Forgive Them Even if They aren’t Sorry

This is part 2 of the story of my experience being hurt by the church.  If you haven’t read part 1 entitled, “My Journey Away from Being a Christian” click here.

“If you had enough faith, your mom would be healed and alive.” That’s basically what I was told by a Christian friend…..a “sister.”

It was at that point that I decided I wanted nothing more to do with Christianity, church and even God. I had enough! I took time away from church to distance myself from all things Christian.

The quote by Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ,” was how I felt. I am by no means comparing myself to Gandhi, but I understood his sentiment. I don’t know if he was angry when he said it, but I definitely was during this time.

After the initial shock of what this friend said wore off, I tried to understand how someone claiming to be a Christian could say something so hurtful to someone that was hurting.   Aren’t Christians supposed to comfort and encourage those that are down and hurting? That’s not what happened.

I couldn’t wrap my head around it. My heart was hurting. Then I read in an article, “hurt people hurt people.” That’s when it occurred to me that my friend might not even have realized that she hurt me. She didn’t realize that what she said would be interpreted as harsh and discomforting. She might have lost someone in her life and someone told her the same thing she said to me. Maybe that’s how she thought you should respond to someone that’s lost a loved one.

I was still a bit perturbed at God and was feeling very distant from Him. That’s when I heard someone mention the song “Amazing Grace” and I realize that the grace that God had & has on us is not only to be received, but it is to be shared and given away. I should have grace on my friend. I was to forgive even if she wasn’t sorry. How could she be sorry if she didn’t even know she had hurt me?

Just a few weeks ago I went to see Rob Bell and he mentioned that when a major disruption happens in your life it will either cause you to become bitter or it will open you, allow the light to shine in and awaken you. That’s when I realized that the major disruption in my life was not only a horrible year of losing a brother and my mom but it was also the hurt caused by my friend. These disruptions at first did cause me to become bitter. But in the end they opened me and shined the light to awaken me.

It awakened me to the fact that I’m to love and have grace and mercy on all, unconditionally and without question.

So why do I not refer to myself as a Christian? Honestly because there are still negative connotations associate with that term. I believe a lot, not all of those that claim this label, abuse it. They sit in judgment of others in the name of Christ. They take advantage in the name of Christ. And yes, they say hurtful things in the name of Christ. I’m sure some (like my friend) don’t realize that what they’re doing is causing more damage than good. But I also believe that there are some that do know but don’t care.

I do believe in Christ and always will. This is the foundation of who I am. I am a believer and I am a Christ follower. I’m a Jesusist. I follow the teachings and examples of Jesus. I love all people unconditionally and without question, yes even Christians. I’m a Gracist. I do my best to have grace on all people even though that can be difficult at times.

Enjoying my journey.

Patrick Carden

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