Friday, October 22, 2010

Disappointment With Life, part two: Burned by the Church

Yosemite Church, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Taken by David Maximillian Waterman on 1998/09/06
This is a touchy subject, my friends. But I want to talk about it, because I know so many of us have felt this way at one time or another. It stinks. As the Church, we are to be the light of the world, displaying the heart of Jesus by our love for one another. But it does not always turn out this way. We do not always love each other as we should, and that is so sad. It makes Jesus sad, I know, the way that we sometimes "do church."

About the same time that I was struggling with my parents' divorce, Bob and I found ourselves hurt and confused by some things that were happening in our church. For several years, we had served in leadership positions in a small, but wonderful church that we loved. But, as is the case for other churches, this one happened to be made up of people. And as we all know, people will fail. And I'm not just talking about other people. I'm talking about me, too. I failed in areas, too. We were struck down, but not destroyed by the things that happened in our church--at least not at first. We rallied, but it wasn't too many more years later, that our church dissolved completely.
 This was a death, and we grieved the loss. We will always love the people who were our church family back in those days. In fact, we still have relationships with many of them. But, it is difficult not to regret the things that happened. 

Today, we are blessed to be part of a healthy church. It isn't perfect--no church is--but we are thankful! The things we learned back in those tough times were valuable lessons that I appreciate. But, there are so many people who have bad experiences at church and walk away, never to return. They are angry, hurt, and bitter over their experiences. Sometimes, I think that we transfer our negative feelings about people in the church onto God. We as Christians don't always represent Him well, but God is always good! People will fail us, but He never will. 

If you have ever been burned by the Church in any way, I feel like the Lord wants me to stand in for the people who hurt you and say, "I'm sorry." You may have never received an apology for the way you were treated or for the way a pastor, teacher, or friend let you down. So, I will say it. I am saying it to you now. 

I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that you felt rejected. I'm sorry for being a hypocrite. I'm sorry for lying to you. I'm sorry for my pride. I'm sorry for making you feel like you weren't good enough. I'm sorry for acts of hatred in the name of the Lord. I'm sorry for falsely accusing you. I'm sorry for talking about you behind your back. I'm sorry for not loving you. 

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away'" Revelation 21:3-4.

Someday, soon, my friend. 


  1. Rachelle,

    This is nicole....
    Thanks for letting the Lord use you to be a light! I am so glad you are doing this blog-- it is so great!

    Love you,


  2. Thanks for sharing, Rachelle. I know we all felt let down by the church, it's leaders and even fellow members, as we struggled to stay afloat, yet eventually failed. However, God used that "failed" little church to begin a larger, impactful work in West Africa. And He leads us into other work in a different way. Much love, Vivian

  3. Vivian, thank you so much for reminding me of this! I had forgotten. Yes, God can take our failures and still bring something beautiful out of the rubble.

  4. You are a treasure Rachelle! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  5. Through the years the sting has lessened, the wounds are closing... and God's grace never changed :)


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