It was a betrayal of trust…treachery…a real stab in the back.

It hurt…alot.

We were young…in life, in marriage, and in ministry.  We were in a new place, getting settled into a new ministry position, and eager to form some genuine relationships.

They were a couple, about our age, with an adorable little girl that stole my wife’s heart.  We didn’t have any children, yet, unless you count our two dogs, so we enjoyed doting on this little one.

We enjoyed their company.  We enjoyed the opportunity to share our lives and interests.  They were members of our adult leadership team for the youth group.  Over a few months, we became close…really close…sharing our victories and defeats, sharing our struggles and solutions, sharing in a transparent way about much of our life and history.

We were glad to have such good friends.

Then…the worm turned.  My relationship with the senior pastor began to disintegrate.  There were irreconcilable differences in ministry philosophy.

THE meeting happened one afternoon in November.  My wife and I sat across the desk from the senior pastor to discuss some of the prevailing issues that had quickly boiled to the surface.  It was in that meeting we learned that he had met with our friends.  He began to share details of our lives…the struggles…the defeats…the victories…well, you get the picture.

In that moment, we were wounded in a way that has scarred us for a long time.  We have never had that relationship, again.  Sure, we have had friends, since then.  We’ve shared some fabulous years of ministry with great friends we loved dearly…and still do.  BUT, we’ve never shared that depth of relationship, with another couple, again.

The unfortunate reality is that we are not the only ones who have had this kind of experience.  Over the years, I have known many pastors and their spouses who have experienced the pain and turmoil of this kind of betrayal of trust.

You, too, may have felt “stabbed in the back,” by someone you trusted and loved.  Let me share a few things God has been teaching me.

1. We are called to intimate community.  The Bible is filled with admonitions to love one another, confess to on another, submit to one another, etc.  These relational dynamics do not happen without real relationship, real transparency…real intimacy.

To truly love one another cannot happen without real relationship, real transparency, real intimacy. Click To Tweet

2. We are called to trust God…and one another.  Human relationships can be messy.  Even redeemed humans fail to love appropriately, at times.  We break promises.  We lie.  We avoid.  More often than not, these things are done as self-preservation mechanisms.  They communicate a lack of trust in the person with whom we are relating…and, more importantly, a lack of trust in God.

3. We are not called to isolation. The enemy of our souls, the devil, uses isolation to weaken and defeat us.  Just as a pride of lions will isolate the weak, sick and wounded, the one who prowls like a lion will use our sinful pride and fear to isolate us when we are down. Again, we must trust God in the midst of our relationships with our brothers and sisters, claiming the hope that He has put us where we belong, with whom we belong, to thrive…not just survive.

We must claim the hope that He has put us where we belong, with whom we belong, to thrive...not just survive Click To Tweet

4. Be wise in all things.  Trusting and asking God for wisdom in moving forward in our relationships is wholly appropriate.  Obviously, if you know someone to be a gossip and busybody, do not seek this kind of intimacy with that person, unless there has been genuine repentance on their part.

In the end, we must be strong and courageous, willing to trust God and risk humiliation.  I know that sounds funny for me to say since I have confessed that I really do struggle in this area, still.  God is teaching me.  I am seeking to be and to do all I have stated here.  I have even asked a trusted group of men to hold me accountable in this area…giving them permission to ask and encourage me.  That’s trust.

How about you?



  • Fed Up January 21, 2017 at 11:58 am

    After a few years of attending what we believed to be a church lead by a true man of God, we came to the conclusion that we needed to leave that church. I felt I should explain to the pastor why I was leaving. I gave him a letter expalining my position on some doctrinal issues tht we disagreed on and we parted company. Unortunately the pastor decided tht wasn’t good enough and decided he wantd to fight about it. After a couple of snotograms from this pastor I blocked his hate mails and refused to continue. Then when he couldn’t get any satisfaction from fighting with me, he went to the congregation and demeaned both me and my wife giving us no chance to defend ourself with the truth. To make it worse he told them not to talk to us. He got his say. Not one person in that lovely Christian church even bothered to call or ask if we were alright. What kind of vengeful person acts like that, much less a pastor. All we did was tell him why we were leaving. We didn’t tell anyone in the church about it. He chose to lie about us, and defame us to the entire church. My advice, if you are leaving a church, leave, don’t tell them anything, and please……..DON’T DRINK THE KOOL-AID on the way out.

    • Pastor James January 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Wow…it is especially painful when we are wounded by those who are meant to participate in mending. I’m truly sorry that you have had such an experience. This is certainly no excuse for anyone’s actions, but such stories are a constant reminder that the Church is made up of people; imperfect, sometimes easily offended and prone to act in downright sinful ways. I have been in positions of pastoral leadership for many years. I have seen both sides of the equation, a number of times. I have hurt others and been hurt. There have been times when my judgment has been clouded by ignorance or pride. There have been times when my motive has been pure, but I have failed in the application. My prayer is that God’s mercy and grace will be magnified in this situation as it has been in many of my own experiences. This journey is not easy and is not meant to be walked alone. I pray you find a place of healing and hope within the Body.

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