As a pastor's daughter, I have unfortunately experienced and witnessed the harm done by evil people many times.
I remember a situation during my elementary school years when a woman in my dad's church told a lie about him. There was zero truth to what she said, but she convinced a faction of people to leave, which also meant I lost my closest friend. As a child, this was so confusing and hurtful. I didn't understand why we couldn't be friends all of a sudden and why her mom would lie about my dad. The woman had her own pain and didn't want to deal with it, so she hurt others in return.
About 20 years later, she came to my dad and apologized for what she had said and done. I'm glad she finally repented, but the damage was done, and the fact that so many families were impacted was very sad. My dad chose to forgive at the time it originally happened, so when she finally apologized, he wasn't bitter.
This situation somewhat prepared me for being a pastor's wife, but as a naturally trusting person, I still got caught off guard by evil people. I have sadly learned that wolves want to harm, which is very different from people who don't intend to cause harm but do. They create so much confusion for the sheep in the church because they know how to manipulate relationships and scatter the church. I have learned that anytime I sense someone coming to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10, GNT), there is a demonic element involved.
This is why church hurt is so common. I have had numerous conversations with people who are afraid of or opposed to trying church again because they are confused or have been hurt by wolves. The church is supposed to be a safe place for hurting people to heal, but evil people hurt them more. Sadly, some people let this be a reflection of who God is instead of seeing it as a spiritual battle for which we should run to Jesus for help. Satan wants us to be isolated, not hear the preached Word, and not be in God's presence with God's people.
When people in the church hurt us, we can ask God to heal those wounds and bring healthy, wise people into our lives. They can help us discern the counterfeits to Christ and help us heal.
Grace Driscoll has been in ministry her entire life as a pastor's daughter and then a pastor's wife. She is the mother of five children, all walking with Jesus and serving at The Trinity Church, which they planted as a family ministry. She coauthored Real Marriage and oversees the Flourish women's ministry. Her public relations degree was put to use when she joined Mark talking about Jesus on The View, Fox and Friends and Loveline. This article is based on Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don't See For Freedom in the One You Do which she co-wrote with her husband, Mark.
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