Pastor, You Have Offended Me


What do you do when your pastor offends you?  How do you approach the spiritual leader of the church who has hurt you?

Consider taking these steps when approaching a pastor who has offended you.

Talk to your Heavenly Father about the offense.

Pray before you do anything else.  Acknowledge your disappointment. Admit your anger.  Ask the Lord for insight.  There are occasions when the Lord sends healing through private prayer.  Praying about the situation may settle the offense for you.  If so, leave the hurt in God’s hands and move on.

Examine your feelings.

Take some time to understand your feelings.  Why are you angry?  What was it that offended you?  It is easy to say someone angers you.  It takes work to identify your disappointment.  When you identify the root of the problem you can begin to take steps to find a solution.

Ask your pastor for a time to meet privately.

Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15).  Note the instruction, “go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” In the hallway or at the annual picnic or after worship on a Sunday morning is not the best time to discuss an offense.  Schedule a time to visit with your pastor in private.

Address the problem without attacking the pastor.

Do not attack your pastor.  Instead, address the problem.  If necessary, put the offense in writing so you can be specific.  Get to the point.  Try your best to be gracious.  Try not to hurt the offender while describing his offense.

Let me add from my own experience, do not be surprised if your pastor does not have a clue about the offense.  On more than a few occasions I have had to ask the offended individual to recount the situation for me because I could not remember what happened.  Your pastor is not trying to be rude.  If he is like most pastors, he is asking for details so he can recall his offense in order to confess it cleanly and completely.

Be forgiving.

What is the purpose of meeting with your pastor?  Is it to express your anger?  Is it to exact revenge?  Or, is it to seek reconciliation? The only way to achieve reconciliation is for you to be forgiving.  You must be willing to forgive when you speak with your pastor.

Speaking on the subject of forgiveness Jesus said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37-38).

Additionally, God’s Word says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

Drop it and move on.

If your pastor responds with contrition and remorse, give thanks and move on.  If he does not, drop it and move on.  What good is it to hang on to an old heartache?  What does it accomplish to hold a grudge?  If you took all these steps to be reconciled, regardless of the response, move on.

I am always interested in your remarks.  Please feel free to add to the conversation.

  1. Tim McCullough:

    Tar and Feathers and run him out of town on the next stage, that’s my suggestion!!

  2. Ryan:

    Tim, you do have a point. That is another way to respond to a pastor who has offended you.

    Someone let me know if you ever see Tim carrying a bucket of tar or a box of feathers at CrossPoint!

  3. Tim McCullough:

    I love you so much. Can’t wait to see you Sunday. Sorry I missed you last Sunday and missed the deacon event Wednesday night but I was working.

  4. Jr.:

    The question is not IF the pastor will fail, but WHEN and what will be done? You have given some great insights… for all parties involved. Thanks for being honest and open.

  5. Ryan:

    When? You are exactly right Jr. I fail my people often, yet they continue to love and forgive.

  6. Searching (Brad):

    Forgiveness is not an option for those of us who try to make Jesus the true Lord of our lives, it is a permanent attiude. And in living with sinfull people, perhaps we fail ourselves most when we expect others to meet a perfection we are incapable of ourselves. These failures you speak of Pastor…they are inconsequential compared to the joy of being a part of your life and you a part of ours. I guess it’s all in one’s perspective. The more real we are the less important the failures of others become. Blessings to all!

  7. Mike:

    We are all like Peter and the others in the boat of saying we trust God but, take our eyes off Jesus and then begin sinking or sinning! Brad thanks for your penetrating comments regarding this topic as I am experiencing trying to make forgiveness a permanent attitude right now in my life.

  8. Michele:

    Another great post, Ryan! The last two seem to be the hardest for people with their pastor sometimes because they believe that he has different standards than they do or they hold the pastor to higher standards than they hold themselves. I realize that there are somewhat different standards as there is a different calling for pastors, but there shouldn’t be double standards. Some people also believe that pastors are the only ones called to minister, witness and serve and that’s just not true. All of us in Christ have been called to minister, witness and serve.

