My Epistle (From Bitterness to Forgiveness)

12 Oct

*Please note, this is not written to one particular church or group, this is my experience as a whole.

Dear Church,

I feel like I need to write this letter to you or I will explode. I need to express a few of my honest feelings and opinions in hope to make amends. First of all: I am tired of being mad at you. I am worn out from holding a grunge, exhausted from spending my energy spotting hypocrisy. I know you have let me down a lot. I recognize I have seen people’s lives destroyed by the stupid decisions you have made.

I know the deep seeded hurt that sometimes never leaves people. I know people have walked away from God because of you.

I’ve spent a lot of time asking why. Why would something meant to bring life, bring death? Why would something focus on all the wrong things and none of the right ones? Why are you so oppisite from the way you were in the very beginning, from the way Jesus talked about making you?

I could narrow it down to the American version of you. I’ve seen the selfishness, the pride and greed. I’ve seen the manipulation and the abuse. I don’t like the way you set people up to fail by giving them rules no one can follow.

Where is this abundant life Jesus promised?

The problem with pointing your finger is, actually, that you focus on what you are pointing on. Yes, you have flaws. But to finish the cliche that you thought I was going to originally state, those three fingers point right back to my imperfections.

I pretend. I focus on the wrong things. I hurt people.

And so, I am making a decision right now. A decision to see the beauty and redemption, not ignoring that bad, but not allowing it to fester.

I may have seen you cause a young person to turn away because of the way they ridiculed the way they dressed, but i have also seen you give clothes to those who just have the tattered set on their back.
I may have seen sex scandal happening within your walls tear apart communities, but I have also seen the way you celebrate when a newborn baby turns a newly wed couple into a family.
I may have seen you enforce strict rules that have led people to a life of endless striving and bondage, but I have also seen you offer grace, and people are set free.
I’ve been disgusted by your bathroom chandeliers and refusal to give to the poor, but I’ve been amazed by your thankful voices rising out of the slums in India.
I never understood the way you told young people what to do without letting them think for themselves, but seen a the joy of a light bulb going off when a high school student gets their own revelation.

I have seen you wrap your arms around forgotten Chinese babies, lepers left in slums, homeless freezing in alleys.

I have seen you give up a comfortable life to see the kingdom of heaven come to earth.

I’ve seen you open your doors to prostitutes, drug addicts and murders, turning them to humble grandmas full of wisdom.

I’ve been moved deeply to tears as love fills a room, the scent of grace covering the most filthy atmosphere.

I cannot forget these moments. I will not.

I think a part of this forgiveness is dropping the “you” and changing it to “we,” because whether I like it or not, we are in this together. For life.

There may be a gap between where we are and where we need to be, but I believe we can spark something creative and wonderful in this tension.

I believe as we join together, I can chose to see the good and use the bad as a launching pad into something incredible.

So, church, I forgive you. I hope you can forgive me for holding so much against you.
I hope we can start over. I hope we can chose to see the good,  as we breathe, bleed, mess up and try to love, completely relaying on Jesus,  until this world is over, and we are finally married to the one our heart’s long for.

Sincerely, Brooke

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