You’re trying to do good. Or at least you want to. Really, you do. You believe (at least most of you believes) that doing things God’s way is the best way. But every time you try to take a step forward, judgmental Christians seem to cut you down, point out your failings, and act like they’re too righteous to associate with you. They hold your sins over your head and try to prevent you from doing what you believe God has asked you to do. It’s awfully discouraging. You’re tempted to wonder if it’s even worth continuing to try.
You’ve probably heard people say that you’re supposed to keep your eyes on Jesus and not on people. That’s true. But how do you deal with the “friendly fire” from those who claim to be Christians?
In our most recent survey I heard from several of you who have been wounded in the name of God. A young man wrote, “The deepest hurts in my life are from Christians and the worst part of it is that they use God to hurt me.” A woman who struggles with her church wrote, “The bible talks about Christians restoring each other if we backslide. Often people are too judgmental to restore anyone.” Perhaps you too can identify with the frustration, hurt, even anguish behind these words.
I’ve been there; I’ve also been hurt in the name of God. I know that some of those who hurt me did so unintentionally, and some did so out of their own woundedness. Some also did so consciously and directly. And it hurts.
If you’ve been wounded in the name of God, my heart bleeds for you. And I want to give you some hope. Here’s what I pray you will understand and remember.
The Truth about your Christian-inflicted Wounds
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First of all, a great big THANK YOU!!! to those of you who took the most recent Reader Survey. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to see your responses. You are generous, honest, and thoughtful. Your comments have definitely stimulated my thinking, and I’m already planning articles, videos, and perhaps other resources to address the specific frustrations you mentioned and topics you requested.
68% of you entered your email address to enter the drawing for a FREE copy of my book Live Healthy, Live Whole. And a shout out and Congratulations to the winner – Alisha from Georgia! I hope you enjoy!
While the drawing is now closed, I’m not closing the survey just yet. If you haven’t answered the brief 10 questions, you can still do so here. And if you enter your email address at the end of the survey, I’ll send you the discount code for 15% off any item in our store. I promise to read every one of your responses.
I learned some things from you – a lot of things. Some of the survey results confirmed things I already suspected, and some of them were a little surprising. Here are some highlights from what you had to say.
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Politics and faith have clashed even more strongly during this election year in the United States. People on both sides of the political spectrum are angry with the way things are, and are lashing out verbally, with their votes, and sometimes with violence. It’s easy to find Christians with specific political views denouncing other believers with different political views in the most un-Christian of terms on social media and in other formats.
The “issues” run the gamut:
- Support or non-support of Israel
- LGBT/gender/sexuality issues
- Poverty and jobs vs. corporate “greed” and freedom
- Racism (or at least perceived racism)
- The place of Christianity in society
And there are many more.
Much of the response of many Christians comes from a place of fear; fear that our ability as Christians to practice our faith will be curtailed, fear that a certain government policy or official will make a ruling that goes against our Christian faith, fear that our standing as Christians in society will become further marginalized, fear that our beliefs will not be supported by those in power, fear that world views other that what we hold as believers will gain broader acceptance.
Perhaps those fears are well founded, in the sense that the Christian characteristics of our country, as we have experienced them in the past, are changing. But in one sense, so what? Fear never comes from God. Change by itself is not bad; it may be good. When we feel ourselves shrink back in fear, it’s time to remember Paul’s words; “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) God’s truth is truth, and His kingdom will prevail whether our society is friendly or hostile to it.
Jesus never responded with fear. But He never responded with violence either. He saw beneath and behind people’s social or political beliefs to their true motivations, and He called them to allegiance to a kingdom not of this world. (John 18:36) Social issues are not unimportant, but they are not the most important. Among His disciples He included Matthew – a tax collector collaborating with the Romans, and Simon – a Zealot who would gladly have stabbed Matthew in the back if he caught him alone before they both came to know Jesus.
Politics are not unimportant.
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This time I’d like to hear from you!
This is a very brief survey – only 10 questions. Your answers will help me serve you better in the weeks and months ahead. It should only take you a few moments.
As an expression of my appreciation for your time and your thoughts, you will have the opportunity to be entered in a drawing for a FREE copy of my book Live Healthy, Live Whole: Your Prescription for Healthy Living, Loving Relationships, and Joyful Spirituality.
If you are interested in the free drawing, simply enter your email address at the end of the survey where indicated.
And even if you don’t win a free book, I’ll send you a discount code that you can use for 15% off any item in our store as a Thank You for answering this survey (as long as you enter your email address).
P.S. I’ll be grateful for your answers even if you don’t enter your email address!
Create your own user feedback survey
Your spouse is completely exasperating you, and you can’t put up with it any longer. Perhaps if you punish your wife or husband long enough they’ll get the message and shape up. What can you do to get them to change? (We’re not talking physical violence; that could get you thrown in jail, and you don’t want that!) You could nag and complain, or give them the silent treatment, or stop doing what you usually do for the family, or withhold money or information, or refuse sex, or talk bad about them to your friends. Eventually you can force him or her to do what you need and want, right?
I received a note a few days ago from a desperate wife. “Would it be alright if I stopped cooking dinner for my husband? It’s become obvious to me that he is no longer interested in even trying to find a solution for our relationship.” She went on to describe what she had tried in the past to get him to change – to no avail. Something had to change.
If you’ve been trying to punish your wife or husband for some time, let me ask you Dr Phil’s question: “How’s that working out for you?” Totally aside from the Biblical directive to love your spouse, perhaps by now you’ve discovered that punishing them only serves to make your life worse. They either don’t understand and start punishing you in return, or they dig in, become defensive, and create an even thicker wall between you.
After a while you wake up and think, If they are the one who’s doing everything wrong, why am I the one who is miserable?
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