You used to trust church people. Until you got burned. And now you no longer trust people who represent religion.
I knew of the mockery that existed within Christianity before even coming into the church. I remember the money hungry, ridiculous men and women on television with their greedy hands outstretched to grab ahold of the wallets of the poor and disaffected.
I remember it was like it was yesterday.
I would watch the television on Sundays and watch scripturally devoid messages, and I would later hear of people whose 'ministries' had erupted into scandal.
The church attracts wolves sometimes, and Jesus even said as much.
And it attracts legalists. These were the people who crucified Jesus. These were the ones for whom rules and prestige were more important than the truth.
It is true that some people inside the church have sinned grievously. Depending on your experience, some of these sins may have been overlooked by the church you attended.
It is also true that the church is rife with hypocrites. These are people who say they believe one thing, and yet they do another. It is exasperating.
You may have gotten sick of the cliquish way in which church behaves like a social club for spoiled sorority members more than it does a welcoming place for the broken.
You may be exhausted with the never-ending list of rules, and you may be tired of the worship wars.
You may resent the fact that some members gossip and backbite one another.
You may be tired of people judging you for things they do not understand.
You may have been deeply hurt or even betrayed.
The list of possibilities is endless, because we live in a broken world, and because church is the place we go where we're truly vulnerable.
We come expecting something, needing something, and instead, we get hurt and pain we were not expecting.
We let down our guard and were zealous, and we got a stab in the back in return.
This doesn't represent Jesus. And this doesn't represent all churches.
And in response, some may say that they can do church all alone or at home, but that really isn't true.
Even if we have to find a new church, we need to be faithful to the teachings of the Bible.
And we also need to guard against bitterness and unforgiveness.
Forgiveness isn't saying that what was done is or was okay, it is simply means that because we follow God we do what He tells us to do.
And He tells us to forgive.
He also tells us that we need to love.
From those who love us to those who hate us and everyone in between.
It doesn't mean we have to return to the fellowship that hurt us. It just means we are to love. Even if is from a distance.
It also says in God's word that we are not to forsake the gathering of ourselves together. So, find a church, and get plugged in. Love the people you meet, and understand that God will deal with those who hurt you.
He knows why they did what they did, and He, alone, is their judge.
You are set free from the matter completely.
Let God heal your hurts, and don't give up on church. And by all means, don't give up on Him, because He is the only One who will never give up on you.
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