Shortly after my mom became a Christian in her 20s, she was deeply hurt by someone who professed faith in Jesus. At the time, she didn’t understand how someone who said they believed in God’s redemptive love could be so unkind. Luckily, my mom had other strong, loving Christians to look up to.
I’m thankful that my mom chose to follow God and not His people. As a new believer, she chose forgiveness. However, many people are not willing to return to church or even give it a chance because they have been hurt by a Christian.
I get it. I have also been hurt by fellow believers. It sucks. It almost hurts more than when people who aren’t Christians hurt me. It’s because I hold Christians to a higher standard and rightly so. The moment you say “I believe in the finished work of the cross” you should aim to live every day with the same heart for people that Jesus had. Jesus was sinless, however. We are not. Therefore, we will NEVER live even a single day without sin, try as we might.
Many people who have been hurt by believers aren’t willing to give church a chance. It’s a tale as old as time. From their stories, Christians seem to be some of the most unkind people in their life. Is it because non-believers subconsciously hold Christians to a higher standard of living as well?
Did you know Jesus was also hurt by fellow believers? Thomas doubted Him. Peter denied Him. Mary showed disappointment in Him when he did not come to save Lazarus right away. Thank goodness he didn’t say, “If this is how these people are going to treat me, then forget it!” No! He continued with his rescue mission and showed steadfast love even through it all.
So how do we respond when a Christian hurts us? If you’re in Christ, you can look to Jesus’s example of grace to guide you. Grace is the only way I have been able to maintain some form of sanity in situations or relationships that are turbulent. If I don’t show grace to those who have hurt me, I’m really only hurting myself. Furthermore, it means I’m not practicing what I believe in.
Looking back on my life, I can see the times when I’ve been in the wrong, hurt people, or acted very un-Christlike and I’m sad to say that I wasn’t exemplifying Jesus in those moments. Obviously, I’m not a perfect Christian either, but I’m thankful for the forgiveness and grace that God has extended to me and I will try to use that love as a foundation for the next time I’m inevitably hurt by a fellow believer.