There are so many times where I wish that we would choose to see hearts instead of personas or stereotypes. I wish that we would take the time to get past our own frustrations and hurts and look objectively at what people are trying to say rather than assume that we already know them and their intent. I say this not because I always choose to (there are days I most definitely fail), but I say this because I think it holds true regardless if we choose to be strong enough to listen. I think what I am really getting at is that as of this past year there are so many moments that I wish I could speak and people would actually listen to my heart.
This is my attempt at speaking from my heart, and hoping that anyone reading will listen rather than judge or stereotype who you think I am.
Because until you know who I am before coffee or after I’ve had to “people” all day, you really don’t know me.
Now I could go into some “I Am” speech to tell you all about me but instead here’s the world through my eyes as of recent….
“We live in a world where everyone wants to be known and they want to be fulfilled but the reality is we have done a very poor job at being a safe culture where others can be authentic. I hold the church accountable for this. Now, if you are not a christian, I just used the word church, so you might be on guard (which I get). Oh but if you are a Christian, I just used the word accountable, so you are probably on guard too. No matter which way you paint this scenario once “church” comes into the equation, my personal history shows that people stop listening to my heart.
The Christians stop listening because they are already offended. The world stops listening because they were offended by the Christians.
Now, hold for one moment and remember that I started this post by asking you to listen to my heart. So please, listen.
What you don’t know about me #1: If I didn’t know God apart from the church, I would be an atheist.
I understand the pain that the church has caused people more than most people will ever know. In fact every big point in my life where I have been hurt has come from the church. I understand being offended by the word “Church” because to be honest sometimes, I am too.
The church has been the source of so much pain for me, SO much pain. When people talk about a dislike to “Church Goers” the sad part is that I can’t argue with them because I see what they see. And in effort to be completely honest, I would be an atheist right now if who I know God to be was dependent on the insulting attempt of the church to portray him.
I can’t support what the church is doing. I simply won’t. I see hypocrisy. I see fake. I see unaccountable people who hurt others and don’t fix it. I see broken people trying to convince the world they are whole. I see people causing ruin to relationships around them and leaving shambles of hearts calling themselves “Christians”.
What you don’t know about me #2: I have a very big problem with how the church handles hearts.
If you are a Christian, congratulations on making it this far in this post. My guess is you are either pretty frustrated with me and thinking of the best reply to remind me of “who the church is” or you are actually trying to see my heart. If it is the latter, than thank you.
You see, what I want more than anything is to be able to talk to the hearts that the church has hurt. I want to be given a moment where I can talk of God and not have someone tie me to some church, which is responsible for some wound, somewhere on their heart.
What you don’t know about me #3: I see God apart from the church.
When I said that almost every big pain I’ve gone through in life was due to the church, I meant it. It shouldn’t be that way. And the bigger problem is that every attempt I’ve made to bring it up to the church, has gone unvalidated. I would understand this response if it was just my pain and my heart. But I’ve seen so many people hurt by the church that I know it’s not specific to my heart. This is where I get caught. This is the church. THE CHURCH, which is supposed to represent God to the world and they are massively failing.
What you don’t know about me #4: I don’t see people helped by the Church, I see them broken by it.
This is a problem. Because the God I know doesn’t break people, yet his church does. I’m not asking you to look at some attendance count on Sunday morning, I’m asking you if the church is building people that will last. Is the church building people that are strong? Is the church building people who know who they are? Is the church building people of character? Is the church creating a culture of love? Because if they did I can promise you the the “church death toll” would be lower.
What you don’t know about me #5: I would love to be able to say that I believe in God and love him without those who have been hurt by the church looking at me like I am absolutely insane because to them he is the church.
So if you listen to any part of my heart, let it be this. God is not the failing church. I don’t know how to really portray this or say it and know anyone will listen, but I know that if I don’t say it, it will never get the chance to be heard. And if its never heard then the world will go on, being hurt like I’ve been without knowing that the church isn’t God. God isn’t pain. God isn’t the wounds the church has caused. God isn’t divisive. God isn’t rejection. God isn’t full of slander. God isn’t prideful. God doesn’t cause you to doubt your value. God doesn’t cause you to doubt your worth. God isn’t what the church has become and for what it’s become, I’m sorry.
What you don’t know about me #6: I wish I could talk to every heart the church has hurt because than maybe I could show them the God who healed me.
I have been drunk, high and reckless trying to numb the hurt by those who came with the title “Christian”, I have tried coping with the pain the church caused my heart and I’ve tried masking it. Nothing worked. Everything I tried was a temporary fix, until I remembered the God I knew before….before the failing church of today.
So I leave you with this, I’m not hiding my pain or my healing or pretend that the behavior of the church or “Christians” is okay–It’s not. Its a very big problem and one that the church needs to address. My story is one I will share, because the world needs to know that God isn’t in the people who fail to represent him.”