  9. Ryan:

    Michele your explanation of the difference between different standards and double standards is right on. I have learned that some people do not like getting near or getting to know their pastor better because his flaws and foibles intimidate them. There are many people who get very nervous when their pastor begins to speak of his sins and failures. I think that is why some are so quickly or highly offended by their pastor.

  10. Kenneth Howard:

    Pastors,Choir,Saints of all races are sinners, have like passions as everyone else does. There are wheat and tares in the house of God. Be careful not to judge the tares to quickly, you might uproot the children of the kingdom.Pastors want to be liked, loved and in control over his sheep, but just remember he wears the sin nature just like you do.He has an agenda for the church and that is growth, money, and fame.and he wants you to think he can do no wrong. Yes, Pastors are sinners just like anyone else is.pastors do love to have the pre-eminance.

  11. Dennis:

    Thank you, Pastor Ryan, for your comments. I want to respond to Kenneth, who has hit a point of disucssion for me. I do love and respect all pastors; however, my question is this: Do pastor’s become gods? What happens when they place themselves in the category of “no one else is right but me or who I say is right?” Does God give them this power to judge who will enter heaven or who will enter hell? This, I believe is what Kenneth refers to when he coins the term “pre-eminance.” But is this what God has ordained the positions of pastors to be?

  12. When It Is Good to Be Offended | JustOneMore.info:

    [...] It Is Good to Be Offended On May 6, 2010, I posted a blog titled “Pastor, You Have Offended Me.” Apparently the post was a hot topic since many of you commented. Today I would like to discuss [...]

  13. Catherine McClendon:

    I recently heard my Pastor on the radio being interviewed for an upcoming musical event. He is a singer and so is his son. My Pastor and His wife which happens to be my brother, gave me the title of Min of Music and work very hard week in and week out with the praise team and choir. During this interview my Pastor introduced his son as the Minister of Music. When I called to ask to meet with him and his wife because of a concern I’ve had with her not returning my call, he said that he was shocked that I was worried about a title, that I should not allow small things to bother me. He refused to meet with me and dismissed me from the assignment. Please advise.

  14. J Steven Porter:

    I actually asked my pastor for forgiveness about a comment I made that was out of order. I apologized and asked for repeating a story that was untrue and when that fact was brought to my attention, I asked the pastor to forgive me. The pastor immediately responded directly to me telling me, “You can not be forgiven! Unless you track down everyone who heard that vicious lie and tell them that you were the one who started it”! There were several members of our church present. This pastor has not spoken a civil worked to me in the 7 months since that meeting. I fear that she believes I can not be forgiven and that this may just be her understanding of the teachings of Christ. She is in my prayers daily, for I know I have been forgiven and I know she has been as well. The greater fear is that she is teaching or telling others that they can’t be forgiven.

  15. Patricia:

    After much soul searching and some prayer i did this. And was so amazed at the Godly response of my pastor. I knew he was a Godly man but his response confirmed it. I now have a greater respect for him and his possition and his love for God. I now want to make sure i conduct myself correctly with my fellow christians and my pastors. I want to be in line with what God asks us to do. I think i can now forgive more readily and pray not be offened as quickly. Its so easy to offend someone or be offended as we all have different takes on life.

    I think it would be good to suggest when speaking to pastor speak in humility as your aim is not to hurt the pastor.

    I’m being more careful now that i don’t offend while i’m living my christian walk but stay in line with Gods word.

  16. Tamara:

    I had a church brother that was mischievousness . He would disturb every choir rehearsal. I spoke to my pastor three times about the situation and he did nothing about it. He told me that my problem is that i cannot handle him.One evening after church he attacked me and called me an idiot , stupid gal. I answered him in a high tone and said”you need to operate like an adult” “you don’t know how to behave in public”"you HAVE NOTHING About you”. I went home and he ha a meeting with the boy without me being present and he send the praise and worship head leader to tell me not to sing at the Sunday morning services. He was not man enough to tell me himself.How do you forgive a man like that.It was an unfair judgement.

