Let’s be honest. A lot of the time, it wasn’t the members that hurt us the most. It wasn’t the members that caused the severest offense. It was the leadership. It was the pastor, an elder, or a leader who should have known better. Someone who was supposed to be in a position of spiritual leadership broke your trust. They hurt you. Or worse, they attempted to lead you astray.
If the leadership in your church has subscribed to a false gospel and they are actively teaching it, I would strongly suggest you pray about leaving. In some situations, you may be able to influence them toward the truth, but if a church is built on a rock other than Christ, it’s probably not going to benefit you spiritually to be there.
On the other hand, if the leadership has offended or hurt you in another way, turning the cheek is the best response. I know I talked about this under point #2, however, there’s another reason why learning to forgive leadership is critical to the Christian walk. It’s simply this: it’s healthy to have people in spiritual authority over you.
No spiritual leader is perfect, but they are needed. When you’re trying to arrive at a destination in your car, you have to take roads to get there. Asphalt roads are smoother than dirt roads, winding roads take longer than straight roads, but sometimes it’s necessary to take a winding dirt road in order to arrive. Spiritual leadership is similar in that some are better than others. Hebrews tells us that they are all tasked with watching over our souls—with pointing us in the direction we are supposed to be going. They aren’t the road—that’s Jesus, so don’t take the illustration too far. Spiritual leaders don’t save us, but they can help encourage and build us up along the journey.
But you said it’s okay to leave a church if they’re teaching heresy! Absolutely. However, I encourage you to not allow the sins of one spiritual leader to prevent you from ever submitting to another. On top of encouragement and teaching, we also grow in humility by submitting to the spiritual authority over us. This results in us experiencing a greater grace in our lives.
You don’t have to agree with every little thing a pastor says. You don’t have to like every decision they make. However, it’s always right to forgive, and it’s healthy to submit.