Episode #110 The Role Church Wounds Play in Deconstruction – Reconstructing Faith

5 Minutes Read

Rest More Resolution Podcast

From Today's Episode:

Welcome! We're in our Reconstructing Faith Series and today's topic is The Role Church Wounds Play in Deconstruction.


Ezekiel 34:1-2, 4-5a, 6b,11-12a,15-16a. Also referenced Ephesians 5:25-27, John 10

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God, right now in this season, how can I respond to you as my greatest shepherd and receive your care for me?

Here's the episode transcript

Hi friends, it's Jen, and we're continuing in our Reconstructing Faith series. And I knew approaching this topic was going to require a very sensitive episode that dealt with church hurt and church wounding, so that's what we're talking about today.

I don't come into this conversation lightly. For a lot of people who are navigating a season of deconstruction, there has been a buildup, multiple circumstances that they have faced in their Christian walk that usually culminate in an experience of significant wounding.

Unfortunately, many people, myself included, have been hurt and abused by people under the banner of Christianity.
And again, I am not an expert on deconstruction. But I am someone who loves God, who loves the church, and is part of the church, and has also been massively hurt by the church.

And the purpose of this episode and the podcast here is not to dive into the specifics of all of those things, but I share that so that you know that I'm coming to this conversation with skin in the game.

I know what it's like to be massively wounded from a place that's supposed to help bring healing. To think you're part of a church family and to have that exact same church home ripped away from you because of wounding and because the church is falling short of God's design and intent for us.

And so if you can relate to those experiences, as someone who is part of the Christian church,

I am sorry.

I am sorry for the ways that you have been mistreated. I am sorry for the lies that have been spoken to you and about you. I am sorry for the ways that pains could have been healed, that wrongs could have been righted, and instead more pain and more mistreatment and more injustice was added to the pain you are already experiencing. On behalf of the bride of Christ of which I am a part I am sorry, that is not who we are created to be.

And so in preparing for and praying about this episode, there are so many different aspects that we could talk about. Whether you're coming with raw, deep, present wounds or you're reflecting on what feels to you like smaller hurts or things that you've healed from already, I encourage you, whatever vantage point you're coming from, ask God how he wants to be your shepherd as we navigate this.

I'm going to read for us some verses from Ezekiel 34. This is a prophecy, so a message from God shared through the prophet Ezekiel to the shepherds who were supposed to take care of God's people, the Israelites. And I'm just going to start in verse one and we'll see where we go.

“’The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?... The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.’” (Ezekiel 34:1-2, 4-5a, 6b)

As we continue in Ezekiel 34, God isn't just correcting the leaders who are mistreating the sheep. He tells them what he is going to do:

“’For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered… I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.’” (Ezekiel 34:11-12a,15-16a)

And then he goes on to speak of the sheep who mistreat the other sheep. How sheep can actually scatter sheep, and how God is the one who will judge because he is our ultimate shepherd.

There's so much mistreatment that continues within the broader church today because under shepherds aren't acting like shepherds. They're not giving themselves for the sheep. And because sheep aren't being kind to one another. Sometimes that can happen. accidentally, because we are a church of fallen people who are all being transformed and renewed, and messy people bring our messes with us.

But I also know that sometimes we make excuses for misbehavior when instead there needs to be correction and adjustment. We are the bride of Christ. The role that Jesus describes for himself as our bridegroom is purifying us so that he can present us to himself without wrinkle or blemish or defect.(That's from Ephesians.) And sometimes we settle for being a church with gaping wounds and missing limbs, and we avoid the work that the shepherd wants to do to bring us into alignment with his good design as his purified, transformed, radiant bride.

God will lead you into safe spaces. You don't have to settle for harmful community to be part of the bride, to be part of the flock. God himself is our greatest shepherd. Even in John 10, Jesus talks about his ministry and he says, I am the shepherd. A hired hand is going to run away when harm comes, when it gets difficult. I care for my sheep.

And so the question that we're bringing to God today is to talk with him about this need we have for him as our shepherd.

Maybe you feel like you've been scattered.
Maybe you feel like you've intentionally left the flock, and you don't know if you ever want to come back because of the way you were treated there.

Those are things God cares about deeply.

Take note of the areas that still feel incredibly painful. And invite God to be your greatest shepherd. Ask him to show you what to do. So here's our question:

God, right now in this season, how can I respond to you as my greatest shepherd and receive your care for me?

Have a good talk.

And if you've been encouraged by this content, please share it with a friend and help them grow in their conversational relationship with God too!

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