The new pastor of our old church said we all deserved everything that ever happened to us in our past. My husband and I looked at each other. No words were needed. He knew what I was thinking. Boom. We were gone. We came back a year or so later for a party with old friends and not one kid said a word to my son. My son who had spent over 9 years of his growing up life from age 4 on with these kids. Who had been friends with them. Not. One. Child. Said. Hello. Bam! We’ve never darkened the door again. So yes, you can quit a church. Sometimes you need to.
The church doesn’t meet your needs. You’re ignored. You don’t feel loved or important. The high school popularity contest continues. You’ve been wounded by those who should know better. The church is full of hypocrites. Someone in leadership is a control freak and nothing ever changes.
Church people wound.
And it will sting worse than most anything your non-believing friends will say or do to you, because the wound is gaping and deep.
Church friendships feel raw and vulnerable. And we expect church friends to be gentle and caring with our most genuine feelings and tender hearts. Because they should be safe.
And they won’t be.
Insecurity will tangle your heart like the lying snake it is. Because we’re all secretly wondering if we’re doing this Christian walk correctly.
If they find out how I totally lost it with my kids last night, will they take away my club card?
Will Miss Popularity tell everyone my secrets from my past?
Will they discover the dark inner real me and laugh me out of the building? Or tear me down for it?
We’ve got a real problem in the church. A cancer in the bones of the body of Christ. And some of it is other people, but the other part? The harder part is, ourselves.
Are we holding our fellow brothers and sisters to such a high standard that they can’t measure up? A standard they can’t possibly meet because they too are broken human sinners?
Do we quickly shrug off and forgive our non-believer friends, but hold our Christian friends to another level and are less likely to forgive as quickly because well, they should know better?
What if we removed our rose colored glasses and looked at our church as not only a hospital for the broken, but also a rehab facility. Because we are all in rehab.
We are all fallen sinners (saved by grace) who are working a 12 step program to learn to stop sinning and to continuously follow Jesus. Some lessons will be learned quickly, while others will take repeat lessons. Some of us are hard headed and take longer to fully recover.
Instead of seeing someone as the gossip monger, what if we viewed her like we would a struggling alcoholic? We give a little more grace because she’s struggling. Just as we might be struggling in secret, keeping our own sin struggle in the dark.
And if you can’t move beyond the damage and the hurt, then perhaps it is time to find another church. Or to find a Christian counselor to work through it. Because you have to forgive whether you stay or go.
If you are feeling abused in your current church, get out. I don’t mix words when someone is being abused in anyway. Seek counseling, but remove yourself from the abuse.
Have you ever had to quit church? Did you find another place to worship? Or are you still searching? Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.
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