She could not believe what she was hearing. The inside of her ears itched like a thousand tiny beetles were burrowing out. Her brain rattled from inside its cage in her head. How in the world could he actually say all of that? Just as steam was about to flare from her nostrils, she quickly turned and fled the scene of the crime leaving in her wake the shattered pieces of her heart.
No, it’s not a break up scene. It’s not reality tv. It’s just every day life. People say one thing but mean another. People do one thing but with the wrong intentions. People want but do not give. People just are people.
Except when they aren’t just people. When they are Christian people… well, that’s just a whole new level. In the church, people are expected to have the super human strength to be not-so-human. We are expected to possess a certain infallibility of character. Why? (Because too often we possess a self-righteousness that warrants it- ahem, cough cough.) We also sometimes forget that just because we love Jesus and call ourselves followers of Him doesn’t make us any less human than anyone who doesn’t.
Then there’s the flip side.
How often do we run into people who have given up on the church because they have been (for lack of a better term) screwed over? Often times it’s all because of ONE person. Because of one person, people give up on an entire belief system. How did that one person come to possess such power? Easy. They professed to be a Christian. And with that title, there is an aura of expected perfection.
But we aren’t. We. Are. Not. Perfect. There is nothing perfect about Christianity except Christ himself. Shoot- if there was, there would be ONE denomination, not 15 million. And you know what? Christians hurt other Christians, which is almost worse than when a non-believer is the injured one. Why? Because we are supposed to be family. We have our Father, and we are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. And because we are family, we are bound to injure one another. No family is perfect. No church is perfect. No Christian is perfect. No person is perfect.
As a student in Bible college, I was continually hurt by other believers. Either I was not “Christian enough”, or I did not do enough “Christian things” or spend enough time in “Christian activities”. Finally, after a serious rebuff from a leader in my church, I said, “To hell with this all” and left. I had had enough of these Christians. They made life way too hard for this college student, and I just wanted to follow Jesus and do as He had commanded. I didn’t need all this undue pressure from others to perform. I just wanted to love Jesus! Was it too much to ask?!?!? Fortunately, after a rebellious streak (which only ended up hurting me and not them), I had an epiphany and was okay. I did learn a few valuable lessons from it…
But you know what? Christians hurt other Christians. Because we ARE family. Despite our troubles and difficulties, we ultimately share a love for the same Father. We may not always agree, and our disagreements cause discord which pains our Father, but we are imperfectly striving for the same goal. When I left that church, I left in bitterness and in pain. They had hurt me. But I had allowed them to. I had allowed their expectations of me cloud God’s expectations of me. He has never asked perfection. He asked me to follow Him and love others. It’s simple really. The more you fall in love with Him, the more you become like Him. And in becoming like Him, your love for others grows.
So while we may fuss and fight, please remember… we are not perfect. None of us are. The high expectations of others only immobilizes our ability to do as Christ commanded us. Love one another… in the good, the bad and the ugly times.