As we deal with what I sense has been an issue with many fallen friends of being mistreated by a pastor, a church or other Christian friends, I have some warning sirens going off in my head. I will be the first to speak out against these ungracious actions, however I also want to beware of attitudes that could be detrimental to those of us who have been mistreated. There are some attitudes I struggled with that hindered me every bit as much as the rejection I felt by others. In fact, it is not the actual rejection that typically causes the most harm. It is how we react and respond that does.
1. Bitterness – Do not get bitter at the ones who mistreat us. Practice forgiveness.
2. Forgetfulness – Do not forget that we had the failure in our lives. Focus on YOU being right and let God take care of them.
3. Argumentativeness – Some will state a differing opinions with me on some of these issues. I am not going to risk my spirit by debating with them. Besides, I am still learning the balance.
4. Whining – Huge temptation when you are mistreated. Buck up friend. Don’t whine. It is akin to murmuring and God hates that.
5. Criticizing – Share your story for edification for condemnation.
6. Attacking – Never attack those who have hurt you. Let God defend you.
7. Lumping -Be careful of lumping all people, pastors or types if churches into a mold. Words like most and all tend to be judgmental when in truth we don’t know most or all.
8. Despair – When I was told by several pastors that I was not welcome it hurt; deeply. Guess what? I had to keep looking until I found a church that understood grace. I did, and you will too.
9. Isolation – Big problem! We get so beat up that we become spiritual hermits. Don’t do it. You need the fellowship of other believers.
10. Assuming – Do not go to a church expecting to be rejected, just because of past experiences. There are times when I fear telling people my name, for fear of how they will react. I must not assume how they will accept me; that is prejudging them.
11. Changing – I am what I am. I believe what I believe. I may not like the disposition of my group but I know what my position is. I can’t deny my faith because I have been hurt by my own. Hey it was the prodigals own brother who rejected him.
12. Missing out – I went to a church several years ago, and caused quite a commotion. Some staff wanted me gone and I never tried to do anything but attend. The pastor loved me and I loved him. He accepted me and My daughters had the opportunity to serve the Lord in ways they would not have had, if I had run. I toughed it out and weathered the storm. I am so glad we did. (DH)