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Church Hurt vs Hurt Church

A Hurting Church vs A Healthy Church

Hebrews 10:25 TPT - 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect[a] meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.

I have been in the church for over 50 years of my life. I have lived through one trend after another. I have done wrong while in the church and I have been wronged. Before the words “church hurt” became popular, common, and overused, I am sure I have been both a victim and a perpetrator at one time or another. Thankfully, I have survived them both.

I have only pastored one church but before that, I had been a member of several different churches. Each time I left, I always tried to leave in good standing. In over 50 years, I have never been asked to leave a church. I have been rebuked, corrected, overlooked, pointed out, and even shamed in front of the congregation and behind the scenes. And despite all of that, I never once thought to stop attending church simply because I had a bad experience. After all, I have had more good experiences than bad.

In full confession, there were times when I had to leave the particular church that I was attending, but I didn’t choose to quit going to church altogether. Hebrews 10:25 did not allow for that and I refused to become that vulnerable to the enemy who is always seeking a way to destroy me (1 Peter 5:8).


I am sure that I am about to ruffle some feathers but I make no apologies for it. Somebody has to stand up for the church and expose the work of the enemy.

It wasn’t until I became a pastor of my church did I begin to see how church hurt actually happens. You see, people who attend a church that is hurting will more than likely experience church hurt. You've heard the adage, hurt people hurt people.

Healthy churches don’t leave people hurting! Healthy churches heal people! Healthy churches help people!

I learned that a healthy church is full of happy people and humble people who love God. They also love who God loves. John 13:35 - 35 For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”

When I started my church almost 20 years ago, many of us were a hurting mess. Because of that, we were hurting one another. Our pain was so deep that our poisonous tongues were spewing venom everywhere. Or we were helpless victims bleeding all over the place. I am sure some left our church because they experienced true “church hurt” and all we need to do to find them is follow the blood trail. Like so many others, they may have sworn off church altogether. I pray this is not the case and I sincerely apologize if it is.


After a while, the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me our problem. As the pastor, it was up to me to face the problem and it was up to God to fix the problem. One morning during my private prayer time I received my first instruction. "You can take it down or I will tear it down."

I obeyed every instruction that the Holy Spirit gave me. It wasn’t easy because sometimes healing hurts before it helps! This was the hardest time ever for me in ministry. The enemy had come in and done so much damage that I wanted to just walk away. However, if I had done that I would have inflicted more pain on the ones who were already suffering. I remember one Sunday standing before my congregation repenting to them and to the Lord. I remember making my confessions and giving all of them permission to leave if they chose to. Thankfully, all of them stayed and we began to do the work that led to our restoration.


Proverbs 10:12 - Hatred keeps old quarrels alive,[a]

but love draws a veil over every insult[b]

and finds a way to make sin disappear.

From the pulpit to the pew work had to be done. Individually and corporately we had to take ownership of intentional and unintentional sins. We had to forgive offenses often and offenders repeatedly. We had to love in spite of flaws. We had to obey the Word instead of justifying our wrongs. We had to honor one another in the spirit of humility and love.

It was not quick. It was not easy. And it certainly wasn’t painless or shameless. But it has been worth it!!!!

We are not a perfect church but we are a healthy church. We are happy to see one another and to help each other. Don't be fooled, this is not the kind of work that ever ends. Healing continues to take place in our church and in the people because hurts happen where humanity exists. That’s reality! But the other side of the coin is that healing happens where love exists!!


Hebrews 10:25 TPT - 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect[a] meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.

I know there are a lot of pastors who will not be this transparent. But I love the church and I love the people of God. It grieves me tremendously to see so many who have abandoned the church and are suffering needlessly when there is a solution for your pain.

If you are a victim of church hurt, don’t forsake the church. Find a healthy one so you can get healed and made whole.

If you are a pastor, please take the time to do the hard and responsible work of examining your church. Is it hurting? Is it hurting others? Your job isn’t to fix the problem but you do have to face it, address it, and allow God to fix it.

People of God, Hebrews 10:25 makes it clear that our gathering together is necessary for us to remain encouraged to continue our walk in Christ. As one of my dear sisters in Christ says every Sunday morning on her social media sites, 'Go to church!'

Blessings to you,

Pastor Karen Jethroe


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