Pastors Who Hurt People

file000500896136Pastors hurt people. Pastors hurt a lot of people. Shouldn’t they know better? Don’t they care? How can they be in leadership and treat people in a way that is painful and hurtful? How can they continue in leadership when they act in this manner?

I used to be a pastor. I wanted to be the best pastor there ever was. I put my entire being into loving people. I never wanted to treat people in the hurtful way other pastors had treated me. I purposed that I would do everything in my power to not bring pain to others. But I am human – and I ended up hurting people.

It is a shame that I hurt others, that I was insensitive, that I was demanding, that I was controlling. I feel awful about it now – yet I am human – and as much as I tried – I still hurt others. It took me a while to realize what a terrible pastor I was. Actually it wasn’t until I stopped pastoring that I realized just how many people I had hurt. It caused my heart so much pain to realize that the very people whom I loved and desired to encourage were actually the ones that I had let down. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I have don’t better?

Why do pastors who hurt others continue to pastor after they have inflicted so much pain? Pastors make a lot of mistakes just like anyone else. They can be insensitive, uncaring, controlling and demanding. If they are too busy “pastoring” they will not be aware of the damage that they are inflicting upon others. Oftentimes a pastor is arrogant. They think that they are untouchable just because they have a higher “spiritual rank” than others. Actually a true pastor should prove himself by being the lowest servant of all – just as Jesus was.

We live in a day and age when there is power and prestige that is given to many pastors – this is not Christ. Jesus came as the perfect pastor – a suffering saint, a broken lamb that was slain. Yet our society loves to honor man as if he were a God – this causes men such as pastors to begin to think they are something that they are really not.

So many people have been hurt by pastors that they never become a part  of a church again – why bother? There is too much at risk. Why allow yourself the possibility of another pastor hurting  you again? There could very well be millions who have been hurt in such a manner. I don’t believe this situation will change until the body of Christ comes back to the basics – true agape love, servitude, humility and caring.

With so much money in todays church there has sprouted a spirit of pride. “Pride goes before a fall.” The body of Christ has fallen – and its people have paid the painful price. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We are hurting without a balm. We are lost without a home. What should you do if you have been hurt by a pastor? file000871375277Confront him or her. Precede this by prayer and fasting. Go in a spirit of brokenness and humility – but go. According to Matthew 18 you have a responsibility to confront the pastor of his or her wrongdoings. If you don’t do it how will he learn, how will he grow, how will he repent?

Go even if you are scared or uncertain. Go even if you are about to leave the church. He or she must hear the truth. How else can they change? They will continue to hurt others if their sin is not exposed. You have a right and a responsibility to go.

Should you leave the church if you have been hurt? Sometimes the hurt is so deep that it is best to find a new fellowship elsewhere. You notice I didn’t say “church.” As long as you are getting fellowship somewhere that is all that matters. You don’t need to be in a church building to find fellowship – it can be with just 2 or 3 other people who desire to read the Word and pray together. Fellowship is important and we are reminded not to forsake it – but it doesn’t have to be in a church building.

How can you heal from the pain? When a pastor has hurt you it is often so deep that it can leave scars of pain, resentment, bitterness and disillusionment. You don’t want to give the devil an opportunity by allowing the pain to fester. You need Inner Healing. Read all my posts on Inner Healing Each time you feel the old resentment or bitterness creep up once again apply the Balm of Gilead. Wounds can take years to heal – that is ok.

The important thing is for you to begin your healing  journey so that you will not end up an ugly, bitter person who also in turn hurts others. Finally, I want to ask your forgiveness. I represent pastors – I am here to humbly and with a broken heart sincerely ask your forgiveness for all the pain your pastor has caused you. Would you forgive me? I know the pain is too great for you to forgive. So I ask you – would you allow Jesus to forgive your pastor through you? Just be a vessel of God’s love. Let Him do all the work. Allow His forgiveness to flow through you.

If you are Struggling with Forgiveness  this teaching will help you.  I am so very sorry that you were hurt by a pastor. You didn’t deserve it. You are precious to God and you deserve to be loved and honored.

You are the most valuable person on the planet. Your pastor made a lot of mistakes. One day he or she will see all the wrong that they have done – they will have to stand before Christ and give account of their actions. But you can be free of their wrongdoings and mistakes. Release them. Allow Christ’s love to flow through you. Allow healing.

