Sunday, May 4, 2014

To Those Who Have Ever Been Hurt by the Church

In America today, the Christian church as a whole has acted horribly to those who do not normally attend.  It seems that if you do not fit into what the church deems acceptable, most American churches do not accept you, and even go as far as to insult and condemn people. A while back, the pastor at my church, Grace Community, mentioned something that really challenged me. He challenged our church to apologize on behalf of the church to those in our lives who have ever been hurt by the church.

I really took this to heart because I have been on the other side of this equation myself.  I have been hurt and neglected, so I began to try to figure out how I could apologize to people. I really struggled with how to go about it.  I mean, how do you really bring this up in a conversation? So, I decided to write about it because I am not that great of a speaker.  So, here goes:

I am sorry.

I am sorry if I have ever hurt you personally.  I am sorry if anyone who calls themselves a Christian has ever hurt you.  As a Christian, I am truly very sorry that people in the church have mistreated you.  I am actually appalled at the way people who are not Christians have been treated by those who are.

I honestly think that Jesus himself would not like the way that the church as a whole has treated those on the "outside."  When he was here on this earth, he was the hardest on the Jewish leaders, and I think he would do the same thing in our churches today. He would be hanging out with gay men and lesbians who have been left out of church to let them know that He accepts them and loves them abundantly.  He would reach out to strippers, pimps, and prostitutes to let them know how absolutely precious they are to Him.  He would go out and give food to the homeless and just sit and spend time with them to let them know that even though they don't have a cent, they are valuable to Him.  He would accept everyone who doesn't feel comfortable walking into America's church.  He would welcome people of any race and religion, laughing and crying with them as they experience life together.  There are the rare few Christians who do these things, but for the most part, the church has been very neglectful of these things.  Myself included.  I don't always reach out to others when I should.  I am so sorry.

Take a look at our token verse, you know, the one every good Christian and/ or wrestling fan knows: John 3:16.

God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son.  Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.  

That verse is not just for church members who pay their tithes and warm a seat once a week for an hour.  It says anyone, and I truly believe that it really means anyone. If you are human than this verse applies to you.

Now take a look at the following verse:  God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world.  He sent his Son to save the world through him.  

You can argue with me if you would like, but I believe that it is not the job of the church to judge you.  As Christians, it is our job to love you.  If you have experienced anything other than love, then in my opinion, you have just experienced empty religion.  Religion judges.  Jesus loves.

Please accept my apology.