When I was small I remember being in church and looking at all the people sitting around me thinking, “look at all these phony people.” I ended up having a very sour attitude towards the church because of the way that the people acted and all the judging that went on in it. I would hear someone talk about what someone else was doing but yet that person would be the first person to light up a cigarette and have a drink once they left church. I would see people turn their nose up towards less fortunate people in the church that didn’t have on a high dollar dress or suit. I would see woman whispering to each other about someone as they were walking by. Seeing all that at a young age made me feel very uncomfortable and like I didn’t fit in at church. Because I didn’t have it all together and I wore hand me downs I felt that everyone was judging me like they were judging others. Somehow that ended up making me feel like if I weren’t perfect then God would look at me the same way that the people of the church did and it made me shy away from Him. I felt like I was not good enough for God just like I was not good enough for the people in the church.
I have heard many people say the same thing over the years. Because of the way that people in church acted towards them, they felt that God was the same way. Because of the judging and the criticism that they received from church people, it made them look at God the same way that they looked at those people. Because of the unacceptance of the church, people felt unaccepted by God. Because of the lack of good relationships within the church, people did not have a good relationship with God.
When we do not have a understanding of what it means to be a christian and that we have our own personal relationship with God we tend to look to church and the people in it to be the example of what it means. We look for something that we can see, touch, or hear to give us understanding and to be an example. And when we have bad experiences it can really harm our spirituality.
So many people go to church without having a good personal relationship with Jesus and then they are wounded by someone in the church and it makes them even further away from God than they were. We are suppose to be examples of Jesus and make people want to come into relationship with Him because of the peace, joy, and love that we have. People walk into church everyday seeking something greater than what they have at the time. They are often wounded from life experiences, in deep pain from the way that they have been treated, and are looking to be healed from their torment. They are looking to live life in a better manner and to be accepted as they are. They are looking for people to look up to that will be a positive influence in their lives. They are searching for somewhere to belong, somewhere that they are not judged for their struggles, somewhere that encourages them to be the best that they can be. But far to often they find everything but that in the church.
When I gained my personal relationship with Jesus and was given a better a understanding of Christianity I was able to see where I went wrong in allowing the people in the church to affect me and my relationship with Jesus. I was able to understand that none of us are, nor can we be perfect. I was able to understand that every person in every church has their faults and struggles. I was able to understand that the people in the church had nothing to do with my relationship with God. One day the Lord told me that I needed to go to church and be the best person that I can be and don’t worry about the other people. He said that He needed me to be the best example that I could be so that it makes a positive impact on the rest of His children.
I think that if we all would treat others the way that we want to be treated, make allowances for each others fault, and humble ourselves before one another, the church would be a much more inviting, welcoming, and loving place to go. We in the church have to realize the importance of our actions, not only inside the church but outside of it as well. People are looking to us for examples of what it is like being a christian. They want to see the goodness that comes along with Jesus. They want to see this peace, joy, and love that they hear so much about. Believe it or not, your actions could bring someone to Christ or it could drive them away from Him. None of us can be perfect and we are not expected to be, but we should be the best that we can be in our daily walks with the Lord so that we are the best example that we can be.
Have you been wounded by a church before and if so, how?