“Dear Lord, I pray for your child who has been hurt by a pastor. Let them know how very precious they are to you. Shower them with your warmth and healing. Restore to them their joy, their peace and their hope. Let them know there are better days ahead. Give them the courage to confront the situation and address the problem. Bring them into fellowship with people who do love and appreciate them.” In Jesus name.  amen

22 thoughts on “Pastors Who Hurt People

  1. Wow. It’s been awhile since I read this blog and just wanted to share a little bit about “post” hurt for those of you still living in that moment of hurt.

    I’d highly recommend reading “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. Yes, it’s a little confrontational and not exactly what anyone who is hurt wants. However, if you are serious about moving past the hurt into a space of true forgiveness it’s so great.

    I’m happy to say forgiveness is very possible and I was even able to return to doing ministry in a church. Which is so far from where I’d thought I’d ever be. This blog certainly help give me a space in the time of grieving knowing I’m not alone.

    The great news is not only can you move on, you will be so much stronger. It’s terrible to feel so broken, so alone and so frustrated with the church and it’s leaders. Thanks to Jackie for this blog, for making us all feel a little less alone and offer us a voice in the darkest of times.

    I’m so thankful for a gracious Father who can mend broken hearts. I’m thankful for imperfect people – knowing that I’m counted among them and God’s grace always extends to us all. Praying for those of you hurting today that you too will find healing and will be able to grow even deeper in your love for both God and maybe even the church!

  2. Ty for this post, I,VE been fighting to get over the leaders lies to me , I know Jesus but some curse you because Jesus heals miracles pro. Others but no I am not their leader so some have cursed me to peoples ask for me to minister JEDUS to them outside to some said u cannot even see JEDUS move and thru me at Walmart unless get the stores permissions,I thought okvlord ad n theses places I stillll bless them but learned canot minister Jesus HOLYghost there places ,last one I went up front just standn there to get mog signature for book. And the PS. Literly shovedddddd me on my shoulder and veryyyyy hatefull to me said ,so what are you doing here ,so mean. I was totally shocked Holden thectears within I looked at her and said graciuosly like my Abba does ,what ? I am getting my book signed like others here . she just said oh. But I left there out the building ,we are Jesus building,ANYHOW icleft there in so much tears broken down sayn whyyyyyy Lord. And I said as I walked out the,ll neverrrrrrrrrr step foot in there again. I sence was told others have truobles there but still say Nada , yet a friend told me one leaders there speaks vad of me and I am now today ask to go there with a friend,I tryed to speak to those people there but its like all can say is . we the leaders and excuses as to whyyyyyy others have no say in there . I am askn Jesus ,what do I do now ,I love Jesus and peoples but I cannot go where me or him ain,t received but mostly I guess I just cannot bring myself to be around them. Who hit me an even though do not tell others to keep Jesus peace . what am I to do. I preach JEDUS and loveeee seeing him and hg presence ,thru him in with us we get to get him on others ,but this is like a walll I need down over leaders who think it’s OK to say do what do. I forgiven and pray forrrrrrrrrr rrr others not curse Jesus to them. Sorry do long. Guess love added prayers and do I go there with my friend or even telll her that the leader there did to me ?._thanks for prayers its by His graces I am who I am .

    1. Tina, Please read Matthew 18. In this passage we are given instructions to follow when a brother/ sister in the Lord offend us. We are told to go to the one who offended us alone. Then if he refuses to hear us we can take someone with us. Finally, if needed we can take the matter to the church. After reading and meditating on this passage , ask the Lord what He would have you do. Be certain that you have humbled yourself before the Lord and have laid aside all anger. Allow the Lord to give His peace to you.

      If you can not stay in the church and have peace then quietly leave. Keep your focus on Jesus. Leave the matter in His hands. Trust Him to lead you. Guard your heart so there will be no bitterness there. Matthew 18 also tells us to forgive those who sin against us. No matter the outcome of this, forgive those who have come against you.

      Jesus did not force Himself on anyone. He told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet as they left. Matthew 10.

