Stephen felt inspired to write this book because he went through a little bit of a church hurt himself and began to realize that many of the people who aren’t connected to church actually have been to church, but they’ve been hurt by the church.
“40 percent of the people we call the un-churched in America are actually bitter ex-church members.”
He wants to see those people come back to the church.
Stephen explains how people have the desire to hang on to hurt and grasp bitterness. This is problematic because the more we hold on to bitterness and hurt, the more we are in bondage.
When church hurt happens, people have two extreme responses that Stephen identifies in his book: going into a shell or telling everyone and their brother what happened.
Those who go into their shells are hurting because they aren’t opening themselves up for healing. At the same time, those who broadcast their hurt to the world also cause harm because they deepen their own bitterness and spread bitterness to other people.
An important distinction lies between increasing hurt and offering room for healing. There is a difference between working through hurt with a believer and just rehashing the situation over and over.
“The person we all need is the person who loves us, who’s not afraid of us and who gets right in our face.”
A truly helpful listener will notice and call out the issues in the person’s life and help them view the situation in a redemptive way.
“It you want to get whole you better find someone who’s not afraid of you who will break right into your case.”
In their chat, Stephen and Susie also discuss Stephen’s story.