A Day In The LIfe

Why Does The Church Hurt People?

I have heard the story so many times. Someone decides to give the church a chance at a time in life where they are searching for something and then they get hurt. The church judges them for something and suddenly they are made to feel less than welcome. Then that person feels lied to and walks away…in many cases, forever. So why does the church hurt people?

Reason 1: The Church is Flawed

Here’s the thing, many people here about what Christians and the Church believe and are supposed to represent before they step foot inside the church. Some like myself who grow up in the church find that as they get older it’s not what they thought. We come into this place with high expectations. Expectations that no living person could possibly meet. Expectations that we know darn well we ourselves could never meet. The problem is we don’t realize we have these expectations.

Because I am a pastor’s wife many might be surprised that there was a time I walked away from the church. I walked away for at least a year maybe more. If I did go it was a holiday and I was going to make my parents happy. I walked away because I saw how much hurt the church inflicted on those who were hurting and seeking God. I saw the damage they inflicted to those people building a wall between them and God. I watched as people who claimed to follow Him judged certain people not worthy of Him and it bothered me so much I walked away.

For a long time I had no intention of going back. I didn’t want to be part of something that hurt people in the name of God. I didn’t want to be part of something that told people they weren’t good enough for Him, because I knew that was a lie. So what changed?

Well, I met my husband. He didn’t lecture me. He didn’t judge me. He didn’t try and force my hand and force me to go to church. Even when the church he ended up at ended up being the one I grew up in. No, he was patient with me. He waited for me with love and occasionally he would say something like: ” Hey, there’s thing going on during Sunday Service. It would mean a lot if you were there. I need the support.”

So at first, I didn’t go back to be part of the church. I went back to support the man I loved and that was it. Slowly, even though I huffed, puffed, rolled my eyes and had a major attitude problem God worked on me. I realized that the church wasn’t the problem, I was. I was expecting too much. In seeing the hurt they inflicted I forgot they too were only human. That they were just as clueless and broken as those they hurt. It wasn’t intentional. That church wasn’t filled with perfect copies of Jesus but works in progress. Once I embraced the idea that we were all just a bunch of screw-ups trying to be better I found a family within the church again.

Reason 2: We The Church Forget That It Isn’t About Rules


Here’s the thing. In the New Testament there is this group of people refereed to as Pharisees. These Pharisees were what we might think of as a priest or pastor today. They were the leaders of the Jewish faith and were tasked with following all the rules that were laid out in the old testament. To some they became so busy with making sure the rules were followed and the rituals or traditions went just right that they completely forgot what it was they were worshiping. They forgot about who they were worshiping and what He represented. They forgot that those rules were only created to help them understand the difference between what was right and wrong. They forgot God cared more about their hearts than whether they lived perfectly up to those strict standards and rules.

Sometimes us, believers forget that to. We get so caught up in the text of the bible that we forget about the message it is trying to give. We start judging others because they fell short in some way. We judge the single parent, the addict, the different because they don’t fit the flawless image in our heads that we concocted on our own on what they should be like. We forget that David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and murder. We forget that Jonah openly defied God and ran away. We forget that the disciples we look up to ran away from Jesus in his hour of need. We forget Jesus hung out with the prostitutes, the drunks, the lepers, basically all those we would deem unworthy.

We forget that Jesus himself didn’t live up to our expectations either. They expected a warrior and a majestic king. Instead, they got a carpenter wondering around preaching in his flip flops. We forget that God wants us to hang out and love those we would rather judge and condemn. We forget that God often chooses those we would consider unworthy and unredeemable to do his most important work and on behalf of the church…I”m sorry. I humbly ask you to remember my first point. We are flawed and sinful too and we forget that sometimes.

Conclusion

The church doesn’t hurt people because it wants to. It hurts people because it’s flawed, just like you. The intentions are good and come from a place of caring and love. They come from a desire to share with you something so wonderful we can’t adequately describe it. Sometimes we forget. We aren’t perfect and we always fall short of expectations because God isn’t a perfect pill. He isn’t a cure for flaws, what he is is the builder who helps fill in the gaps. So if the church has hurt you I say I am sorry. Remember we too are only human. Sometimes we put our own selfish desires and thoughts before what God wants us to do or say. I hope one day you find it in your heart to give us another chance.

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