Many of us have been hurt by those who call themselves Christians. I have. In fact, I’ve been hurt the most by Christians and yet I still choose to follow Christ. Some would say I’m nuts or duped. Ten years ago I myself just about walked away from Christ and then I just about killed myself because I wrongly thought that if Christian leaders hurt me, then God must not love me. But, instead I dug in the Word of God to get an answer and learned something that was always there, but I didn’t quite understand it before.
There’s no secret – we Christians are a bunch of liars, cheaters, thieves, complainers, and sometimes even murderers- much like the rest of the world. The difference is we must recognize that we are sinners and then we must choose to recognize that we need Christ who paid the price for us to get out of our ‘ditches’ of life. No, we’re never going to be perfect this side of heaven. When we mess up, we’re called to give each other grace- like Jesus has given us grace. This isn’t a license to sin but it’s an understanding that we need a Saviour and no amount of self-help will solve our problem of sin. We are also called to turn away from our ditches and recognize our wrong and get in the car that God should be driving- not us.
If you’ve been hurt by Christians, I encourage you to put your eyes on Christ and learn more about Him and stop only looking at everyone else. You and I need to let Him drive the car.
It may be a lot like driving on the road and keeping your eyes on the horizon rather than the ditch. If you look at the ditch, you’ll end up in the ditch, but if you keep your eyes ahead, you’ll keep going towards the goal – which is drawing closer to God. One day we’ll get to see Him face to face as the Bible promises. And all that is now blurry will be made clear. I long for that day and I will not let another person bump me off the journey.
Sometimes this requires getting alone with God for a long time, and away from those who call themselves Christians and yet have hurt us. I get that. I have had close friends who even did an experiment in taking a year off of gathering with fellow believers in an organized church- to see if that made any difference. They had become disillusioned in their church and needed to refocus. Sadly, it did make a difference. They grew closer to Christ when they dug in the Word and in prayer together and served together apart from the larger gathering. Ouch. That’s when you know that a church has taken it’s eyes off of Christ.
Now my friends are back with a larger community, who has recently gotten a new pastor and who is leading them in the right direction. We all need effective leaders in order to be led in the right direction. Without a gentle shepherd, a loving and visionary leader, we die.
For my friends, they are now stronger in God and allowing God to work through them, in order to make an impact on their fellow believers. They recognize Who they follow- God and not their fellow believers who can often trip them up- (even church leaders) because all are sinners. My friends know they are called to focus on the horizon and help people OUT of the ditch. Complaining about those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help. Following those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help either. We need to focus on the horizon.
Don’t confuse Christ with Christians because that will only turn you off. No Christian person is worthy of being worshiped and idolized. We all are sinners – even pastors and news articles have testified to this.
Read this article in RELEVANT Magazine – An Open Letter to Anne Rice (who recently walked away from Christianity because of Christians).