Here’s What Happens When Church Hurts An INFJ

INFJs can get hurt pretty easily. Usually, these hurts come from other people, but in some cases they come from institutions like a church. Of course groups like this are made up of people, but in many cases the hurts that happen within a group aren’t blamed on individuals. They’re blamed on the organization or sometimes, for churches and religious groups, on God.

So what happens when church hurts an INFJ? One thing I found most interesting about my article “Religion and the INFJ” is how many people I’ve heard from who relate to what I mentioned in that post about INFJs being turned-off from church/religion/God. This phenomena isn’t limited to Christian INFJs, but that is who I’ll be focusing on today.

Door Slamming God

You’ve probably heard of the INFJ door slam, right? That’s what happens when someone hurts an INFJ so much that they “slam the door” and stop investing energy in the relationship. In certain situations, INFJs can also door slam whole groups of people, or even concepts like “romance.” Some INFJs who’ve had particularly terrible experiences with religions even slam the door on God.

Doors slams don’t happen because INFJs don’t care. They happen when INFJs care so much that they open up, trust, and let someone/thing in and then they get hurt because of it. The door slam is a reaction designed to never let ourselves get hurt again in the same way.

Hypocrisy Trigger

The most common reason INFJs cite for abandoning a religion is hypocrisy. Actually, it’s a common reason for leaving churches regardless of your personality type. For INFJs in particular, hypocrisy triggers our already fine-tuned bullshit meter. We hate it when people present themselves one way but are actually something else.

Catching someone who professes to live a certain way acting contrary to what they described as their faith leaves a sour taste in our mouths. An authority figure telling us to live one way, then violating what they’ve preached in their own lives activates our indignation. And being told a church lives by a certain book, then realizing they’re not following the teachings in its pages makes us wonder what is the point of staying here.

Here's What Happens When Church Hurts An INFJ |
Photo credit: klick blick via Pixabay Click here for link to C.S. Lewis interview

The Really Bad Hurts

For some INFJs (and others) the hurt of hypocrisy goes beyond noticing inconsistencies between what someone practices and what they preach. I’ve talked with a heartbreakingly high number of people who’ve been physically and/or emotionally abused by people in the church. When you’ve been assaulted by someone who presents themselves as “a good Christian,” and especially when other Christians don’t believe you or tell your to cover it up, that can (understandably) turn you against Christianity as a whole.

If this topic hits home for you, you’ll probably also like these posts:

Spiritual PTSD

Show Christ’s Love, Not Your Judgement

Alternative To A Door Slam

With all this going on, it’s no wonder so many INFJs want nothing more to do with the faith they encounter in churches. But there’s also a fairly high number of INFJ Christians who haven’t slammed the door on God or His church. These INFJs have also seen the hypocrisy and been hurt by other Christians, but we stayed faithful. Why?

My parents, who have some spiritual PTSD of their own they’re dealing with, taught me from a young age not to blame God for what human beings do. I think that’s the key here. Humans are flawed creatures who make mistakes, sometimes terrible (and even criminal) mistakes. but they don’t do that because they’re trying or professing to follow God. There’s no reason to door slam God or all His people because of what people who follow Him imperfectly or aren’t really following Him at all have done.

Finding Good In Church

Here's What Happens When Church Hurts An INFJ |
Photo credit: Skitterphoto via Pixabay

My bad experiences with church haven’t been nearly as bad some that I’ve heard of. Still, I have felt betrayed, abandoned, and lied to by individuals and by church groups. But I’ve also experienced just how wonderful a good church can be. Though deep hurts have come from some Christians, other Christians have been among the most comforting and empathetic people I’ve ever met. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through my breakup earlier this year, for example, without the hugs, tears, and comfort freely given by my friends at church.

I also know several people who haven’t door slammed God and who want to find a good church, but just haven’t been able to. That’s a truly sad commentary on the state of the modern churches. If the churches aren’t a safe place for Christians seeking fellowship, that’s on all of us who are currently in those churches. God desires peace and unity among His people, and if we’re not modeling His love in our churches then it’s well-past time for some dramatic change.

I’m confident that “God sets the lonely in families” (Ps. 68:8), though I wish He’d hurry that process up for those of you who are isolated right now. In the meanwhile, I want every INFJ reading this to know that they’re not alone. I’m here for you, and I’m praying for you even if I don’t know you yet.

If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.