      I am praying for you.
      Judy-a Mountain Streams Counsellor

  3. I was searching for an answer and found it in your blog. Your apology on behalf of other Pastors was a healing moment for me. Forgiveness seems to come much easier than true healing. Thank you so much and God bless.

    1. thank you for sharing your heart. We all have been hurt. It was just this last year when I had a very long and painful experience with another pastor. I thought “Doesn’t it ever end?” Well I needed inner-healing and found it through another very caring pastor. I have had time away from the formal “church” and have been fellowshipping in home church. Blessings and healing to you beloved.

  4. My husband and I have been hurt by a Pastor, and an Associate Pastor and his wife. The church we go to has what seems like a click, the Pastor blew us off after we asked for help to study the Bible.Feelings were very hurt from that, he acts like he did no wrong and gave us papers printed off to read. The Associate Pastor leads many studies and because a woman is late to class, she knocked on the church door and he turned her away. Also the Associate Pastor and wife came to our home and spread gossip.The Associate Pastor told my husband something, and my husband questioned another party about it, he was involved in the situation and asked was the Associate Pastor lieing to him, the other party said yes. The Associate Pastor and his wife turned the situation around and made it as if my husband lied, siding up with the Pastor’s family, saying the Associate Pastor was incapable of lieing and that the Pastor’s son had no reason to lie about the situation. My husband apologized and said if he made the Associate Pastor feel like he had called him a liar he was very sorry. I feel like he was pushed into the corner of apologizing. My husband also asked for a meeting of the 3, that will never happen, you cannot go up against the Pastor’s children, even though they are adults. I’m wondering if we are in the wrong place? Help me, I feel like I’m drowning,,I’ve prayed and I feel like God has said the Associate Pastor and his wife are poison in your life because of the gossip…

    1. Beloved, run from that church – it is not based on biblical principals of love and grace. This is a toxic church. Leave immediately. If you write a letter from the both of you and mail it that would probably be the best way to explain why you left. There are still a few good churches out there but they can be hard to find. Keep praying and seeking. You may only find a small bible study or home church, that is still a great way to fellowship. Also, please read all my posts on inner-healing, The balm of Gilead, so that the pain you experienced won’t turn to bitterness. Praying for you.

  5. I attended the same church for twenty years and that church became my family. I
    attended Sundays faithfully but was there only on average one Wed. night a month.
    Towards the end the assistant pastor was teaching the class on Wednesdays, and I
    questioned (to myself, did not share with anyone), whether his teachings on finances
    were correct according to the Word of God. I know the bible says to be careful what
    we hear, so I stopped going on Wed. nights. I thought it was better to stay home and
    continue to read the word for myself than to get wrong teaching on a regular basis.
    I did not feel guilty for not attending. I started going to an independent service on
    Fridays with another group of Christians at another location. We were like minded and
    all of us attended seperate churches on Sundays.(I am still to this day, attending
    those prayer meetings every other Friday) The problem is the pastor that presides
    has a church on Sundays but it is too far away to attend more than once or twice a
    year. So I continued until over a year ago to attend the church in question in my area.
    The pastor started falsely accusing me publicly about 15 years ago. I thought at
    first I was imagining it and did not want to question anything the pastor was doing.
    I guess I was hoping it was not real and only my imagination. I have respect for pastors
    and am careful to think the best of them. However after years of this and eventually
    realizing it was all too real, I went to him with my concerns. (After being there twenty
    years, I only met with him twice in his office and only to clear this up once and for all)
    I prayed first and presented him with a couple of issues I was most concerned about.
    The fact that he would at times point his finger at me publicly and make some kind of
    statement about me before the congregation for things I was not doing. (And even if
    I would have been guilty of those things, the bible says to meet one on one privately
    to confront an issue). He had never met with me before then to discuss any such thing.
    He denied he had anything against me and even prayed for me in his office. I left
    hoping that was the end of it and things would start to work out for me to be able to
    stay there. Then two weeks later he did it again and this time I’d had enough. I felt
    the Lord say “wipe the dust off your feet” and to get out of there. Since then I’ve tried
    to find another church. I’ve been to three of them and the one I was most attracted to
    the pastor actually pointed his finger at me after two months on a Sunday morning and
    falsely accused me publicly. My friend sitting next to me saw it too….it was NOT my
    imagination. He refused to meet with me and sent his wife instead. She denied it and
    said if he did that “God must have told him so!” I’m now realizing the first pastor is probably spreading lies about me and lied about me to this other pastor. Again, the shepherds not following the word of God about confrontation. How can we follow them
    when truthfully, and I say this humbly, we know more about confrontation than they
    seem to. If they really believed these things, and really had love in their hearts for the
    sheep, they would be happy to meet with us and help us be restored. But I’m realizing
    most shepherds are competitive, jealous and insecure. Now I feel God is asking me
    to confront this first pastor and I know how he is not past being spiteful. Please pray
    for me that God gives me courage like He did with Esther. I’m sure he has done this
    with others through the years. How many wounded sheep might be out there. I do know
    God says these teachers will be judged more strictly, yet they seem to think they get a
    special pass because they are “men of God” (or “women of God”).It’s a sad thing to
    misrepresent God to people.I will also need wisdom to know what to do if he refuses
    to hear……………………. P.S. Thank you for the apology you gave on behalf of
    pastors. I just wish they all felt that way.

