Creativity Magazine

Faithful Fridays: Barred From Jesus

By Msadams @HilaryFerrell

Bible 449x600 Faithful Fridays: Barred From Jesus
This past weekend our church held a retreat at a local park as a way to draw the members closer to one another and closer to God. At the beginning of the retreat, we were all given the opportunity to talk about how we ended up at our church, a mini spiritual synopsis if you will.

I love hearing these stories because they always have a happy ending, with the storyteller finding the perfect home for their spiritual life. This time around however the stories ended up not being so cheerful.

I was utterly shocked to hear people repeatedly tell stories about how they ended up at our church because the church they grew up in rejected them. One story in particular had me on the verge of tears. One of our church members grew up living and breathing the Catholic church. When she became an adult, she ended up falling in love with and marrying a Muslim man. A few months later that same church told her that she was no longer allowed to take communion. Since she had married outside the faith, her marriage was considered illegitimate and she was living in sin. Even though this happened many years ago, you could still feel her raw emotion, the lost look in her eyes, the tear stains on her face, the wounded heart she was still wearing on her sleeve.

How this woman found the courage and strength to still search for Jesus and her new spiritual home is beyond me. I cannot imagine feeling so abandoned and rejected and yet still being able to have the resolve to pick up and move on.

What saddens me even more is that this story is not the exception. I’m sure many others have a similar rejection story but most of these people have been so wounded by their experience that they choose never to return to church again. Suddenly church, a place that should be a respite for the weary and broken, has become the cause of the very disillusionment and hurt it was intended to heal.

In Acts Chapter 20, Paul calls us to be the shepherds of the Church of God and to watch over our flock. What kind of shepherd is the church if they have shunned their own so far away from Christ that they never come back? Is the modern day church really watching over their flock if they abandoned them so easily?

I think it’s safe to say that the church is treading on dangerous ground.

For those of you who have been wounded by the church, as a fellow Christian, I just want to apologize and to say that we miss you.

I cannot imagine your pain and angst. All I can do is pray that God will heal your broken heart and that you will come to know that there are other Christians out there that ache to have you as a part of God’s community.  I only hope that some day you will come back.

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