“I’d be a Christian if it weren’t for all you Christians”
A couple of years ago I overheard someone use this quote to describe an experience he had with people in a church he attended once. He explained he’d had a childhood rooted in church but hadn’t been in years due to relocation, job schedules, kid’s sporting events…typical life stuff. But at that point, he was broken and searching for the healing he was told about as a child. He, like a lot of us, walked into a church hungry for something more in life; something to keep him together when everything seemed to be falling apart. He walked in expecting to find love and connection, but left even more broken; confused, hurt, bitter, and feeling unworthy. As a result, God was no longer a source of healing. Instead, He was yet another source of pain. So he walked out of the church and away from God, completely.
My stomach twisted in knots hearing that then and it still does now, just by the thought of it. Luckily, that was only part of his testimony. Later, he realized walking away from God wasn’t the answer, but walking away from that particular church was. He admitted that it took him some time but he found another church to attend and has sense begun evangelizing to people who were just like him.
There’s no hurt like church hurt.
The fact that this gentleman’s story is parallel to the story of so many should send red flags to the body of Christ.
But I’d really like to know what happens to us after we experience Christ? Too many of us become the people that man encountered. It’s too common that once we feel we’ve “arrived” we become arrogant and forget what it’s like not to know Him. We forget that some of the things that God changed in us are the same things that others are still dealing with, struggling with, and maybe even enjoying. But instead of loving them into correction we treat them like they’re unworthy. We conveniently forget that at one point, we were the ONE He left the NINETY-NINE to go find. (Matthew 18:12) And let’s just be honest, it’s wasn’t just once that we sent God searching.
Why do some of us get “the big head” when once we’ve experienced the love, grace, and compassion of God? Shouldn’t we be mimicking all of that? Shouldn’t we become more gracious, more compassionate, and loving? And what exactly gives us a right not to?
God didn’t run out of redemption once he gave it to you. And it’s not up to you to ration out salvation…you don’t hold the patent on it. 🙄
Since the beginning of time, our (and I say “our” because it’s certainly not His) religious stipulations have wounded, bound, damaged, and turned people away. If you don’t look or act a certain way, Christ won’t love you – none of that could be farther from the truth. Yes, there may be things that God will change in new believers but let HIM do it. It’s not up to us to do the convicting – that’s His job! Our job is to love them until the change comes and rejoice with them when it does; no matter how long it takes! And if we’re honest, even the most ‘seasoned of saints’ still has some things that need changed too.
No matter who you are or what title you hold, there is no such thing as having it ALL together.
Aside from these religious stipulations, since when is winning an argument more beneficial then winning a soul? Bantering back and forth about who is “righter” – especially on social networks – has done way more damage than good. It does nothing but spew confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1), and solidify division (Romans 16:17). But for the Bible arguing Bible thumpers…how’d you miss 2 Timothy 2:14? It clearly says you’re brings ruin to all who listen. You should pipe down a minute and examine your true purpose in debating; I’m sure you’ll see it’s more self gratification than “passionately spreading the Gospel”. Quit it.
So, to all of you who have been wounded, hurt, tossed aside, felt abandoned or unworthy….or just flat out don’t like Christians…I get it. Sometimes I don’t like ‘em either. But one thing I’ve learned in my walk with Christ is although we’re expected to be a certain way, we’re still human. We won’t always get it right…even if/when our intentions are good. And unfortunately, you may run into an occasional group of “Mean Girls” (and guys) who will uphold the mantra of “you can’t sit with us”. Ignore them because that’s not ALL of us. Some of us do work hard to show the love of Christ in our daily lives. We won’t beat you up with scripture, even if we see error. And some of us hate the the same thing you hate – religion – because we know that many portions of what’s been deemed as “religion” is the total opposite of what God wants from us – relationship.
With all that said, I apologize for my counterparts and pray that they’re convicted and brought to correction. But whether or not I know you personally, my prayer for you is that you’ll give us another chance. Better yet, that you’ll give Christ another chance. He’s totally worth it.