  6. Isn’t a pastor supposed to be a shepherd to God’s flock; to lead, to guide and to instruct, to show kindness and understanding? Some are that way; however, our former pastor was not. I had to come to a point where I could forgive him, yet for the life of me I still can’t understand how the pastor of a church can act that way.
    He alienated the main workers of the church and treated them so badly until most of them left. During that time he befriended the weaker members and was kind to them so that they would follow him without question. Before he left, taking the secretary with him, he sold the church. Now our congregation is down to about 50 people on a good day. We are injured, battered and bruised. It has been very difficult for many who are left to get past Mr. Narcissistic Pastor.

    1. Peggy, you and the entire church need healing. It would be wonderful if you could do a weekend healing session on The Balm of Gilead (see my posts). Until you heal you will continue to walk in pain, bitterness and suffering. Claim this year for inner-healing and renewal. God wants you at peace and refreshed, not hurting. You and your memebers must apply The Armor of God daily (see my post) so that you are taking authority over the demonic realm. I am praying for you and the entire congregation that you will once again find hope, joy and healing. Be blessed beloved.

  7. Thank you for your post.

    I left a church about a year ago where I had spent the three years prior in an internship position. I always felt a little used and abused in that nothing I did was good enough. I was being completly controlled down to what I was to say and when. I was so naive because it had been my dream to lead this much.

    I don’t know about anyone else but its been hard for me to leave and “give up”. Ive confronted the pastor multiple times about his arrogance, lack of compassion, hurtful words, trying to control, etc. He apologized or found an excuse and nothing changed. He is an excellent leader with a ton of charisma and though he has never said it he makes you feel like unless you are on his team you will fail. I don’t know if its just his way of boasting himself up so much or just the fact that people are drawn to him. its for this reason that its both scary and frustrating because you just keep hoping things will change and they don’t.

    My heart has been broken that the only thing he said to me after three years of pastoring together his final thought to me leaving is that I would not be missed.

    its hard to not feel like I’m being oversensitive but the church has gone from being a safe place to a place of manipulation and pain.

    Your apology really moved me. In my heart I know he didn’t do any of this on purpose and that he’s blind to it but that didnt stop me from longing for a genuine apology. Thank you for standing in proxy.

    I used to feel like I had a call to ministry on my life but now seeing all these arrogant pastors I feel much like you did. I’m scared to be that person. it seems like that is what is seen as successful these days and I don’t want any part of it.

    The worst of it is the feeling of loneliness and not feeling like you have a healthy avenue to “spill” to without it just deepening the resentment and feeling like gossip.

    Its been over a year since I left the church and I still haven’t found a home. I long for a church family but am so over the politics. Praying that I can pick up the pieces and see what the best next steps are.

    Thanks again for confronting what so many seem silenced on.

    1. Danielle, thank you so much for being honest. Wow, you are a mighty woman of God. I too have yet to find a church to be a part of. I do believe this is a very big problem in America – a lot of churches but no power. A lot of meetings but no love. A lot of busyness but not building up God’s kingdom – just man’s. Please be sure to regularly pray the Balm of Gilead over yourself each and every time the memories and pain arise. You still have a ministry. There is a place for you. It most likely will not be in the “church system.” But God is moving out of the “system” into the highways and byways. You are richly loved by the Father, walk in His power, love and might.

