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Help for: Wounded Leaders, Wounded Pastors, and Wounded People – Words to Live by

Dr. Lonnie G. McCowan, pastor of Miracle Center of Ventura

By Pastor Lonnie G. McCowan

Too many churches, businesses, and families are led by wounded people. If you are a pastor or leader of a business or family and you can’t really love people or be vulnerable or focus on the future because of past rejection and hurt, you are going to have major problems. Wounded people isolate themselves from the group because they are afraid of being hurt again. But there is healing for wounded leaders, wounded pastors and wounded people!

There are a lot of things that wound us in life.  Maybe you were wounded because somebody lied to you.  Maybe a promise was made to you that was broken. Or maybe you were in a conflict with a church member or fellow leader. In that conflict some angry words were said and you were deeply wounded.  Maybe you were wounded by a betrayal, by rejection, or by being misunderstood.  You may have been wounded by being devalued, overlooked, or not valued enough.  And you can be wounded by loneliness.

There are a lot of things in life that wound us, but God says, I need you to let go of these things.  Get them out of the garbage bag and throw them over the cliff so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.

The bible says in Psalm 109, “My heart is wounded within me.”  Internal wounds are always more serious than external wounds.  Always!  Emotional wounds always take longer to heal than physical wounds.

You don’t remember the cuts and the scrapes and the bruises physically that you got on the playground as a kid.  But you remember the cutting words that were said to you as a child, such as the things that were said to you by bullies or neighbors or parents, in anger or your brother or sister or a teacher.  You were labeled and it hurt.  Why do we remember them?  Because we rehearse them in our minds and we go over and over and over.

Here’s a wise truth to remember… The people who hurt you in the past can no longer hurt you unless you choose to allow them to do so.  Every time you rehearse it you’re still allowing somebody in your past to control your present.

The bible says in psalm 37:8 “Let go of anger and leave your rage behind.  Do not be preoccupied.  It only leads to evil.”  Resentment and bitterness result from holding onto your hurt and being preoccupied with it.  Don’t let your mind repeatedly return to the scene of the crime. Don’t become preoccupied.

You can’t face the future with confidence if you’re always rehearing and rehashing and reacting to the past.  It’s impossible.  You can’t get on with your ministry or business or life if you’re still living in the past and you’re holding onto hurts.

What hurts from your past do you need to shut the door so that you can focus on the people God has given to you to minister to today? You need to say, I’m never going to bring them up again.  I’m going to dwell on the future.  You’ve got to let go of your wounds.

How do you do that?  How do you let go of your wounds? The only way to let go of your wounds is forgiveness.  There is no other antidote to your hurt and pain.

You might say, “But they don’t deserve to be forgiven!” Neither did you, and yet God has forgiven you.  You don’t forgive people because they deserve it.  You forgive people for three reasons:  One, God says to do it.  Two, God has forgiven you.  And three, it’s the only way to let go of your pain.

Resentment doesn’t hurt them.  It hurts you. The bible says in Job 18:4 “You are only hurting yourself with your anger.”  You’ve got to release it for your own good; you’ve got to let it go.

What past hurt do you need to decide to forgive today so that you can move on and lead from a healthy place? I know this works because I was wounded and now I am well because I opened up with forgiveness.

Lonnie G. McCowan is pastor at The Miracle Center of Ventura, in Ventura, CA. He can be contacted through email at or by visiting

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