How can you help someone who has really been burned by the church? How can you reengage without being cynical?

Focus on God’s perspective on relational pain?  In what we call the Lord’s prayer Jesus makes one of the three requests in this prayer he taught his disciples to be about forgiving and asking forgiveness.  He is acknowledging that relational pain is a very common experience in a broken world.  But Jesus also gives hope.  God has an antidote to our hurt and his grace is stronger than the wounds we incur or inflict.

Who “burned you”?

An unhealthy leader — The Biblical response is to take at least two witnesses with you and confront privately and if reconciliation is not achieved, go with the witnesses to the leadership.

A fellow Christian — The Biblical response adds a first step to the above — going privately as a first level way to seek reconciliation.

Is it an old wound and the specific parties are not within contact?  Talk with a trusted friend AFTER honestly praying it out with God.  Make sure you are balancing both grace and truth and consider a long distance contact to seek reconciliation.  Start with praying for anyone you consider an “enemy”.

Were you wounded more by the values and structure?  You failed to maintain sound margins or boundaries and the way Christ’s work was being carried out was destroying Christ’s work in you.  In this case the structure supported or encouraged you to make choices that were self-inflicted wounds.  Forgive yourself.  Learn the lessons.  Get some close friends to help you maintain good margins and boundaries.  Rest and then restart sanely.

What are your thoughts?

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