Dear all those who have been hurt by "Christians", I'm Sorry...

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Have you ever heard the saying, “What bothers you most about others is what is most true about you?” Maybe not those exact words, because I made it up since I couldn’t find it on Google, but regardless, it’s true! For example, if you are a passenger in my car I will beat you down if you attempt to touch my stereo or criticize my music selection, but if I am in your car you will probably see me looking for the right time and song to change it without you noticing, I am a menace, what can I say? You probably have a few of them too. But let me tell you another one that is a bit more serious and much more offensive. I don’t like church people. Church people are the type that grows up in church doing all the religious things, and look down on anyone who would dare shake up the established system. These are the people who pass judgment on any person who walks in and doesn’t look the part of a fellow church person. Church people are the number one reason why people leave the church and will no longer give Jesus the time of day. Uncomfortable yet? Me too. Beyond the fact that church people annoy me, and every unchurched person they really really bothered Jesus and still do.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem in the week before His execution the church people of the day known as “Pharisees” and “Sadducees” tried to trap Jesus and get Him to stumble with His words. They didn’t like Him because He was different. He wasn’t like them. They were brought up in the best homes, got the best education, and best training. They followed the most insignificant rules, and never broke protocol. Jesus was a carpenter’s son, He was from a section of Israel that was considered the backwoods, and although Jesus was taught in the temple and was beyond brilliant, His thoughts did not align with these scholars and He basically bucked all tradition for the sake of revealing love to those far away from God.

Jesus didn’t care about dress code, or church conduct. Instead He issued this warning, “Beware of the religious scholars. They like to parade around in long robes. They love being greeted in the marketplaces. They love taking the best seats in the synagogues. They adore being seated around the head table at banquets. But in their greed they rob widows of their houses and cover up their greed with long pretentious prayers. Their condemnation will be all the worse because of their hypocrisy.”[1]

Does that sound like your experience in the church? The church was never meant to be a social club set up for the amusement of its members; it’s a hospital for the sick, the hurting, and the broken.

Church people, not the culture, are the reason the church is ineffective today. But remember what I said about the stereo in my car? Church people annoy me because they are exactly what I am one of them way too often.

I seek out my own comfort, and want the music, the style, and everything else to match my personality. I want to hang out with the middle class not the poor, but where would Jesus be? Jesus never seemed to distinguish between classes, I think He saw all people as equals. He saw that the rich and the poor all needed a savior. I don’t have that mindset.

I have criticized others, for not sharing the same political, and moral beliefs as me. I’ve judged others for their moral choices. I’ve done everything that I dislike about church people.

This isn’t a time for pity and self-hatred, it’s a time for reflection and a sincere apology.

If you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus, my encouragement to you is to see if you, like me, need to apologize for not being more like Jesus to those who are far away from Him.

If you are not a Christian then I have a message to you:

I am sorry. I am sorry that the church has failed you, I am sorry that the church has not been loving, encouraging, action-packed, and convicting in the best way. I am sorry for the judgment, and the hypocrisy. And most of all I am sorry that I have embodied every one of these. Please know that while I and the rest of the church are meant to be the representatives of Jesus here on earth, we do a poor job of it far too often. But Jesus is not like me, He is perfect and beautiful, unafraid and daring. He calls for adventure not comfort. He doesn’t see racial lines, economic lines, sexual lines, or any other barrier. He sees us all as sinners in need of a savior. He wants to save you and He wants to save me. There are a thousand other things I feel the need to apologize for but this blog is not going anywhere, so until then will you forgive me for my part in making the church something other than what Jesus meant it to be? Will you forgive me for not being more like Jesus?

[1] Luke 20:46-47 The Voice