Today a young man who I once worked with posted of how he had been deeply wounded at the church he loved by “church people.” When I worked with him his church activities and friends were often in any conversation we had. I, of course, can relate to his hurt. Church hurt runs deep and scars in a way that worldly hurt doesn’t.
With my sister’s passing last week, my church hurt was brought front and center in my memory; even though two years and four months now separate me from the hurtful time. The events that caused me to leave the church that I loved came from leadership, not the congregants. However, people, being people, soon chose to support the leaders instead of me. Friends who I once talked to twice a day, or more, who called me not only a friend but sister, slowly quit calling. My calls went unanswered and unreturned.
During my time of loss, planning the funeral, the speakers, singers, and the food I recalled all the funerals I had worked on at church. I thought of all the hard work that I enjoyed so much. I remembered all the visitations and funerals I had attended often out of town. I recalled all the food I had prepared. I remembered all the poems I had written and read for the funerals.
I recalled the funerals of my mother and grandchildren that occurred while I attended the church. I was told that more of the church attended my mother’s funeral than had ever attended any other since the church’s founding. Wow! What support! Or was it?
As I stood at my sister’s funeral to read my poem I wrote, I looked out on the small crowd. How many faces of people did I see there who I had supported for thirteen years at the church? At the visitation, how many came in and hugged me and told me they were praying for me?
The answer is one true and loving friend from the church came to the visitation and sat with me all night. One true and loving friend from the church came to the funeral and came home with me to support me during the funeral meal. No one from the church brought any food, but my dear friend from work did. Out of 400 plus people that I worked for and with at the church for over thirteen years, I ended up with two who supported me during my loss.
If you are a part of a church today, be careful how you present yourself to others. If you call someone friend, ask yourself, “Would I still be their friend if they didn’t attend this church anymore?” If not, don’t pretend to be their friend. Unfortunately, many times all the food and visits and support are simply to impress the leaders. If your heart isn’t in it, don’t do it! Church hurt runs deep. Be careful not to be the one who helps scar someone for years to come.
Remember everyone is simply human. Each and every one can fail and often do as I learned the hard way. There is but one God. Worship only Him. Be careful not to worship man. Also when you are serving, ask yourself if you are serving God or man. I also have to ask my self that question today. I pray I always served only God at that church with a pure heart.