  17. Tamara:

    I stop attending church.I really love god and love what i do for him. With this unfair judgment i feel i have failed. Why is it that when a leader fail it is just a pat on the back. But when ordinary members fail we are scrutinized and put aside. I did not say anything wrong to my mischievous church brother. I just told him the truth. i taught the church was a place of truth.

  18. Patricia:

    How are you feeling now Tamara ? Has there been any changes in your situation what i mean is are you fellowshiping again.

  19. meg:

    I dont know..my parents have been struggling with this for a while and people are leaving the church. My pastor has asked the homeless ministry in our church to leave because he is fighting with the owner. Now he and his wife are arguing with my parents and they openly attacked them too. By kicking out the homeless ministry also my mom loses her job unless they can find another building. My dad has a job but so many other people there are losing their’s now and they dont have other ways to get money. I’m scared that my parents are going to leave and me too but the hardest part is that I’m friends with the pastors daughter. The point is that the pastor and his wife are lying to the church and everyone in it and when everyone confronts them they tell them they are sinners and need to repent. I’m afraid that the church is going to fall..please pray.

  20. Ebey:

    Sir, am Ebey from India, am 23 years old i work in church and am staff on leave, i go to the bible school in the Morning and comeback to Church in the evening carry out ministries…. but am really upset today, my pastor has been talking behind my back for no reason, inspite of me telling him to be straight with me, he is comfortable only talking behind my back, i did pray the whole evening, but this is only becoming unbearable….

  21. J.Mary Madonna:

    Thank you for his post. It has helped me tremendously. I am about to meet my pastor for an issue regarding my husband who unexpectedly moved onto eternal life 3 months ago. My husband had an addiction so fierce, compulsive gambling. A month prior to his death he called the church(which we had been attending for about one year, weekly). He asked to speak with the Pastor on 4 different occasions and they would only refer him to the associate Pastor who talked with him. He was trying to reach for help, guidance, and prayer from the pastor he had listened to for the past year. The pastor finally called and left a message saying not to call the church anymore. (I didn’t hear the message, that is what my husband said he said). I don’t know what the content of the conversations were with the associate pastor, he told me they were confidential. My husband was very upset that the pastor wouldn’t talk with him, thought this was his duty. My son and daughter heard this and now don’t wont to attend the church anymore. Since this was heavy on my heart, even to the point that after a month after my husband’s death, when I look at the pastor i would still think about it, I realize I have to talk with him. In fact I would like both my children to be present. I have prayed, and talked with another Pastor and read up on what I should do. I want to continue t go to this church and regardless of the outcome of this meeting, like you said…move on. I have forgiven him I just need to hear him.

  22. Rosemary:

    Preaching is an awesome responsibility. So many people have been hurt by a bad pastor, and probably even put off the Church!

  23. Ed:

    I know this covers a lot of cases, but what if the pastor is habitually offensive to anyone who does not agree with him? My pastor has run off a number of good associate pastors whenever their reputation threatens him, along with a number of elders for the same reason. He also asked me to “pray about whether God wants [me] to continue on the elder board” just last night. He gets “spiritual” about his conclusions that people should move on “for the sake of the ministry.” This is, by the way, after I have been at this church for 25 years – and he has been there for 29.

  24. Dave Wollenberg:

    Brothers and sisters, what about when an associate pastor offended me,and, not the senior one. I actually didn’t know I was bein’ offensive,’tl my former singles’ pastor, and, current music pastor, told me so. They gave me outlandish banishments. The singles’ pastor said, that I couldn’t extend hugs to ANY female on our campus, just ’cause some of our single girls said that they were uncomfortable with the way I touched ‘em. Whereas, with the music pastor, some girls rsn to him and his secretary for the same thing. I’ve banished from our choir room vicinity, since Oct. ’11. Our music pastor has taken the coward’s way out, and, just doesn’t wanna deal with me. I was part of our church choir for 4 years, and, don’t get to see these folkd much, outside the choir room. I believe that these restrictions should be lifted, ’cause I’ve learned from my mistakes, and,sure wouldn’t be offensive toward these girls, now! If they really loved me, these pastors would give me another chance to redeem myself. I know HE would!

