And the hurt, eventually, unchecked, festers to anger and bitterness. And judgment. As a church service I went to last Fall so perfectly expressed-- Judging people who judge makes you a person who judges. The cycle is complete as we become the thing we hate. As we are now in the wrong ourselves when we preach on how wrong it is to judge others, in an attempt to defend ourselves. Hypocrites.
I am working on this. I am coming back to grace. I am coming back to remind myself that all Christians, even the ones I don't like or don't agree with, are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I don't do it perfectly. But it's a start.
I still wrestle with this. I see Christians doing a lot of harmful things. I see Christians judging others and pushing them away from Christ. I see intellectuals and scientists, the LGBT community, the political Left-- leaving and wondering why anyone would choose to be a part of such a harsh community as the Church. We all know this image of the church. We want to end abortion, but shun the teenage mom. We want to end hunger, but share a meme on Facebook about all the people on food stamps who have iPhones and designer clothes and must be abusing the system because they don't 'look poor.'
Someone asked me once how I call myself a Moderate and an Independent politically when I have the harshest words for the Conservatives and Republicans, but hardly ever, if ever (at the time) share things which condemn or challenge the Left. It's a good observation, and mostly a true one. But the truth is, I'm harder on the ones I identify more with. While I don't identify with them politically necessarily, many of this group claim that their stances are in the name of faith. Christians are members of my community. I'm appalled at some of the things that are done and said in the name of Christ. The Left doesn't really do this.
And I wrestle. I want to love the Church. The whole church. All of my brothers and sisters. Even the ones who've rejected me. I don't want to judge them. But I still feel this visceral response which moves me to calling out un-Christlike behavior, and to challenge, moving towards, at least, a more-- moderate-- approach.
I don't always know how to think someone is wrong without judging them. And I certainly don't always know how to speak or write in a way that is challenging, but still loving. But I'm working on it. I'm working on remembering that this is my family. I'm working on patience and grace. I'm working towards balance in my own thoughts-- that some of us are called to local ministry and some are called to foreign, that some may run with WorldVision to bring water to Africa and some may petition the government to do more for Flint, Michigan, that some of us may work in the church soup kitchen and others may get jobs in social services processing food stamps applications and we're all feeding people in the name of Jesus because it's what He did and it's what He told us to do and He didn't tell us how or that there was a wrong way to do it.