  8. Thank you for this post. My pastor hurt me in the most horrible way 22 years ago. He started grooming me when I was 10 years old and made his move right after I turned 18. My world was turned upside down. I now have a daughter and I can count on one hard how many times I have taken her to church. It is just too scary. My family understands and my husband understands as well and they have never pressured me. I feel like I am doing my daughter a total dis-service for not taking her to church but how can I expose her to the threat of what I experienced?? I don’t know how to forgive him. I tried to find help by reading the Bible but then again, my pastor taught me about the Bible and Confirmed me. I don’t have a lot of faith in going to the Bible for help because I am always reminded of him. After this many years, I have been unable to separate the message from the messenger.

    1. Beloved, you need inner-healing. Read all my posts on The Balm of Gilead. God wants you so totally healed that you can walk right into church with your head held high and be a part of a loving fellowship. It is Satan’s desire that you never attend church. He wants to keep you so beat down that you will never share the joy of praising God with others. Many of us who have been abused have found TOTAL healing and it’s WONDERFUL! Also, read all my posts on Spiritual Warfare and The Armor of God. As you learn to walk in the power of God you will overcome the FEAR that is troubling your mind. Blessings.

  9. I am in such a state of depression because of my Pastor. I’ve worked at the same church for 5 years but have attended there for 20 years. Every friend I have attends that church. This man came in after a narcissistic pastor left (2 years of that). I thought this Pastor was good and I had a hand into helping him get hired. He has said the most awful things about me to me. Pushed me last year into a very deep clinical depression and kept pushing me almost to the breaking point. He has turned my entire life upside down making me question my faith, my sanity, my behavior, and my self esteem. HIs wife and him both come from hurtful backgrounds. His wife is a PK from a very abusive father and my Pastor has been at churches he has been deeply hurt from. But..he keeps treating me like he said he did not like being treated and I am to accept it? I cannot afford to leave the position without having a job which in the rural area we live in is very very difficult to find. I look every day and go away depressed every day when I don’t find anything to apply for. I am so hurt, I almost cannot breath or find it in me to pray. I know God is with me. Why does God allow him to stay in the pulpit. I’m not allowed to tell anyone my hurt…I was threatened last year with my job because of that and told that he believed somewhere deep inside there must be soon goodness he hopes that will eventually come out. I am trying to dig out of this depression that I am sinking into again. If I quit (which I have decided is what is best for me) then I have to leave my friends…This is MY family … this church…20 years.. How can I leave? So, I deal with it…and check out jobs…go on interviews but don’t get hired and then I’m back to square one. He told me this last week that his wife and him and I will never be friends..Never. Reason is I come from a position of power and that power has hurt them at other churches so I am paying the price of past sins of past secretaries. I am seeing a lady who has counseling experience and she helps but not always. Am I suppose to pay for the sins of other secretaries that have hurt my Pastor and his wife?

    1. Beloved, please be sure to get inner-healing with the Balm of Gilead. Also, check out the youtube teaching video “You Don’t Have the Power to Forgive.” Kristen, you are working for a very sick man. He needs help. He has NO POWER OVER YOU – say that out loud right now and all day long. Keep saying it. He is using “Spiritual Intimidation” on you and its working. I want you to begin fasting every type of media, do this for at least 6 months. YOU are in the right and HE is in the WRONG. You need to get strong in the Lord – you have lost your might, your grit, your resolve – because of the abuse He has put on you. Beloved, you are not the only one he is doing this to – there are many others. I want you to get a Word on your situation ( see my post). Only do what the Lord tells you to do. We follow the biblical pattern of Matthew 18. Since it appears you have already confronted him, I now suggest you find another one or two strong and Godly pastors in your area, then go back with them and confront him. Then keep following what it tells you to do in Matthew. If you are not strong enough for this spiritual battle then get out as quickly as possible. I want you to find about 5 prayer warriors who will begin to fast and pray for you. I want you to begin praying with them as much as possible, daily if necessary. If you have it in you to stay then you must have prayer support for the battle ahead. YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING AN EVIL PASTOR – YOU ARE FIGHTING DEMONS WORKING THROUGH A PASTOR. This can only be won through prayer, fasting and spiritual warfare. You are deeply loved by your Heavenly Father. He stands with you in this.

