What do you do after being hurt and abused by a man in the church?
Before giving my life to Christ, I used to date terrible men in the world. Most of my relationships included some form of abuse or infidelity, and lots of manipulation. The moment I decided to take my walk with God seriously, I thought everything, including my dating life, would auto correct itself. I assumed men in the church were different, and would treat me differently than men in the world. I thought if he said he was saved and if he was a man of God, I could trust him with my heart before consulting with God.
Then the most interesting thing happened.The men that I dated in the church mirrored the men that I dated in the world! They may not have looked like the men I dated in the world, but they surely thought and acted the way these men of my past did. And although our initial meeting places changed, the quality of my relationships did not. After about three or four disappointing experiences with church guys and/or clergy, I sat down and thought about what could possibly be the real issue. Was I not pretty enough, worthy enough? Were Christian men wolves in sheep clothing? Were pastors and preachers worse than men in the world? Was I under a curse? Did a witch in my family steal my glory?
When I started asking these questions, I gained clarity from the Holy Spirit about the root of my issue. MY desires.
The Holy Spirit showed me that whether I was in the world, and did deeds according to the world or whether I was in church, I’d still perpetuate the cycle of broken and meaningless relationships. And it was solely because my desires were still of fleshly things instead of spiritual ones.
When God commanded us to take delight in Him, and as a result He will give us our heart’s desire (Psalm 37:4), he wasn’t referring to our desires to marry a 6 feet 5 inch, filthy rich athlete who also loves the Lord. He means He will actually GIVE your heart the RIGHT desires. This is NOT the same as the desires of your flesh.
When men in the church abuse and mislead us, we have to ask ourselves a series of questions about why they are even able to. Is the relationship the will of God to begin with? Are we obeying God’s commands of keeping ourselves pure and the marriage bed undefiled? Is our relationship a secret? Are we battling with trust issues, insecurities and bitterness from previous relationships? Do we have the right desires in our hearts? Is the Lord trying to reveal something deeper to us?
Oftentimes, when Christian men and clergy hurt us, we place full blame on them. We share rhetoric like “they should know better,” “how can a man of God act this way?” “Don’t they fear the wrath of God?”
But the truth is, we have to place blame on ourselves instead of making ourselves the victims.
- Fornication, in the church, out of the church, with a man or with clergy will never be accepted or tolerated by God. 1 Corinthians 6:9
- Awakening love before it’s time is never wise. Song of Solomon 8:4
- Opening your heart to men regardless of their church position is foolish and always place you at risk of troubles. Proverbs 4:23
- Idolizing men by replacing them with the Almighty God will always cause destruction. Exodus 20:3
- Trusting the voice of a pastor when it doesn’t align with the voice of God is always dangerous. Galatians 1:8
A member of clergy is not meant to replace the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. A member of clergy is not always responsible for the life of sin you choose to live. At some point in your Christian walk, you should realize that your full dependency should be on the Spirit of the Living God and not in man.
Although the Bible in James 3:1 advises that teachers receive greater judgment, this doesn’t nullify our own judgment for the sins we commit. The more we place blame on others for our shortcomings, the more shortcomings we’ll have.
We must get to a place of working on our own salvation daily, with fear and trembling. We have to choose holy and righteous living even when it doesn’t APPEAR to profit anything. We can no longer accept the images of the world in our churches. We have to be set apart. To be born again means to allow the Holy Spirit to create His new creation in us. Nothing of our old lives should remain in us. The way we dated while we were in the world can no longer be tolerated, even if the relationship is with another believer. The conversations we held for hours at a time must be replaced with devotions to God. The way we thought in the past must also be transformed.
Nobody is responsible for the life we live but ourselves. We have to decide enough is enough. We are walking with God or we are not walking with God. And remember, while we are to shed a light on sin, we do it with wisdom. The Gospel is to be both shared and protected at all costs! Don’t use social media to emotionally share what someone in the church did to offend. Do all with caution and with wisdom. Remember, unbelievers are watching!
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Blazer: Banana Republic (old) ; Blouse: J. Crew (old) ; Trousers: H&M ; Shoes: Banana Republic (old; try these)