This is an open letter of apology to those who have been hurt by the church. It’s a letter for the casualties of the failings of the church. For those who have been driven away from Christ because of the church, or discouraged because of the actions of the church.
Who is the church?
The church is made up of the individuals called by Christ to act as one body. But the truth is sometimes we don’t. And the way we act can hurt each other. It could be the aunty who has been a member of the branch for years, pastors and leaders, or even just an individual who calls themself a Christian. We all make up the body of Christ and so the failing of one member affects the entire body.
For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.1 Corinthians 12:12
What has the church done?
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.Matthew 23:13
- Hypocrisy: I’ve heard stories and also experienced the hypocrisy of some people within the church. They gossip, steal, lie and commit sins of the heart and judge others for their outward appearance or for living in a way that they don’t approve of. You may have even done something that is deemed a sin in the Bible, but instead of being corrected in love, people have scorned you, looked at you with derision and made you feel unwelcome.
- Created division: Instead of working together as one to build the Kingdom and share the gospel, we’ve torn people down because they’re not like us. Which in turn has made people feel like they don’t belong. We’ve made people feel like they don’t have a home in Christ because they aren’t like us. We’ve made them feel less than and unworthy, forgetting that God’s love isn’t earned but freely given.
- Actively hurt people: There have been leaders and members who have physically hurt people. They’ve hurt the vulnerable, hurt new members, old members and even those who loyally support them. They’ve done despicable things that have caused a lot of damage to people and the church physically, mentally and spiritually.
- We’ve deceived people: There are people within the church who have stolen from the members. There are even ‘pastors’ who have deceived people and used their position to manipulate people into doing illegal and immoral things. Some people have lost their homes and peace because of the church as a result of manipulation.
From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.
I’m truly sorry for the times we as a body of God have hurt, manipulated, deceived, and judged you. There’s nothing that I or anyone can do to take the hurt away or turn back the hands of time. However, with all sincerity of heart, I apologise. The actions of certain members of the church are not true reflections of Christ and what Christ demands of us.
The God that we serve is love and demands that we love as He has loved us. In our failings, we have represented God badly and have tarnished the image of the God that we represent. In all of this please remember that we the church are responsible for our actions, but God, who is Love, carries no responsibility for our actions.
God gave us the gift of choice, and history and current practices have shown that we sometimes don’t make the best choices and sometimes we make the worst choices. In hurting you we’ve also hurt God.
My prayer is that you see the truth that is Christ. My prayer is that God is revealed to you in Spirit and in truth so that the actions of the church don’t cloud the beauty that is God. There is so much beauty in knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him.