This week I wrote about some fears I have about finishing ministry strong. The post resonated with a lot of people. More people than I had ever imagined. As of today that one post has been seen by more people than my total posts from last year.
Because of that there are a lot of comments. Many of the comments are from people I don’t know. One comment stood out to me especially.
One of the comments from the post was from the Rock.
I love the Rock!
The Rock has a home in Virginia, so I’m 13.5% sure the comment was from the former WWE superstar, and current Hollywood superstar.
I kid, I kid.
This post is incredibly serious. It’s such a serious matter I was trying to ease into by using some humor.
The comment, however, is no laughing matter.
The truth is there are a lot of people who have been hurt or disillusioned by pastors in the local church.
To anyone who reads this who has been hurt I am saying, “I’m sorry.”
- If you gave their all only to be dismissed quickly as if they no longer matter, I’m sorry.
- If you were lied to by pastors, I’m sorry.
- If you are still struggling with wounds caused by church staff, I’m sorry.
- If you didn’t have your needs met, I’m sorry.
- If you felt you were only a number, I’m sorry.
- If you felt your needs didn’t matter, I’m sorry.
- If you felt you only mattered because you had money, I’m sorry.
- If you felt no one was there for you in your greatest time of need, I’m sorry.
- If you are hurt because you feel the pastor and staff moved on quickly after you left, I’m sorry.
- If you gave, and gave, and gave, and never received a thank you, I’m sorry.
- If your pastor wasn’t who you thought he was, I’m sorry.
- If your pastor took advantage of you, I’m sorry.
- If you grew up in a fundamental church and were told if you believe differently you are going to Hell, I’m sorry.
- If you had guilt or pressure “In the name of Jesus” put on you to stay in a church, I’m sorry.
- If you feel like you had to pretend to be better than you were in order to belong in the church, I’m sorry.
- If you only get texts from a pastor because he needs something, I’m sorry.
- If you felt you had to pretend to be okay in order to help others, I’m sorry.
- If you have been sexually abused by someone in spiritual authority, I’m so sorry.
- If you feel you were shut out by a church, I’m sorry.
- If you were misunderstood in the church, I’m sorry.
- If you love Jesus, but just can’t take any more hurt from church leaders, I’m sorry.
- If you walked away from the faith because of judgmental pastors or staff, I’m sorry.
- If your hurt was met by trite answers and a quick Bible verse, but no empathy, I’m sorry.
- If you are carrying around the wounds from a pastor or church staff, I’m sorry.
- If I’m the pastor who hurt you, I’m sorry.
- If your pastor never says, “I’m sorry,” I’m sorry.
Maybe my “Sorry” won’t help you. I hope it will.
If anything please know, you are not alone. Every relationship opens up the door for love and hurt. When hurt happens in the church it can lead to feeling disillusioned with God.
God’s plan is for His bride, the local church, to be the light of the world. That’s a giant risk because each church is made up of imperfect leaders. Sometimes the leaders don’t mean to cause any pain. Sometimes it’s because they are simply a bad leader.
Sometimes the hurt is caused because the pastor hasn’t dealt with his own demons, insecurity, or pain.
Sometimes the hurt is caused because we allow pain to get in the way of relationships. It can be difficult to talk to someone in spiritual leadership about your feelings of hurt.
If you are hurt, I’m sorry.
If you are healing, but still feel fragile, I’m sorry.
Please know, the pain caused by someone is never bigger than the love of God.
Whether the pain you feel was caused intentionally or intentionally there is healing in the name of Jesus.
And maybe your healing can start with, I’m sorry.