  25. martinex:

    i would like to get help from friens

  26. binta:

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  27. Robert A̶̲̥̅.É Simon:

    While I love and believe in the posts and some comments, as a pastor myself I do have this to say. Offenses must surely come… but woe to him through which they come. Being a pastor and having like passions like members is no excuse for us not to be careful in dealing with people. We must also create a condusive environment for those who would truthful and honest enough to come express their feelings. We shouldn’t tag them weak or see them as they who walk in the flesh. We should see them as they sent of God to show us what we aren’t seeing because sometimes I believe pastor are the ones who ought to listen to the saying of Jesus concerning dealing with what’s in our brothers eyes forgeting or not seeing what’s in ours. God is our strenght. Love you pastors. Twitter:@beeshup
    BlackberryMessenger: 2762D258

  28. Does not Matter:

    I’ve been burned by a pastor with the “You can come to me with anything” statement. I have gone to him with issues that I had about him that I didn’t like and have been burned dearly. He totally changed his attitude and stance toward me. He is very standoffish and ignores me while being right on the edge of “not guilty”. Its a rough ride and its going to get even tougher as I am not going to say anything else to him about him. I’ve been duped.

  29. michelle:

    For years we attended the same church, our pastor of 17 years tragically died by a heart attack. After much prayer, Bro. Jamie came to do pulpit supply. We loved him and even when the church was divided fought and swayed public opinion to vote him in as our pastor. We attended very faithfully for several months. For the two previous years before he joined, I was placed in charge of VBS. WHen they came, I asked if I could simply teach a class and let them do their thing. During one of his wife’s lessons, the children (inner city community) began to talk and interrupt her. As a school teacher in the community who had worked with these type and many were former students I calmed the group and put them back to listening to her. She was GREATLY offended. Her husband, our new pastor promptly informed me that I was not submitting to authority and had no right to even be in her classroom. We came for a few more Sundays after this and neither he nor his wife spoke to us. It was bizarre. I acknowledged that I take for granted that some people are not familiar with team teaching and that if I made her uncomfortable I was sorry. I moved on. They apparently did not. Did I mention that my husband has a seminary degree and the church wanted him at one point to be the pastor? We knew at the time that WE were not ready and Wanted the new pastor and his wife to take over. We eventually stopped going. After a year and a half, we came back to this church. He did not speak to us or greet us for a month in a church of only 25 people. Very bizarre. His wife Mrs. Vicki was very very cordial. I was grateful for her ability to move on. We got tired of paying tithes, attending service, reaching out and feeling unwelcome. We eventually began to look for a new church. I’m sure the pastor chalked us up to flakes, but the truth is it is hard to be faithful when you feel rejected by the one who is ministering. It was just too much. Finally, last night we dropped our child of at the church for VBS. Our neighbors, co-workers, best friends are the youth pastors at the church. He saw us coming and instead of greeting us, walked inside. We thought ugh maybe coincidence. Surely this man of God can’t still be holding on to grudges. I walk in to see over 35 kids of all ages worshipping God. I was so excited. (we were youth pastors under the old pastor and stepped down because of having a new baby and work)I felt a sense of brokeness inside me heal when I saw kids who were left by the wayside when our old pastor died finally return and bringing friends. I felt hope. I wanted to help and love on my babies that I had taken to camp, prayed for, fed, listened too so many years prior. I began to wash tables at a paint station and hand out nachos to “non-church” going people on the street whose kids were in attendance but they were not. The pastor in front of several people corrected me and told me that it was not my place and I was undermining his role as pastor and God appointed leader. I was floored, apologized and said through tears that I was simply trying to help. He informed me that I should go to him and ask him how to help and that he’s been doing it longer than I’ve been born. I left so hurt. It was degrading. What’s worse is that some of my students witnessed him speaking to me like that. I don’t know what to do. This man apparently views me as something undesirable for his church and he has made it clear that I am not welcome not even to wash tables. We are currently attending another church and they have been begging us to take leadership positions but we have been reluctant, because our heart has still been in Donaldsonville. After last night, it is clearly evident that we are not wanted or welcome.

