What you should know about hurt people in the church
What you should know about hurt people in the church (Loren Kerns/Flickr/Creative Commons)

11.  Hurt people have learned to accommodate their private "false self" or "dark side" which causes them to be duplicitous and lack integrity. Often their private life is different from their public life, which causes hypocrisy and compounds feelings of guilt, condemnation and depression.

12.  Hurt people are often self-absorbed with their own pain and are unaware that they are hurting other people. They are often insensitive to other people because their emotional pain limits their capacity for empathy and their capacity for self-awareness.

I have been in numerous situations when someone hurt me and kept on going in the relationship without ever apologizing because they had no clue what they were doing.

13. Hurt people are susceptible to demonic deception. I am convinced that most of the divisions in the church are caused by saints who lack emotional health and project their pain onto others.

Satan works in darkness and deception, and stays away from the light. Hurt people often have destructive habit-patterns that are practiced in the dark. Hence, their mind becomes a breeding ground for satanic infiltration and deception.

If the church would deal more with the emotional health of the individual, there would be less of a foothold for demonic infiltration. Also, there would be stronger relationships, stronger marriages, healthier children, and a more balanced approach to ministry with less of a chance of pastoral and congregational burnout.

 14. God often purposely surfaces pain so hurt people can face reality. Whether it is because of a marriage problem or continual personal conflicts on the job, God often allows conflict and spillover because he wants the infection to stop spreading and the person to be healed.

Often Christians are fighting the devil and blaming him for conflict when in essence God often allows conflict so that people would be motivated to dig deeper into their lives to deal with root causes of destructive thought and habit patterns.

God's purpose for us is that we would all be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This does not just happen with Bible studies, prayer, and times of glory but also in painful situations when we have to face what has been hurting us for many years.

I have noticed that these periods of surfacing woundedness often take place when people transition into the mid-life years of their upper 30s and later. Perhaps this is because by then they are old enough to understand by experience that there is something wrong and also that it is not too late to redeem their pain and restore relationships and maximize their purpose. Rarely is a person able or even willing to deal with and face pain when they hit their senior years (in their 60s or older). Most at this age have already become cynical, hard-hearted, or become so depressed they have become hopeless, even though God is able to help them at any age.

 15. Hurt people need to forgive to be released and restored to freedom. The Gospel of St. John 20:23 says that we have to release the sins of others if we are going to be released. This means that if we do not forgive others then the very thing we have become victimized with will become a part of our life. For example, alcoholic fathers breed alcoholic sons if their sons do not forgive and release their fathers.

The good news is that, through the efficacious blood of Christ, we can all be healed and set free from all past hurts so we can comfort others with the same comfort we ourselves have received from God (2 Cor. 1:4). 

Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church and Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, New York, and author of numerous books, including Ruling in the Gates: Preparing the Church to Transform Cities. Follow him on Facebook or visit him online at josephmattera.org.

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