19 thoughts on “Here’s What Happens When Church Hurts An INFJ

  • “I also know several people who haven’t door slammed God and who want to find a good church, but just haven’t been able to. ”

    That’s me and it’s both scary and a relief to know I’m not the only one. But my husband and I are moving house and I’ve realized I’m just going to have to settle for one.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Wowwweee,
    I really thought I must be crazy.After a year and a half of stepping away from my overly dedicated church going husband and the hyprocacy thats all tangled up together. (I really couldn’t make dence out of it all)2+2did not make 4 or 22 for that matter.
    Not to mention only now getting to understand what I am (INFJ). I thank you for your post on this topic as i have had similar issues and battled through to eventually settle on the fact that I am and probably will be a “no name brand Christian “In effort to do away with hyprocy and other people’s drama.
    Thank you for clarifying a huge issue.
    Keep posting as there’s so much help needed for seekers of truth peace and simplicity

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced so much hypocrisy in the churches you’ve been a part of, but I’m glad this post helped you.


  • Well… this explains a LOT. I was a very, very devoted church goer from 11-13. I went alone, almost every night of the week. I read the Bible like I needed to remember it. I had a pastor pull me to the side and tell me that I was going to hell unless I gave 10% of MY PARENT’S money… not just MY money from babysitting.

    I didn’t go to church for 15 years. I guess I door slammed god….

    Wow… thank you for sharing. This brought me relief that I’m not just a jerk 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow — it’s crazy that a pastor would say something like that to a kid about their parent’s money. I don’t blame you for getting turned-off church by his comment!

      It’s such a shame that people like him end up in authority positions in the church. A bad pastor does so much damage to how the people they interact with view God and Christianity.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I am one of those INFJ who have been deeply hurt by the church and even lost faith in God because of this. But I want to tell you that God is bigger than this and He is doing wonders in our lives. Now, I am so thankful for the grace of God that He had put me again in a wonderful church. So, there is always hope. Just keep the faith. God is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  • And here’s the problem… If God is good, and people are flawed, and all bullshit in the Church is people’s fault, then why won’t God let Himself be known through miracles (like in the Old Testament), but through people? How can I trust that those people do things in His name? Or the Bible, that’s written by people (who claim they’ve been touched/inspired/influenced by God)? If He truly exists, why won’t He show Himself every now and then? And I don’t mean on waffles, wet walls, dirty bathtubs and such. They say “blessed are those who didn’t see, yet believed”. Nice. That can be said about anything vaguely religious. I’ve experienced way too much bullshit in Church to ever take anything on “faith”. And no, I don’t hate God; it’s His fanclub that I can’t stand.


    • Thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear about your negative experiences in the church 😦 On one level, I think it’s amazing that God would entrust flawed, human people with His reputation here on earth and choose to work with us in spite of our failings. But on another level it seems very puzzling because we are so very flawed and there are so many Christians and professing Christians who do shameful things that reflect badly on God and His church. Not an easy thing to make sense of


  • Even in our darkest days and sleepless nights, we should never lose our faith. As INFJs we are blessed with a gift, and scripture says many things about our unique personality. We are highly moral and can easily recognize hypocrisy and “false prophets” We should also remember that it is written, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and being introverted judges, we are able to judge ourselves, rather than others. Being extroverted feelers, we love others as ourselves. We are also much more easily able to be sanctified and spiritually awake. As commanded in scripture. Something which, sadly, many “so called” Christians have difficulty with. Some (personality type) documents even go as far as to say Jesus was an INFJ. But as Christians we should not make that assumption.


  • It’s so incredible how God makes us finding people that we need to find…even being through internet. This is exactly my questioning right now. I hope to know a church to join soon and having great fellowship there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It always makes me so happy to hear that God is using my blog to help people, so thank you for your comment! I pray you’ll find a faithful, loving, wonderful church to join soon 🙂


  • A widow at 37 and the responsible kid who craved the attention that my sibling received (who could get away with murder), after my hubby died, took me in a tailspin of who’s to blame and my dysfunction in the world leaving my home church and embarrassingly go through hell with my second. It’s been a hell of a journey and having the lack of cohesiveness at times has made me question my sanity, not to mention starting over at time that happens to most 20 years plus my Senior. I’m currently attempting to obtain my doctorate, and my preliminary work is on INFJ’s and Christian Spirituality. I would love your prayer and support. I’m not totally angry at God but I must say I’m a little disappointed yet blessed to have health shelter and my daughter and my parents, but it makes me think is this all while also conflicting with you should be happy to have this. Well I haven’t seen any updates to the blog in awhile but I hope this message finds you timely. Thank you for obedience and Kingdom work. Just the existence of an article helps me to continue to believe God put us INFJ’s here for a reason, but sometimes I wish my wilderness would decrease especially since he sincerely knows my heart


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.