  30. sincerely:

    I like the advice it just hasnt worked in my personal situation because our Pastor had to take her husbands position last year because he had a stroke and can no longer preach but this began prior to her new duty. I have been trying to learn to be a Sunday school minister with little experience, unpaid and whenever I need help she is the Leader I have to go to and she does not have any help available be it in anyway. If I have a problem she just says do what you can, figure it out, but don’t quit or your gifts can be taken. I have not been teaching awhile because of frustration and physical disabilities disrupting my abilities such as a surgery and needing rest. There was one other Leader, she taught longer than myself. She was put in charge last year. Since she was put in charge she has had no better answers. We had a fall out and now when I thought we worked things out, a couple months went by and she had to go to the Pastor and got same response an just suddenly quit our Church just this past month . I feel no answers are there now except to just bear through it, I guess. Right now there is No Sunday School Leader until and unless I go back. I need prayer for leadership help and compassion there.

  31. Erick Wilson:

    My Name is Erick Wilson..I never believed in Love Spells or Magics until I met this special spell caster when i went to Africa to Execute some business..He is really powerful..My wife divorce me with no reason for almost 4 years and i tried all i could to have her back cos i really love her so much but all my effort did not work out.. we met at our early age at the college and we both have feelings for each other and we got married happily for 5 years with no kid and she woke up one morning and she told me she’s going on a divorce..i thought it was a joke and when she came back from work she tender to me a divorce letter and she packed all her loads from my house..i ran mad and i tried all i could to have her back but all did not work out..i was lonely for almost 4 years…So when i told the spell caster what happened he said he will help me and he asked for her full name and her picture..i gave him that..At first i was skeptical but i gave it a try cos h ave tried so many spell casters and there is no solution…so when he finished with the readings,he got back to me that she’s with a man and that man is the reason why she left me…The spell caster said he will help me with a spell that will surely bring her back.but i never believe all this…he told me i will see a positive result within 3 days..3 days later,she called me herself and came to me apologizing and she told me she will come back to me..I cant believe this,it was like a dream cos i never believe this will work out after trying many spell casters and there is no solution..The spell caster is so powerful and after that he helped me with a pregnancy spell and my wife got pregnant a month later..we are now happy been together again and with lovely kid..This spell caster has really changed my life and i will forever thankful to him..he has helped many friends too with similar problem too and they are happy and thankful to him..This man is indeed the most powerful spell caster have ever experienced in life..Am Posting this to the Forum in case there is anyone who has similar problem and still looking for a way out..you can reach him here: vovolaspellcast@yahoo.com…… CONTACT THIS POWERFUL SPELL CASTER TODAY VIA EMAIL:vovolaspellcast@yahoo.com

  32. chri:

    Pastor said he would never apologize to my daughter but at the end of the conversation ask for her forgiveness. As we saw it his request was not genuine?
    When all my concerns and questions were put into writing and given to him with witness of elders he was very defensive yelled and called me a liar. Pastor was mean and it is very hard to forget the hurtful things he said. He ended the meeting saying is would be best if we parted ways and left the church. He also remarked that he felt bad for us as we left crying and very hurt by the whole experience. Never in thirteen years we never had a issue or at least brought it to anyone’s attention at our church. To summarize the written issues I had discussed were mainly regarding Pastor (not stating a person’s name) made as part of his sermons peoples private coversations they had had with him. We had copies of the sermon and indeed he did this and it was brought to his attention and he called me a liar—- it was in black and white. The reason for nothing being done with Pastor is that he plans on retiring in 2 years. Our fear is that if he continues to hurt people of the congregation we may not have a congregation in 2 years. Not only has our family left the church (which my husband has belonged to for 57 years) but other families have also chosen to leave. He decided to confront him in a professional way but ended up having to leave the church. This happened in Nov. of 2013 and the hurt is so fresh it feels like yesterday. We as a family we are scared and having a tough time getting through this. Please advise me how to get through this and help my family. We have been attending a different church but miss our old church family. Please help.
    Thank you- and God Bless!
    Chris

