Build A Bridge And Get Over It

A few years after I left the pastorate, I remember having a conversation with an individual that didn’t set well with me. In a roundabout way, he was saying that, since I had cried my river, I should build a bridge and get over it. Fortunately for him, my personal ethics won over the desire to run to the store, purchase some brass knuckles, and punch him in the nose.

Instead of being a help to me, those comments only fueled my frustration. I didn’t need someone telling me to get over my hurt. I already knew that. What I needed was patience (from a friend who cared for me) and small amounts of grace (from a God who loved me).

There is no specific timeline or method to healing and restoration. There is no one book or class that leads all people down the road to recovery. We’re all different. We’ve been hurt in different ways and our specific journey toward healing will vary immensely. For my family and I, we went through a bunch of pain. We fought bouts of depression and anger. We became frustrated in our marriage. There was an underlined irritation due to the direction our lives had gone. And it took several years for us to heal, forgive, and start growing again.

It’s essential not to force a healing process, especially on those who have gone through situations with the church that have left them beat up, angry, or bitter. Encouraging someone to “build their bridge and get over it,” can be quite unhealthy for the individual and it may even create a divide in your friendship.

Instead, our focus should be on assisting individuals back into the body of Christ and helping them find their role within the structure of the local church. Let’s be the friend that comes alongside, appreciates their pain, and steadily remind them that God heals, restores, revives, and redeems. This season might take longer than we’d like but with the right amount of patience, love, and encouragement, healing can indeed come.

POSTED ON June 26, 2012
  • Alex_A

    would it help if he’d offer his help to build your bridge?

    • Provurbs

      Essentially, that is what I’m suggesting. It’s not that you don’t want to get over your past hurt, it’s that we need to assist people in ways that help them and not make things worst. Too often we just want people to get over their problems without taking the time to truly invest in them and allow God to bring them over their “bridge.”

  • Jon

    Yeah, but here’s a problem. You say “Don’t do this” but the what to do is really vague. It gets worse if, like me, when I’m really depressed, and somebody tries to help, and all I do is shoot down everything they say. Eventually, people get discouraged trying to help and they give up trying. I’m not really sure this post really helps. I think that this is why some people resort to simply saying “get over it.” because, in the end, that’s the only solution. I just find it hard when I’m really feeling down to do so.

    • Jon, thanks for your comment. This post is actually a few years old. If I were to rewrite it now, I’m sure my thoughts would come out a bit different. But the premise of the article would remain the same. If someone comes alongside you to encourage you and you refuse their help and support, that really isn’t anyone’s issue but your own. I don’t mean that in a condemning way, but as a way for you to reflect and recognize and be more cognitive of their help. We need people walk alongside us but when they’re just saying “get over it” that’s not walking alongside, that’s them not understanding our pain.

      A great article we posted just yesterday hits on this same issue. I encourage you to read it here:

      Blessings to you and thanks for joining in on the conversation.

      • Jon

        I understand what you are saying. I suspect, though, that my situation is a bit different than most pastors’. I am a missionary with a small work. I now work alone, after 15 years with a partner. But I tend to be my own worst critic. I push myself too hard, and my failures are my own fault. It’s hard when you have nothing and nobody there to balance off of to know when you’ve gone too far. I tend to feel like I haven’t done enough, which just pushes me harder. So, when I fail, I only have myself to blame. That makes it harder to get past failures. The folks we work with are wonderful, and I can’t blame them for anything. I guess I’m my own worst critic and enemy. 😉 Thankfully, this is not all the time, but I have felt it more recently than in the past…

        Oh, and thanks for the latest article.

  • Shirley

    YOu tell me how to get over it when it was a married Pastor who i believe really hurt our family when he went out with our daughter who was in the youth group. I realize it is years ago , but I am the mother of that daughter, I felt they took care of the Pastor, Now I have the problem .not wanting to get close to anyone who is in leadership. I realize this is wrong , but the pain still is there.
    Other family members knew what was going on , I did not,

    • Shirley, I’m so sorry to hear what you are your family had to go through. Unfortunately there are many out there who abuse their call as pastors and leaders. Fortunately, it’s not the case for many who truly desire to preach the gospel of Jesus and see people come to relationship with Him.

      But you are right. How do you “get over it?” That’s the premise of the article. It’s not just as simple as telling someone to get over it. It’s a process and for many it’s a process that can take many years. For you, I’d encourage you to find something you can trust – which will be difficult in your case – and lean into their for support and encouragement. Like I mentioned in the article, we need people to come alongside, appreciate our pain, and steadily remind us that God heals, restores, revives, and redeems.

      I’ll be praying for you and your family Shirley.

      • Shirley

        Thank you Rob. The sad thing, this dear man did the same after he was allowed to go back to preaching, I feel bad for him and his family. I did go back to the Church while he was still there, I heard a message one time from Mark Rutland, and he said that sheep bite, so I do understand that pastors can get hurt also.
        God bless you…I hope it was alright to share this,
        Shirley.. I am a Senior . I do not know if our daughter received counsel either,

Bo Lane is the founder of ExPastors, a community that strives to offer help, healing, and hope for expastors, pastors, and church leaders, and author of Why Pastors Quit. As a media professional with more than 15 years of experience, he has developed marketing and brand strategies that have revolutionized churches and businesses, both large and small. Bo left full-time ministry after serving more than a decade in churches in Oregon, California, and Iowa. He is also a writer, filmmaker, woodworker, husband and father.