When my Church hurts me | Notes of an Imperfect Christian

This is a story of my love affair with an Imperfect Church. And just like any healthy love affair, this includes love and pain, growing and learning.

When my Church hurts me, I remind myself that:

I love this Church. She may be imperfect, her leaders may have flaws. She may not be as dynamic and as cool as other Churches in this country, but she’s my own local Church and I love her just the same.

I love this Church. And I want to do my best to help her people become better citizens and stronger Christians, protect her from bad rumors in and out, and from things that may be self-destructive.

I love this Church. Our leaders are not perfect, they make wrong decisions, sooner or later they will hurt people unintentionally simply because they are also humans — just like each one of us. Each time we get offended by any of them, remember that they are never better, never holier, never stronger and never more righteous than any one of the weakest in faith.

This is my Church, she may have hurt me many times, unintentionally perhaps. Yes, she did hurt me many times, even to the point that I almost left her. But I never did. Because each time she does I am brought to a certain realization: that when my Church hurts me, I get a piece of how it is to be like Jesus.

That when I hurt Jesus, more often than this Church hurts me, unintentional or not, Jesus also reminds himself:

That He loves this man. I may be imperfect, I may have flaws, I may not be as dynamic and as cool as other Christians, but I am his Child and he loves me just the same.

That He loves this man. And He knows His plans for me, He wants to give me hope and a better future. And so he shields me from self-destruction.

That He loves this man. I make wrong decisions too many times, sooner or later I will hurt people unintentionally simply because I am human. But each time I hurt Him, I should remember that it doesn’t change who I am in His eyes — Made Righteous.

And so with that, I get a chance be more like Jesus, to learn how to love unconditionally — each and every time this Church hurts me.

Question to Readers:

Will your Church hurt you? Yes, your Church WILL. The question is, how do you react when she does?

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33 thoughts on “When my Church hurts me | Notes of an Imperfect Christian

  1. Hi W3bservant,

    I totally understand what you’re going through. It’s part of our Christian life.
    I hope you can enlighten me one way or another.

    Here’s my current situation.
    I am the sole breadwinner in my family and we live in a squatters’ area in Manila.
    When it rains, it pours in our house. Laging may tulo ang bubong namin.
    I just pray about it. Sometimes the rain will stop. Other times it will get stronger.

    I am earning a good amount abroad but I am surprised that my wife does not get our house fixed.
    There are always excuses.
    Last month, I learned from my eldest son that their mom has been living a luxurious life
    away from them. She bought herself a condominium and an owner-type jeep but
    keeps it to herself. She does not let our children use it nor the condo.

    The other thing is her siblings are all enjoying the same comfort living in her condo and she bought them tricycles and motorcycles. She even pays for the apartment of her parents in San Pedro.

    When I talked to her about it, she got mad and threatened to divorce/annul our marriage if I bring the subject up again while insulting and cursing me in front of our children.

    Now, I really love her and we’ve been through a lot.
    I don’t want to end our long relationship. People are looking up to us and we don’t want to be a bad example to our fellow believers.

    Please help me,
    Ama

    Anyone else may email me at:
    monergistiama@gmail.com

    • Hi Ama,

      Thank you for taking the time to write to me and for the trust to share your problem. would you mind if I repost this as a new blog, then dun ko sagutin.

      I believe hindi lang ikaw ang may ganitong pinagdadaanan, so I would like to post it as an entry so we can also help others with same concern as yours.

      I will also try to seek advice from my mentors, then I will post their collective answers into the blog entry. Ok lng po ba?

    • “I will fight for my country, but I will not lie for her.” ― Zora Neale Hurston

      The same is true in my love affair with this Church. I love her so much, but it doesn’t mean I am a loyalist, nor will I turn a blind eye when she makes a fool out of herself.

      • Yes i do know you are not a loyalist. You already sent that message clear to me even before. But honestly, I just did not expect this article from you.

