Hurt & The Church
I’ve really been thinking about hurt and the church, a lot recently. It’s a really freaking common thing. Honestly, I feel like about %80 of America has probably been hurt by the church, and that’s why so many people want nothing to do with Christians or the church in general.
I asked on Instagram what people think of when they initially hear the word Christianity--Let me tell you this now, lots of the responses were negative, and a lot of those negative responses were from people who are plugged into church and Christians themselves. The thing is, the reason the negativity is so real and true is because people are the ones wearing the label of Christian, and people are not perfect. At all. We’re big, steaming, hot messes.
Where there are people, there are problems…
Unfortunate, but true.
Here are just a few things you guys said:
“Fakeness, judgement, and hypocrisy. (I am a believer but have come to dislike being called a Christian or being associated with “the church” So much hurt and so many negative experiences.)”
“Religion not relationship. People hear Christian and run because of the reputation that people have made for it. A Christ follower, follows no matter what. The real heart change over looks.”
“Please forgive me for sounding the cynic, but I’m going to say controversy. Let me go on by saying that I am a born again Christian. I say this because I see the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus that set captives free, came for the lost and and the sinners, loved the unrighteous, carried the cross, loved the outcasts, healed the broken, saved souls and created life again. And then I look at the modern day Christian movement, and I have questions. Are we being a lamb, a light, a shelter, a healer, following in the footsteps of our Lord? Or are we busy being self fulfilled, self righteous and pious. Am I resembling a Jesus that came for the least of these? Am I showing love and kindness that makes people see my creator thru me? Am I willing to reach the unreachable? Love the least? Sorry...these musings are NOT one word...but circles of thought”
“religion, fake, hurt.”
“It seems so sad and almost dramatic that my first association with the word “Christianity” has become tainted, and my mind doesn’t immediately go to “grace and hope” the way it should, but that’s where I am right now.”
“Honestly. I’ve devoted my entire life to loving and serving Christ, and in turn doing my best to love and serve others. But lately...when I hear the word Christian the only things that come to my mind are judgement, perfectionism, and...shame? I’ve been working alongside “non-believers” for three years now and I feel a little ashamed to tell them I’m a “christian” because of their personal experiences with Christians.”
“Fakers, clicky, argumentative.”
Here’s the thing you guys, where there are people, there are problems. I went to a VERY religious Christian college, an Assemblies of God University to be exact, and if you know what that is, you get it.
Any way, I experienced a lot of hurt from “The Church” there. In my freshman year, I was assaulted by a guy and I fought back and defended myself. The next thing I knew I was getting called into the freaking Dean of Students office to potentially be expelled. The Dean told me I wasn’t acting like “A Woman of God.” like you guys, he literally said that to my face, when I, a 125 lb girl, defended myself against a 220 lb guy on one of the athletic teams. Let me just tell you this, my blood started boiling and I could barely contain myself, cause I just wanted to shout and scream. It was a very sexist environment. I looked at the Dean straight in the face and said “What would you want your daughters to do in that situation? Sit there and take it like a Woman of God?” You better believe that shut them up really quick. Anywho, I say all of that to say, that’s just one example I’ve got, personally, from the church.
After that experience, I carried quite a bit of baggage, and just picked up more as the years went along. Heck, I picked up even more this last year, in Dallas, before I moved to Georgia, but the thing is, you can’t let one or 12 bad experiences make you write off an entire group of people. Whenever I want to totally write off Church and I think to myself, “oh this is going to be the same as last time. I’m going to get used up, ignored, disregarded, excluded, or whatever.” I remind myself that, like I said above, where there are people, there are problems. And you know what that means, because we’re all people and we all mess up, we’ve got to have more grace. Yes, there are going to be people out there being total idiots and horrible representations of Christ, but they don’t represent the Church as an entirety.
The issue is that, tons of “Christians” have turned Christianity from a relationship to a religion. They take on the judgement and condemnation of others like it’s their job to assign levels of “badness” of sin. Let me just be the first to say, these people need to sit down. That is not the Christianity I am a part of. The Christianity I’m apart of is about grace, and love, and belonging. The truth is what Paul writes in Colossians.
“He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.”
He says it right there, God is spacious and roomy, He’s got a place for every single person. Not just the ones who fit in some stupid, religious mold. Also, I’d like to point out that Paul brings up the belong before you believe element of things too. That’s the Jesus I know, the one I serve, and if you’ve been hurt, I am so sorry, on behalf of the Church and whoever hurt you, I want to apologize. I want you to know, that you are valuable and oh so amazing. You deserve grace just as much as the next guy. Lastly, if you need some prayer, feel free to shoot me an email or an Instagram DM and I’ve got you. I can’t fix anything or make it better, but I can sure as heck pray my little heart out.