"The person who is greatest among you will be your servant. Whoever honors himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be honored." (Matthew 23:11-12, GW)
Monday, March 6, 2017
To The Parent Ignored By Your Church Yesterday
"How horrible it will be for you, experts in Moses’ Teachings and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t enter it yourselves, and you don’t permit others to enter when they try.[a]
"How horrible it will be for you, experts in Moses’ Teachings and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You cross land and sea to recruit a single follower, and when you do, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are."
~ Matthew 23:11-15, GW ~
To the Parent Ignored by Your Church Yesterday...
I'm sorry for the aching in your bones to be welcomed into the Body of Christ only to be marginalized like you are in the world. I'm sorry that you long to feel God's presence but find yourself further pushed away by church staff and attendees. I'm sorry for the harsh stares and disgust when your child doesn't behave like the average kid during a service. I'm sorry for everyone in that building who conveys that they just want you to go away without ever saying a word.
I'm sorry that you were coming to the house of the Lord to be spiritually nourished only to be called out of service once again to tend to your own child. I'm sorry that the church advertises themselves as inclusive when they're really not. I'm sorry that the Sunday school is happy to have the little ones collect for missions, but sees no need to make room for your child. I'm sorry that there are as many kids mocking your child in the youth service as there are at school.
I'm sorry that the only contact you may have had with church staff was to have false teaching and condemnation thrown at you. I'm sorry if someone told you that if you just had more faith your child would be healed. I'm sorry that the same garbage about lack of discipline that your atheist neighbor throws at you comes out of the mouths of church staff too.
I'm sorry that no one even cared enough to simply ask how your child is doing. I'm sorry that you had a hospitalization or medical situation this week without anyone from the church even reaching out to you. I'm sorry that no one there is kind enough to express to you the amazing fingerprints of God they see on your child, what they like most about your son or daughter, or why they're so glad that you came.
I'm sorry that the modern Church has just become like a religious country club, full of cliques like the world. I'm sorry that the beautiful, popular, and wealthy still reign supreme here. I'm sorry that the Truth is proclaimed by word in this place, but not by deed. I'm sorry that churches will ship members on missions trips around the world or decry the plight of the refugee, but not even take care for you right there in their midst.
Please know that I understand. I wish I didn't have those same experiences, but I have and still do.
I have fought in excess of 14 years on your behalf. I still feel like a lone voice in the desert most days. I'm not beautiful, or rich, or holding any sort of degree, or important, or influential, so people find me easy to blow off. People tolerate me at best. I so often feel like giving up. But then there's you...
I see your hurting heart. I know it so well. I understand like no one else that you probably need the hope of Jesus more than 99% of the people who walk through the door of that church. I know how dear you are to the heart of Christ, even if His people fail to treat you that way.
You are a treasure, created in the image of God. You and your child have infinite worth. No matter what the world says, you are loved beyond all measure. Even if churchgoers and church staff have shut you out, Jesus welcomes you in.
Don't give up! I know it's hard not to become bitter. I fight it every day of my life. I want to quit too. Let's do this together instead. Let's pray for every modern day Pharisee and church leader who shuts us out. We know how the story ends for them if they don't get it together and it's not good.
Keep seeking after Jesus, because he promises that you will find Him if you pursue Him with all of your heart. And even in the midst of all of the hurts of church, His glorious, awesome loving kindness are worth the effort.
PRAY: Awaken Your Church, Lord! Protect our hurting hearts from the countless added wounds of Christian leaders and church attendees. Soften their hearts towards us and help us to treat them with loving grace and mercy because that is what You extend to each one of us.
[a] Matthew 23:13 Some manuscripts and translations add verse 14: “How horrible it will be for you, experts in Moses’ Teachings and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make yourselves look good. You will receive a most severe punishment.” (See Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.)