that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. ESV 1 John 1:3
Ever been burned by people? Ever trusted someone who later betrayed you? The scars run deep. I’ve been hurt several times quite deeply, and each time, it cuts to the soul. I know many have been hurt much more deeply than I. Physical, emotional, sexual abuse scars a person in ways we really don’t understand unless we too have experienced such trauma. Sadly, many of our hurts trace back to relationships in the church. So many people have pulled away from the church because of broken trust between themselves and pastors, church leaders or other members. How does this happen, and how can we fix it?
First, sin ruins relationships. Ever since the garden of Eden, sin causes all relationship fractures. Adam and Eve rejected their relationship with God and chose to disobey and eat the fruit. Consequently, they severed their relationship with with God and were forced from the garden. Even today, relationships fail when pride, selfishness and disobedience trump love and trust. Wounds, pain, and distrust replace the security of the relationship. Fellowship becomes a foreign concept as we grow isolated from others. Enter Jesus. Through His death and resurrection, He restores relationships with God and others. Hence the good news we call the gospel. As seen above, we proclaim this news so that you too may have fellowship with us. Others may have burned you, hurt you, betrayed you. But Christ died for you, and we tell you that so you can find healing and fellowship with us. You see, our fellowship is with Father God and Jesus, and we want you to experience that with us. This should be the message of the church.
I don’t know what you have experienced. For some of you, words probably can’t describe it. Know this. God loves you. He sent Jesus to restore your trust in God and others. Yes, it will be a slow process. You probably have anger toward God for allowing such pain in the first place. I get it. Just know that as you focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection, God will slowly work a miracle in you, enabling trust. Restored relationships, trusting people–that’s something worth hoping for.