to become hardened, skeptical, and sarcastic. But we must not let this happen.

Here’s what we must remember! When the Lord Jesus addressed the seven churches of Asia in the second and third chapters of Revelation, He was speaking to churches that had serious problems. For example, Ephesus had lost its first love and was in full regression; Pergamum followed the doctrine of the Nicolaitans; a woman named Jezebel seduced members of the church in Thyatira; the church in Sardis was spiritually dead, and the church in Laodicea had become lukewarm. They sound like problem churches! Okay, you say, but what should we remember?

Jesus said of these churches that they were golden! When He revealed His vision to John, Jesus said to him: “The seven golden lampstands are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20)

Despite their problems, these churches remained precious in the eyes of Jesus. Humanly speaking, it wasn’t brilliant! They seemed to be in total spiritual bankruptcy! And yet, despite all their difficulties and all this disorder, Jesus regarded them as “golden lampstands.” We must never forget that Jesus shed His blood for the Church. And even with all the current problems, He still loves His Church! We must love it too.

If not, we must learn to love it in the same way that Jesus does. It’s His body! If a part of the church has hurt you, then you must forgive. If you can’t, then you must learn to forgive.

Sometimes, I’m amazed to see the lack of good teaching, no evangelism, selfishness, false spirituality, manipulation behind the pulpit, lack of holiness, little commitment to the church, meager offerings. I wonder if the denomination I belonged to was not more effective than we are!

Jesus says in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses.”

When I consider the people of the Word or the Charismatics, I see that they do not testify as much as they should, yet we talk about the power of the Holy Spirit more than anywhere else!

I am sometimes disappointed. I feel like there’s a lot of talk and not much action. That’s when I have to remember that JESUS STILL LOVES THE CHURCH! With all that it’s going through, Jesus still considers the current Church, despite all its…

This text is an excerpt from the book “Living in the Combat Zone” written by Rick Renner.

We invite you to read the following article “The Three Faces of Loyalty“.

Hurt, hurt

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