Monday, November 16, 2015
A Letter To Christians and The Church
Dear Church and Fellow Christians,
I just wanted to take the time to write this letter because it might help you out. I have grown up in church since I was just a little child. I know the stories, I know the songs and the "right" answer's to all the questions a Christian or non-Christian might ask me. I know the Bible stories, I memorized tons of Bible verses. I know all the right things to say and do. I grew up that way. I grew up going to church every week, hearing the sermon and if I didn't follow what was said I knew the punishment would be pretty much shunning or exile from God and/or the Christians around me/the church. I had the fear of God placed in me very young. I also had the fear of man placed in me even younger. I grew up believing the way the church wanted me to believe "If you don't change you will go to hell. If you don't do this___ (fill in the blanks), then this ___ will happen to you. If you obey this person and follow this leader and follow all of these rules, then God will be pleased, you will be happy and life will be great!" I also grew up scared of adults (even my parents). I thought if I don't make them happy then God will be mad at me. Even hearing correction was hard. I occasionally loved correction, but many times it was just "ok, yes, no, etc" I rarely had an input because I was wrong 95% of the time because the adults were always right in my life. Yes, my heart was to do what was right and my heart had right desires. BUT growing up scared all the time or not free to make my own choices or to be myself and just letting adults cultivate that is not what happened at all. I am adopted. After adoption these things happened...prior to adoption-life was super hard and scary. In my life I was so hurt and misused and mistreated. The problem is that it's not just me-but tons of people.
Everyone in church is taught a certain way and told to do certain things (which are good), but if you don't allow someone to make choices, growing will never happen in their life and it becomes a church of RELIGION and NOT RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Do you want to know why people are not going to church anymore? The answer is because true love-the love of Jesus really isn't there-it's religion. People have issues, problems, sins and if they can't be themselves with all that they are, then what's the point? The crowds followed Jesus, the outcasts, the not wanted. If you (the church and Christians) are kicking people out of the church who sin differently than you, then don't you think that that person is going to struggle in their relationship with God if they've been told that you love them and God loves them and then sees you push them away or the church push them away because they sinned like this or that? Think about it! Jesus LOVED everyone! Every single person, yes He taught, but did he EVER push ANYONE away from Him even once? NO! The answer is no. I know what it's like since I was kicked out of a church (my whole family was) after going there for 9 years and then going to another church and being kicked out of cell group/small group for 9 months all because they felt I needed to grow in my relationship with Jesus. Did it help? NO! Neither did! In fact I almost quit going until my boyfriend came along to help me in A LOT of things...I am good enough, I am loved. I am wanted and for the first time in my life I am sincerely, truly confident and I honestly don't care what anyone thinks about me. I am me and they can love me for me or not-I didn't push them away but their religion did!
No one said following Jesus is easy. In fact, it's hard. The thing is that God does not expect perfection from anyone. Only He is perfect. If we were perfect too, we wouldn't need a Savior and if Christian's and church's expect other to live perfectly then it will never happen. They MIGHT not intentionally think in their mind "I expect perfection", but their actions and the way they are towards others shows what they expect. If a man who grew up in church came to your church who had been doing drugs, was in prostitution and murdered someone, would you let him in? Who are you to say who is welcome in God's House? Or have you made it a house where only the better ones are welcome? If people (no matter their background) can't run safely to a church, then where else can you expect them? They aren't welcome with open arms to the church then you will find them never around because the doors are closed. I for one have seen several church's shun people and also push others away because they aren't where they need to be spiritually. And you wonder why they won't go to church or come back to your church? The answer, is very simple-they aren't being loved where they are.
Think about how you treat others-Christians and Non-Christians and think "how would Jesus love this person" before you push them away or condemn them or wonder why they aren't going to church...how has the BODY of Christ or what is supposed to be the body of Christ treating the people walking through the church's doors or through your "Christian" life?
"When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken." -Psalm 34:17-20
"He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." -John 1:11
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." -Romans 8:1
"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” -Matthew 9:9-13
P.S. I now go to a wonderful church that loves me as I am and I have a wonderful Pastor! :)