To the person who walked away from the church:

Hello,

I’ve heard many different reasons people have walked away from their church, even a church they at one time loved.

I’ve heard stories of people being hurt by members in a church. They experienced painful rejection, shame and even in some cases, abuse.

Or I’ve heard the bad experiences people had, where they didn’t feel like they belonged and felt judged. Others said they left their church because it felt like a cult, was too religious or a number of other things.

Some people have been forced out, some chose to go on their own.

Regardless of the reason, I get why some people leave. Do I wish they liked church? Yep. But still, sometimes I understand why they leave.

I will start by saying, some of the most kind and wonderful people I’ve ever met were at churches, and I think church can help us grow in our faith through teachings, worship and community.

That being said, if I heard your story of why you left, I bet it would make sense why you did.

In your reasoning for walking away from the church, there might be a lot of pain. There might be anger, resentment, grief and confusion.

I can’t tell you that you should have stayed or that you did something wrong.
The hard truth about the church is that it’s made up of imperfect humans who come together to worship a perfect God. It’s ran by, taught by, and filled with, imperfect, sinful humans.

I believe this is also what can make a church beautiful, too. Us understanding our need for a perfect God.

But sometimes we get so hurt that we do actually need to leave.

Friend, if I could tell you just one thing, it would be this: Regardless of what made you leave, Jesus still wants you.

And if there is just one thing I could encourage you to do, it’s to please not give up on Jesus, even if you’ve given up on going to church.

If you received messages from the congregation that you did not belong there, please know that was not a message from Jesus.

If you were condemned by someone at a church, please know Jesus did not do what He did on the cross to condemn you, but to save you.

If anyone met you with shame, hate, or treated you poorly, they were not being an example of Christ’s love. They just weren’t.

Jesus is not the humans at a church.

Yes, they should reflect His character, but we all miss that mark.

Don’t let another human dictate your faith. Don’t let anyone else’s behavior determine whether or not you are going to have a relationship with Jesus.
Don’t give them that kind of power.

Jesus wants you whether you are at church each week or not.

A church building is that, a building. God’s presence is absolutely everywhere.

Yes, I truly hope you find a church or faith community that would feel so welcoming for you. And I believe there very well may be one out there for you if you look.

But even if you don’t, or aren’t ready for that yet, you can still go to Jesus. He does not have a “only once you go to church can you come to me” type of stance.

You can still grow in your faith. He can still be your Savior.

My prayer for you is that you wouldn’t let your experience of flawed humans be projected onto the person of Jesus.

He is pure, good love. He never wanted you to get hurt.

He is still there, waiting for you to return to Him, and waiting to help you walk through whatever healing you need.

So although you’ve walked away from the church for now, please don’t walk away from Him.

He is the ONLY perfect one, and He will meet you with love.

This article originally appeared on The Unraveling

 

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Kelli Bachara

Kelli is a mental health therapist, momma to two (one currently cooking in the womb), and wife to an amazing man with a cool name, Rocco. Kelli loves 90s pop rock, Hallmark Christmas movies, her dog Winnie, and Jesus (in reverse order).