        I just want to let you know that I appreciate this cause I thought you are one of those that only sees all the negatives in the church disregarding that this church took care of us, embraced and loved us in spite of, and accepted us in the family. What I mean that you stood up for your church is that in spite of the flaws that you see, alam ko na you’re still in your church. I just hope na as mature Christians, hindi ka sana isa sa mga nag-e-air ng sentiments at paninira sa church sa internet. desperate move kasi yun eh. napaka-immature ng mga gumagawa ng ganun. inuubos ang energy nila sa paninira na dapat ay ibinubuhos nila sa Great Commission.Lalo na yung mga bira ng bira ni hindi nga alam ang buong storya kasi isang side lang ang alam nila tapos wala naman sila mismo dun sa pinangyarihan ng problema.

        Siguro pwede sabihin ng iba na loyalist ako. But in my heart of hearts, my prayer to God na as long as i feel and discern that HIS anointing and blessing is in my church and in my pastor, there is no reason for me to leave my church in spite of the flaws and imperfections. Mabubuti at pure ang puso ng mga leaders ng church ko through God’s grace and I am one of those few who can see it. Inallow ng Lord na makilala ko sila. Kaya it breaks my heart at times dahil hindi ko magawang makadepensa for them for ethical and “Christianly” reasons. Yes they are not perfect! Maraming flaws sa church, san ba wala? Pero is that enough reason para ilaglag mo ang pastor mo in the midst of your flock? Is that Christ-like? What would Jesus do?

        Baka sabihin ng mga nakakabasa dito, wala pa akong pinagdaanang problem sa church ko. If I can only tell it here! But you know what, I considered those as testings from God, and because of that, I grew deeper and stronger for my Church and for Jesus, aside sa blessing na nagkaron ako ng asawa na mapagmahal sa Diyos at dumaan din sa matitinding testings and trials.

        Marami pa akong gustong i-air dito dahil 1st time ko ito magpost ng ganito. But I decided not to. That’s not what Jesus would do.

        Thanks.

        • I was once a loyalist, but never again. Maraming Christian ang umaalis dahil nasaktan ng Church, and I was almost one of them. But on my way out, God made me realize that it is my fanatic devotion to the Church organization that led me to disillusionment, which I found is often the case of those hurt by the Church-– the organization they once loved and fought for and gave their tithes and offerings to, only to learn that the trust was breached, money mismanaged, if not squandered.

          I may be unorthodox, even defiant and anarchistic at times, but I am doing this to voice out for the people who felt wronged by the Body of Christ. But if I will be honest, aaminin kong I wouldn’t be who I am now had it not been for those painful experiences I gained from the (supposed-to-be) representatives of Christ. And that is why I blog like this, My Church-wounds made me stronger and I want the other “victims of friendly fire” to learn what I learned.

          But you know what, at one point I agree with you. This Church needs a lot of cleaning up to do, and kung tatanga lang ako dito and throw my complaints from the sidelines, I think wala na akong pagkakaiba sa mga taong tinutuligsa ko. So might as well stay and help.

          God gives me second chances, so I believe I should give this Church a chance to prove me wrong.

          – w3bservant

  2. Please do whatever you can so I can get a better understanding on my situation. Hirap kasi pag ikaw ang nasa sentro ng problema, hindi makapag-isip ng malinaw maraming emotional attachments. I need abundance of counsel sabi nga ng proverbs.

    I envy you. You have mentors which I suppose are your spiritual disciplers.

    • No please don’t envy me. My #1 mentor is my mom, she’s also my # 1 fan (and sometimes my worst critic too, haha). Then my beloved. Then I have my pastors and ministry leaders, and the most important is the Holy Spirit and God’s word.