  33. Angie Hursig:

    I understand you’re super busy and probably don’t have time to answer emails of people you don’t know, but if you do I’d really appreciate it. :) After being an exotic dancer for many years, I kept recalling a dream that God have given to me when I was younger about going through a murky swamp with monsters trying to pull me down and then I came out on the other side to a beautiful manicured field with a pool and the crystal blue water turned to red as I got close to it. I knew it signified Jesus’s Blood. Well, He kept reminding me of that dream when I was running from Him and when I felt like I had no hope. So, finally after that and many other things pulling me to Him, I gave up what life I had left and contacted my sisters Pastors wife who mentored me almost every week for about 9 months and we became friends. Well, after months she started not replying to texts, or being a few words, than not coming to a charity event I did for her and the church without a good excuse and many other things. I spoke to her about a few of these issues and she would just have excuses. Then it started happening more frequently. My sister asked her and she still had excuses. Today, I posted a super sweet post on her FB for her birthday and not only did she not “like” it, it wasn’t on there when I just looked, but all her other posts are and she’s “liked” them. I’m SO hurt! I know it sounds petty, but she used to call me her best friend and sister and now this? If I ask her, she’ll probably say she didn’t see it. My sister says I should act like it never happened. I don’t want to stay offended because it opens the door to the enemy, but I don’t know if I’m that strong of a Christian to be like Jesus and go to her church and see her and smile and act like nothing ever happened. It really hurts. Sorry I practically wrote a novel, but I would love some Christian answers. Do I have to smile and act like nothing happened? Thank you SO much for reading this and helping me!

    Angie

  34. Armie Chua:

    My family and I have been going to a church for a year now. At first it was really ackward because if seems like we are the only Filipinos/Asians but of course we ignored that. We did meet with the pastor because we wanted to be part of the church. So it was cool! But it just feels different that when we go to fellowship gatherings , the pastor just looks at us. Is that normal ? Because other pastors that we’ve met are very friendly and encourages his members but we don’t feel that. And another thing is I started joining the worship team but ever since I did , the pastor doesn’t greet me and just looks at me without saying anything or no encouraging words . Does that mean I’m not welcomed to be part of the worship team because of my nationality which most of the ate Caucasians? We just noticed that the pastor doesn’t say hi to us at all period. Is this something to be ignored ? Or just look for another church where we can deem more comfortable ?

  35. charla:

    Hello. Thanks for allowing me to post this issue I have with my pastor. I like my pastor but because of the things that people have gone and told him about me, he doesn’t like me. In fact, I personally think he hates my guts. When people have done wrong to me and have turned others against me for no reason at all. And they’ve come to me claiming that they are sorry and are still talking about me badly still behind my back. I tell them what they have do to me or said to me and how much I was hurt by it, they go tell the pastor. First of all, they’re the ones being very hateful to me. Second of all, why should the pastor believe them and not call a meeting with all of us together so we can get to the end of this craziness? Two Sundays ago, He was really talking about me in his sermon, looking at me and pointing at me. I felt like getting up and leaving and or standing up telling them all about themselves. I WAS SO HURT AND FELT SO DEFEATED! GOD tells us in HIS WORD that we should forgive. How can I forgive when I’m steady bring treated ugly and harshly? Should I leave and go to another church? I done know what to do? PLEASE HELP WITH OR SUGEST WHAT I NEED TO DO? THANK YOU KINDLY!