A Plea To Those Who Have Been Hurt

Article By: Sammy Kibisu - Broken Arrow, OK

Over the years many have contacted me about their hurts and wounds from bad religious experiences. I have had my share and battled the need to keep the hurts but each time the Lord has taught me to forgive and let go. It was Nelson Mandela who said, “Holding unforgiveness in your heart is like drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other party.

Maybe you or someone you know says, “I wouldn’t go back to that church without a bodyguard and a lawyer on retainer.” Perhaps you float from one place to the next fearful to put down roots or get close to anyone. Please consider the following:

  1. Allow for Healing Grace – Do not rush past your pain but rather slow down and let the Holy Spirit do surgery. Listen for His voice. Allow the Holy Spirit salve to be applied to your most pronounced cuts, bruises, scrapes and gashes in the depth of your being. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can dig deep into the human recesses and bring healing for hurts and even grief. Trust Him to do it in you. The Spirit will guide you into green pastures and beside quiet waters and begin to restore your soul.
  2. Therefore Forgive – Do not let the sun to go down on your anger (Eph. 4:26). Forgiveness is always a choice. It is not an emotion or a feeling, but it is saying, “I know what you’ve done, and it really hurts. But, I choose to forgive you. I do this because of the example and power in Jesus.” Forgiveness releases bitterness that suffocates joy. Forgiveness is never easy. In fact, the only thing more costly than forgiveness is not forgiving.
  3. Live the 50/20 Rule – In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says after so much betrayal and hardship, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.” Joseph grasped that a higher purpose was at work. God can and does use stupidity, wounding times and hurt redemptively. The bigger picture reveals that God turns stumbling times into steppingstones that lead to destinies. Who would have ever thought Joseph would become the Prime Minister of Egypt? Yet God knew all along that this was Joseph’s destiny so he set him on a path to become just it. With God’s sovereignty in mind, the choice remains either to run from pain or enjoy the scenery in life’s zigzags as we squeeze out all God has for us.
  4. Step Toward Trusting Again – Take steps, even baby steps, in the direction of wisdom. This is the harder but necessary part. I remember a close friend of mine explaining to me about how when working hard in seminary to secure a required summer internship… He was mentored by a well-known veteran pastor. What an opportunity. What a good friendship. It was a great summer. Months later, it was discovered his beloved pastor, mentor and friend was a fraud parading for years as a pastor and doctor. It was the ecclesiastical version of the literature book I once studied in High School called, the Government Inspector. When the truth came out, everyone was stunned. The people were afraid as the true Inspector now takes the scene.

In the case of the man who first exposed the fraud about the fake Pastor, he was particularly disillusioned and withdrew from everything Christian. Months down the road, when he finally returned to my friend’s church, they met at the front door. This is how their conversation went:

He said to me, “I don’t think I can ever trust again.” I understood. The situation was devastating. However, I had to say to him, “Don’t go the rest of your life never trusting again. You will miss too much.”

Well friend, brother or sister in Christ…Go as slow as you need to. Test everything. But learn to trust again.

Sammy Kibisu works at the Church on the Move (COTM), Tulsa, OK, as a discipleship leader. He has saved at Hekima Family Center, Nairobi.


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