      So I guess you too have mentors. Do you have a local church there? It really helps if you do. Iba pa rin kase ang face to face counseling. Sometimes, we don’t need counsel, all we need is a hug to help us get through our trials. And a local Church is one good source. =)

  3. Kudos to this Kuya RJ. i find it a brave and honest description of what a church really is. everyone is expecting that the church will always give us comfort and all the good things . we sometimes forget that the members are imperfect people having imperfect minds , imperfect attitudes. But what we should not forget is that our God is perfect, if we always look up to HIM, this imperfect church that we have will be worth loving. Just as He loves us. never giving up, always rejoicing every time we stand up and always hopes the best for us.

    • yes Grace. Most people join and leave the Church out of disillusionment — that it will be a place of Milk and Honey, a place of love, a place of joy, a place where they can feel accepted and belonged. Yes, they are disillusioned, we all are.

      Because it is not the Church who meets what we need, but Christ. Not the Great Pastor, but the Good Shepherd. Not the praise and worship, but the Presence of the One we worship. And unless Christians realize that, then there will be always be people leaving the Church, often disillusioned.

  4. Very well said! ^_^ After all, there is really no “PERFECT” church! We just, most of the times, forget that what’s more important is that our imperfect church is dependent to our PERFECT GOD. So instead of airing our sentiments about what the church could have done and must be doing for us, we must think about what we could do to help the her and her people.

    Found a good read today. God bless you ^_^

  5. Reblogged this on Worship Warrior Bride and commented:
    Very well said! ^_^ After all, there is really no “PERFECT” church! We just, most of the times, forget that what’s more important is that our imperfect church is dependent to our PERFECT GOD. So instead of airing our sentiments about what the church could have done and must be doing for us, we must think about what we could do to help her and her people.

  6. Salamat sa tinuran mong ito kapatid. Ako’y nasa dulo na ng aking pisi ng maisipan kong i-google ang mga isyu ng iglesya at makita itong iyong blog.
    Alam mo, matagal na akong miyembro ng DD at kagaya mo, nasaksihan ko nang lahat ang mga pang-aabuso ng ilan sa mga naka-posisyon sa iglesya. Ngunit nagpatuloy ako sa kabila noon at naging mas malakas at mas lumapit sa aking pananampalataya. Ngunit sa mga nakikita ko ngayon, til kalabisan na ang mga nagaganap sa amin. Ang liderato namin puro pagpapasasa sa buhay gamit ang sacrificial giving naming mga mahihirap na miyembro. Isusubo na lang namin, iaabot pa namin sa gawain. Sadyang kagalakan naman ang dulot nito sa aming puso. Sobra ang sakripisyo namin para maitaguyod ang aming pananampalataya. Siyempre walang wala ito sa mga sakripisyo ng ating Tagapagligtas. Pero sa tingin ko ay kami lang ang nagsasakripisyo. Tapos hindi napupunta ang mga pondo sa mga gawain namin.

    Salamat at nabasa ko ang paalala mong ito. Wala nga namang perpektong iglesya. Lalo na ng mga tunay na iglesya o yaong mga sumasamba sa Diyos.
    Kukunin ko na rin ang iyong pagpapala na maibahagi ko itong mga isinulat mo sa aking maliit na grupo. Halos kalahati sa aking dalawandaang Bible studies ay nag-iisip na ring tumiwalag sa samahan. Sana ay magamit ko ito para muling ibalik ang pagtitiwala nila sa samahan at sa kapatiran at sa mga sugo ng DIyos.

    Hindi ko sigurado kung ikaw ay kaanib ko. Ngunit ang sigurado ko, ikaw ay nagagamit para mapatatag ang mga katulad kong mananampalatayang tila napanghihinaan na ng loob. Sa katunayan, halos ngayon lang kami nagkasundo ng kapatid kong taga ibang iglesya. Dun sa may-ari ng isang TV station sya. Parehas kami ng sitwasyon kaya’t ipinorward ko itong blog mo sa kanya. At tila sya man ay magpapatuloy sa pagbibigay ng ika-sampung bahagi ng kanyang kitain kagaya ng nakasanayan ko na mula pagkabata ko.

    Muli, salamat.
    Patuloy nating ibigay ang lahat sa Kanyan na Maylikha.

