I was talking tonight with a friend of mine about ridiculous things that have happened to us at the hands of pastors and elders and whatnot from “Christian” churches.
I don’t think that a lot of what happens in churches and between clergy and congregants is necessarily something that Jesus would condone and I don’t think He would be pleased with a large chunk of it.
I have to put quotation marks around the word “Christian” after the things I’ve experienced. Many of those things have been decidedly un-Christian. Many of those things have caused me to question my faith and whether God is really real and if He really loves me. The very places where we are supposed to go to learn and grow and be nurtured and protected have been more painful than helpful for me.
Believing is hard when the place you’re supposed to go to get watered and cared for is a war zone.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:1-2
I’m not sure how one would process those verses with this situation. Obviously, Jesus is compassionate to the broken and the oppressed. He has no tolerance for those who break and oppress.
If you’re broken and oppressed, Jesus loves you. Jesus weeps for you. Jesus wants to crush everything that is breaking you and oppressing you.
I don’t know what that means when the breakers and the oppressors are at church. What does it mean when a pastor lies about you? What does it mean when the church’s agenda is to control every little detail of your life and keep you in perpetual childhood? What does it mean when the people who think they’re serving Jesus use their “ministry” as a means to micromanage every last detail of your life?
Believing is hard when the people who are supposed to demonstrate Jesus to you use their “authority” in ways that hurt you.
I want to believe. I really, really do.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.