A Letter to Those Hurt by Christians

To all those who have been hurt  by Christians,

I get why you don’t want to believe in God.
I get why you stopped believing in God.
I get why you may be weary to enter a church building.
I get why you may be weary to approach Christians.
I get it.
I really do.
I was there.

You’ve seen Christians on street corners who are screaming their heads off about people going to hell.
You’ve seen Christians turn a blind eye and “okay” some sins while calling out others for other sins.
You’ve seen Christians not even bothering to pray for others in their time of need.
You’ve seen Christians in church sit there texting and talking all throughout the sermon.
You’ve seen Christians in church act like a clique, not even bothering to greet the new people.
You’ve had Christians treat you and your salvation just like another, number to them that they will soon forget about.

I get it.
I’ve seen it all too.
For awhile it even made me want to leave the church, and I did for some time.

Here’s the thing though:
Christians aren’t Christ.

we are all sinners – in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. 

Christians mess up.
We aren’t perfect.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they may be reflecting Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they won’t be reflecting Christ.

Are you following Christ or Christians?

We go on Twitter and see people tweeting great and inspirational tweets about Christ.
We go on Instagram and see people posting cool photos with the newest filters about an inspirational Bible story and something they’ve learned that day.
We see Christians outside of church and see them smoking, or drinking or cursing and think, “That must be okay”.

We start to compare ourselves to other christians and want to be, just like them. Forgetting though that they too are – sinners. Imperfect. We all fall short of the glory of God.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry if you’ve been deeply hurt by a Christian.
I’m sorry if you’ve seen Christian after Christian be a bad witness.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a Christian.
I’m sorry.

God isn’t us though.
God doesn’t play favorites.
God doesn’t misrepresent himself.
God doesn’t mess up.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
God doesn’t say the wrong thing.
God never leaves or forsakes you.
God will never hurt you.
God will never be too busy to listen to your fears, hurts, cries, joy,etc.

How to forgive when a person has hurt you.

Forgiveness. Forgiven. Forgive.
These words, ideas, concepts are altogether mentioned in the Bible around 140 times.
the bible tells us that we should forgive people when they hurt us, sin against us. We should forgive them as God has forgiven us for our own sins.

 

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Sounds easy enough, right?

but what if that person has hurt us? what if that person has abused us? what if that person left us beaten and bruised physically and mentally?

How do we forgive people who have hurt us so badly? 

believe me. that’s something that i know i struggle with trying to do.
i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have abused me; physically, verbally, mentally, etc. i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have cheated and made me feel disposable. i struggle with forgiving friends who leave. i struggle with forgiving people who have hurt me and taken advantage of me over and over. i won’t sugar coat it. i struggle with this.

Recently though I’ve learned that in order to better learn how to forgive others we need to understand that we’ve all already been forgiven. We are all sinners. that sin separates us from God. whether its a sin of cheating, porn, lying, alcohol, drugs, etc.

In Matthew 18:21-22 Peter asks God how many times he should forgive someone. His answer? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

You see. we sin daily. whether you realize it or not. getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, watching that porn, holding grudges, lying, gossiping. each day we sin against the God of the universe. each day we sin against the god who created each and every one of us. yet, god still loves us and desires a relationship with us. think about it this way: for as much hurt as we may feel from a person we are not able to forgive, when we deny god, when we sin against him we hurt him and we separate ourselves from him. yet, he holds nothing over us. he still longs for a relationship with all of us.

i’m not advocating for messaging that person who has hurt you unless the Lord calls you to. what i am saying is that to better understand how to forgive someone, we should start with a understanding of God’s love for us and how he forgives us. when we start with this understanding we can then approach forgiving someone with a understanding of, “Yes, this person hurt me. I don’t trust them. But, they are as forgiven as I am for my sins. Because of this I won’t speak bad of them to others”.

You see, when we start forgiving people we stop allowing those people to have control over us. we start to extend more grace and ease to people.