  10. Thank you for your article. I do believe that pastors are human and they do sin. I was hurt by a pastor several years ago because I confronted him on the hurt he was doing to so many of the congregation. He was spreading lies, alienating, and asking others to alienate members of the church. He used his position and stated he was doing it for the good of the church.

    Being a member of the staff and giving him a year to grow and constantly calling him out on lies and manipulation, I finally chose to leave. With this came, as I suspected the lies and alienation thrown at me and my family. I since have met with him several times over the 2 years to try to reconcile, but he strongly refuses. Since then, he has continually hurt members and currently has alienated another staffed pastor at the church.

    He continues to contact any church that my family attends, making it difficult for me to serve. He never says any true concerns, just that they should know that I was asked to leave his church (which was not true). This just is one of the way he manipulates truths to hurt.

    I can’t say I have any anger, I just want him to realize the hurt he is causing in a community that is already struggling. I continue to hear that you should take the steps in Matthew 18. But I have seen the devastation of fellow members before I left, if they took the next step of taking it to the only accountability of the church. He refuses to have a governing board or elders. He just has a hand picked committee.

    I know that God is in control and believe that He will be glorified, I just want to be obedient and used by Him.

    1. Hi there Renee,

      This is such sad story that you share. I can see that you have done all according to scripture. At this point I believe it is best to “turn him over to Satan.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that his soul will be lost but that he has now lost the divine protection that he once had as a believer. Satan is not only our enemy but also God’s tool. In this way affliction can often bring a person back to their senses and into the humility of Christ. Be blessed beloved and continue to apply the Balm of Gilead (see post) that bitterness won’t enter.

  11. Thank you for your well timed article. I have just left a church that my wife and I attended for the last 8 years. Was I hurt by the pastor? No. I left because he was hurt many of the congregation by not being available. He is an excellent speaker, singer and musician but he is not a shepherd who cares for his flock. He has until lately an assistant pastor handle any personal meetings with members of the church. He is so busy with going back to college 3 days a week and many other endeavors; you cannot meet alone with him. In the last year, all 3 assistant pastors, 3 out of 4 elders, 110 people out of 150 people in the congregation have left the body, and the pastor said that he was happy in doing what he is doing. Should I write a letter to him?
    Several months ago, while traveling by trail to Philadelphia for an America for Jesus rally. I met a pastor of a home church which now I attend on Saturdays. He phones me once a week and I was also asked to lead a service at the church. What a difference between the two churches.

    1. Thank you for sharing your heart Jim – I believe that you represent many whose pastors are “too busy” for shepherding the sheep. We live in a world that tells us “You can do more” and we often fall for the lie. Yes, a primary goal of a pastor is to “be there” for his sheep. Yes, you should write him a letter. You have a responsibility to write him a letter sharing exactly what you shared with me. How else will he learn? Be sure that you are respectful and that you speak in grace and love. I am so very glad that you found a group of people who love and care for you. I see America going back to the Home Church – this is a blessing – as this was how the original church of Acts started out. God’s Richest blessings upon you brother!

      1. thanks 4 this article.My story is that my pastor who really loved me hurt me well not necessarily me but my fiance,he told another brother that he sees no future in my relationship with my fiance hence the brother should proceed to propose to me.He also told the brother I confided in him that my mum was not in support of my relationship with my fiance. I did confide in him about my mum’s disagreement about marrying my fiance ,her reason being he is not rich or capable of taking care of me but I never expected my pastor to tell this new brother about it. I and my fiancé felt debased and we left,the pastor later called us and we had a talk about the matter,He denied
        saying those things to the brother but we know he did since he was the one we ran to during the heat of the opposition from my mum. the pastor was not happy because we took offence in the church and in God,this we were sorry for,also sorry for saying mean things about the man of God an noted of the Lord but the whole matter taught us not to confide in pastors again.we are both back to the church and trying to put the past behind us but he still sees us as bad because of our reaction out of anger.This incident has marred our friendship with the pastor but all thanks to God because he has through this taught us.

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