There is a certain stigma that plagues the church that has been conveyed by the emerging generation. Many would say that this stigma is well-earned and deserved.
Many in my generation have used a plethora of familiar words to describe the church: judgmental, hypocritical, homophobic, racist, hateful, and critical among many other words. Many in my generation have been shunned and ostracized for not having a strong enough faith and being full of sin to the point in which they have turned their back on the church altogether.
I was in that same boat.
I was always a believer in Christ, but not always a follower. I was spiritual, but not religious. I believed but had no one to believe with because I was angry at how my home church had treated people outside of their close-mindedness. I held onto that grudge until it became a crutch to me and my relationship with God. I still remained a believer, but my mind was broken from being told I was not good enough, and I was a sinner.
However, I grew older and went through many spiritual crisis’s, that lead me to try again with myself and God and experiment with different denominations which were most of the time hit or miss. It was not until I went to college that I found United Methodism. I am not saying that it is the answer for everyone, I just learned the doctrine and it spoke to me more than anything else has before.
I tell this story to let everyone know that turning your back on the church is not the answer, and that it is OKAY to be a sinner. A church is out there waiting for you with open arms eager to transform your life. I wore the guilt that I allowed my home church to put on me as I know so many others do, and it took a lot of courage for me to let go and try again.
It payed off however and I know in my heart that it can for you, whoever you may be, as you are caught between the pain of being guilted by your neighbors and the love of God. To all of you feeling that way, I am sorry the church has failed you.
I am sorry that you are feeling this way, but please seek out redemption from guilt.
Be found again.
If nothing else, know this: you are loved, not only by God but by me and the many others who have embraced me as the sinner I am at my own church.
Know that the church is for everyone, not just the saints, it is specifically for the sinners just like Jesus had surrounded himself with so many years ago. It is for sinners just like you and me.
Do not think you are not good enough; do not sell yourself short.
There is plenty of room in God’s kingdom, you just have to let yourself be found again.