Monday, June 29, 2015

The Flip Side

My last post was about how the church has hurt me in the past.  I know some of you may be thinking... "So why do you even still go to church?"

Well, a church is not God himself.  Every church is made of humans.  It should be led by God, but unfortunately many times, it is not.  Those are what I call Social Clubs.  I mentioned in my last post that I am extremely selective about where I attend.   I have learned that there are churches out there that are full of true believers.  Now, I will admit that even in these churches, there are people who may not be a true believer, but if a church as a whole is following God to the best of their ability, that is where I want to be. 

"How did you figure that out?" You may be thinking.  I am a recovering Social Club member.  I was part of a Social Club and I was just as judgmental as the rest of them until I went through what I wrote about in my last post.  If you didn't read it, here it is:  The Social Club.

I stumbled about for years after I was rejected by that church.  It was not a church that made me see the truth, but a friend.  I wasn't really close to this woman, and I don't keep in touch with her now, but she changed my life. She was a person who had a relationship with Jesus.  More than just following an empty religion.  She shone with His Light.  Everywhere she went you could see the peace that surrounded her.  Her life wasn't perfect, she didn't have a lot of money and she struggled sometimes to pay her bills.  But she had Hope and Peace that was supernatural.  I found that it came from spending time in God's presence.  I began to want what she had.  I didn't know why or how to have that, but I wanted it desperately.  I needed it.  I knew about the Bible.  I had grown up in church.  I knew scripture.  But I didn't know how to shine like she did. 

The scriptures became real on the night that Jesus came to me.  I was lying in bed, crying because of things that were in my life had become so overwhelming.  I was depressed and scared that my life was falling apart. I prayed a simple prayer, "Help." Jesus showed up in my room. I couldn't see him like I can see my kids sitting here in the room with me.  I felt him.  As soon as he entered the room I felt his presence.  He put his arms around me and comforted me.  He promised me that things would be hard, but that He had a plan for my life.  He picked up all the things I had been holding on to so tightly and that were hurting me and took them.  In my mind, I saw a huge trash can and he threw away all of those things.  Jesus is real and he loves you. He can do this for you too, if you ask Him. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Social Club

My stomach is in knots at the moment over something that happened yesterday that spiraled out of my control.

Here is my post:

There are so many people who claim to be Christians that spew so much hatred to the gay and lesbian community and to different races. I read this verse this morning and I feel that it really speaks volumes to the way true Believers of Jesus should behave.

9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2.

Apparently that struck a chord in a lot of people, because I don't usually get a lot of varying comments on my posts.  This one I did.  There were many people who liked and agreed with it, but there were several that either didn't, or had a lot to say about it.  I respect everyone's opinion and I am glad that everyone posted because it made me think a lot more about what I was really saying.

  There are many people who have had bad experiences at church and I am one of them.  I am someone who really needed the love of Christ in the worst way and people in the church didn't help me.  I am hoping to change that. So many churches have strayed so far away from what God intended church to be.  I call them Christian Social Clubs.  The meet on Sunday morning in their pretty dresses and suits with their hair, make up, and shoes perfectly adorned.  They sit with their 3.5 kids and sing 4 hymns, then listen to exactly 30 minutes to a man drone on about something in the Bible and then they go home.  The rest of the week they act as if God doesn't exist.  This makes me sick.  I really can't stand this.  These are the people I was talking to in my Facebook post.  These are usually the people who are first to judge and they are most often the people who need to change more than anyone else.

I am very very extremely picky about where I attend church.  It has to be a place where they dig into God's word and strive to invite His presence into the worship service.  It must have outreach and missions to help those who need it.  It must be a place where someone can feel welcome and loved.  That is what I look for in a church.  Why? Because I have been on the receiving end of judgement from churches.

I used to attend one of these Social Club.  It was great until I needed help.  I enjoyed all of the benefits of the "Club" such as the youth group and activities that we did.  I have mentioned in past posts that I had experienced abuse in my past by someone who is not a member of my family. After high school, I hadn't told anyone about the abuse and I was really struggling with life.  I think I must have felt safe as long as I was in school, but once I left home and started college, life was a challenge and I had no direction.  I was really struggling in my classes after being a good student in high school.  I changed my major about as often as I changed my socks.  I shaved my head.  I slept a lot and at that point I was swirling in and out of depression.  I couldn't see a future for myself.  I didn't want to die, but I wouldn't have minded going into a coma for several years.  I never did drugs or drink because I didn't like the feeling of being out of control of myself, which I felt invited more abuse.  I went back to the Social Club I had been attending all through high school.  The church that I felt I could trust.  I was shunned by the people I thought I could turn to in time of trouble.  I didn't even know why I was hurting.  I had buried the past so deep that I didn't realize that it was the cause of my pain until years later.  The people of that church saw a girl who looked different with her strange clothes and shaved head and didn't want anything to do with her.

No one said a word to me, but if looks could kill, I would have died a thousand deaths.  I know that this experience that I went through is mild compared to what others have gone through.  I have other experiences at different churches that have not been pleasant, but that is for another day.  The point I want to make is that if you are human, you should be welcome at church.  You never know what someone is going through in their personal life.  Just love them.

I have worked with many gay and lesbian people and I am related to a beautiful woman who is a lesbian. Jesus loves them.  I love them.  If any of them show up at my house (which they have many times in the past) I would do my best to make them feel welcome and loved.  I am not going to exclude them from my life because I don't agree with their lifestyle.  I have felt judgement myself and I don't like it.  I don't want to do that to anyone else.  Period.