I know people who have been hurt in church. I know lots of people who have been hurt in church. In some cases, their experiences in church have left a bitter gall in their belly. Church, once a joy, became a story told until threadbare, now discarded. They have left church with no desire to return.
Other people I know still desire church community in spite of their painful experience. They desire the corporate worship, friendship, teaching, and ministerial opportunities often found in church, but they don’t want the part of church that raped their soul.
I have been hurt in church. What church took from me happened so gradually that I did not even know the extent of my injury. Oh sure, I sensed something awry, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what. I blamed the unsettled feeling on myself. I was selfish. I was judgmental. I was not heavenly-minded enough. I had to pray and seek forgiveness from God and from others. I had to try harder to fit in.
Now I know better.