    • Isang mapagpalang araw. maraming salamat sa mga sinabi mo, tunay na nakatataba ng puso. Hindi ko inakalang maraming pusong maaabot ang isang blog entry na ang tunay na layunin lang naman sa umpisa ay palakasin ang sarili at paalalahanang huwag magtatampo, huwag manlulumo, bagama’t halos sumuko na rin ako dulot ng mga hindi kainamang pag-uugali ng ilan sa ating mga kapatiran, bagay na minsan ay tunay na nakaiinis na.

      Ang totoo, hindi tayo magkaanib. Ang totoo magkaiba tayo ng tinatawag na “relihiyon”, pero dahil sa tinuran mo ngayon, mas lalong naging malinaw sa akin ang isang payak na katotohanan:

      Na minsan, kapag inalis natin ang mga pader ng religious differences na naghihiwalay sa atin sa ibang tao, nagiging kinatawan tayo ng tunay na kapayaan.

      Kagalakan kong naging instumento ako ng pagpapalakas sa iba, kaanib man o hindi ng aking Iglesya. Kagalakan at karangalan rin na maibahagi sa iba ang aking blog entry. Maraming salamat dahil doon.

      Nasabi kong katulad kita isang taong mapagsaliksik.

      Alam mo bang ginawa ko rin ang ginawa mo sa aking iglesya, hahaha. Ito ang natutunan ko:

      https://w3bservant.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/is-my-church-a-cult-part1/

      Kapayapaan sa iyo!

  7. to u webservant..as you continue to enlighten others by your blog entry..may He will continue to grow you in God’s knowledge and in wisdom…He may used u in various ways that draw more people to know God and deepen the truth who really God is? our purpose and our role in the body of Christ.God bless you…

    • thanks Janeth.
      While it may have started as my own personal search of who God is, I realized that the desire to know him more was shared with other people — that I am not the only person wanting to know God, more than just what is being told in the pulpit.

      I only have one desire, to discover that the God I know is a God who not just sits on throne of heavens, but one who walks with me each and everyday.

      • “Open rebuke is way better than secret Love.” Most of the time we felt so very defensive when someone reveals the imperfectness of our church. How can we fix the problem kung di natin solusyonan, kung di natin pag-uusapan. Our God’s power is made perfect for our weaknesses.Only by seeking HIM deeply and search for a better way of solving issues. The only thing that matters here is “How” are we going to fix the problem against rumors which is said to be true or “Gossip”. Understanding and helping one another considering that we are all saved by God’s grace is the key for this Problem. Kung may Mali talaga sa tao, may D.A naman sa Church Laws can be implemented. but not to the extend that the person is down tapos lalo pa ibabaon. why not “KUMUTAN?”. May Shame pa rin sa nagkamali pero they need encouragement. Yan ang tunay na essence kung bakit may fellowship sa church. The Church needs to be Holy because God is Holy, pero di dapat magpapabanalan na paligsahan. Remind ko lang din ung Mark 2:15-17. Our God is here to heal the sick and not those are healthy. Remember, we are living and saved because of God’s Grace, not because of our good works so that no one will boast. Love the Church even when they hurt us. As for forgiveness if we hurt them. Ask God’s forgiveness and let HIM teach us the way to become better Christians. Love God by having love and compassion for others. Thank you Lord for everything !

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    • in many different ways that an imperfect Church can hurt an imperfect Christian. 🙂

      But I learned that in order to avoid having grudges against your Church it is better to avoid remembering how your Church offended/hurt you.

  9. thank u…..isa lang narealize ko,,,,we dont have a perfect church…but we do have a good church.
    maraming salamat ulit!

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  11. “And so with that, I get a chance be more like Jesus, to learn how to love unconditionally — each and every time this Church hurts me.”

    This! Oh! WOW! Just WOW! Salute Kuya W3bservant! You truly are a servant of the Almighty. 🙂

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