Wednesday, January 19, 2011

3 Do's & Don'ts for healing from painful Christianity

There are a lot of people -- and a lot of different kinds of people -- who've been hurt by "the Church" and people in "the Church". 

Many are Gay, but some are straight (divorced, had an abortion, non-comforming somehow, or just in some way "not acceptable" to "the Church"). Race doesn't matter. Socioeconomic status doesn't matter. Where you grew up doesn't matter. Nothing matters.

If the devil decided to stab you in the rump of your religion, that's a wound that can fester your whole life, if you don't heal it. 

And I mean really heal it -- not just "cover-it-up-I'm-fine" heal it.

Getting that real healing is a real journey. And there are many detours and false trails that can make us think we're getting there or even already done -- when, in fact, we're not. I certainly made my own zig-zag journey toward healing, and I've watched and helped a large number of others make theirs over the last many years..

Based on our combined experience, I offer you three Do's and Don'ts, to hopefully make your healing journey that much faster, that much easier, that much healthier:

1) Don't count on those in "the Church" to heal the hurt they are responsible for causing. Do look for those who have healed beyond "the Church" to give you guidance and support along the way.

This is a biggie, because it's a sure thing that the reason a big splat of false Christianity hit your life was because someone else was being a Church-Christian, and not a Jesus-Christian. Church-Christians can be among the nice people of the world, and some are very caring and want to help. But going to them is like asking people in a bar for help paying your hospital bills after you've been hit by a drunk driver. Church-Christians will usually admit that things are far from perfect in their church (or in Christianity in general) -- but they say and mean it as an excuse, not as an intro to getting any problem in it fixed. You'll know that's true when they say you're important, and yes your wounds shouldn't have happened -- but they won't actually take a real stand to protect you or fix the evil that caused hurt in the church.

See, the Bible never says, "Just go along to get along", or "Don't make a (real) fuss when people in the church are acting like asses or making people think 'poo' on God" (in fact, it says the opposite). But that falseness is what Church-Christians are all about. They may feel bad for you, but they will continue to side with, participate in, and go along with their "church" over you and your pain every time -- because to do something Jesus-like, like fixing or no longer participating in the problem, would actually cost them something, like their unrepentent church family (and they also don't like that part where Jesus says you have to give up even your family, if that's what's required to do as He says -- you know, like for "the least of these").

It's even worse trying to get real healing help from a pastor, priest, pope (or prophet, or church teacher, or elder, and so on). Think regular 'ole Church-Christians are hooked into their "church"? Well, those who make their living being Special Representatives doing human-inspired religious tasks God's work for their "church"/denomination, who enjoy respect and honors Jesus always rejected (and said we all were to, too), who have retirement plans and mortgages and career ladders to climb? You really think they're going to do something to risk all that? Hardly (but they'll love you while they tell you there's no need to risk it). 

What they do have to offer you, though, is a course in how to get sucked back in to "the Church". They can't offer you plain 'ole Jesus (because they gave Him up as "too primitive", "too hard", or "too supernatural" years ago). But they can offer you what they have: a path to mashing their decision about who Jesus should have been with their "church" needs ("Here's where you put your contribution to my 401k tithe, each week..") They can even make you feel all warm and fuzzy, all "belongy" and everything. And that can feel great! But it's still short the rest of Jesus that doesn't fit in their church-box. It won't get you really healed (and it will instead make it just likely you'll become a Church-Christian causing or ignoring other people hurt, yourself).

So, who can help you get truly healed? Those who've been hurt themselves, and who've managed through the grace of God to get (as you can) healed so deep into Jesus' arms that they have no room in their hearts for silly things like playing "church" (even if they are the 1 in a million still occasionally hanging out in church), any longer.
  • These are the people who aren't going to stand above you, pretending to be better or more "spiritual" than you because they took college courses and were pronounced "Won't make serious waves in the organizational pool" by their denomination.
  • These are the people who've been wounded themselves, and some of them have even sucked mud in the gutter before they managed to get back on their spiritual feet again. 
  • These are the people who can sit down with you in the real world, and hear and understand your real pain, and even tell you more about the real Jesus -- the Jesus who stays with you and on your side long after the pastor/priest/pope, missionaries, and church workers have all gone home.
These are the people who can describe at least part of the way home to Jesus to you, because they've walked it themselves -- dodging Church-Christians and other manifestations of false Christianity the whole way. These are the people to seek out, examine, and learn from. Will they have all the answers? Of course not -- but you know better by now than to believe anyone/thing but Jesus has all the answers, right?

2) Don't let mistranslations and reinterpretations of the Bible tell you what God thinks. Do read and study to learn what God really put there for you to know and live by. 

There are a lot of different translations of the Bible out now (NIV, Message, NASB, and so on). Every single one of them contains errors -- and even outright lies and remakes of what's really there. It's only been in the last several decades that the truth has come out about God's Bible not-not-not saying He condemns Gay people. But there are also mistranslations and misinterpretations about what God wants Christians to know and live regarding violence, hierarchy, women, the poor, how "church" is to be run, the real qualifications for "church leaders", and so on. There are even rewrites about the nature of God Himself! 

Not even "experts" can be counted on to give us the real truth and nothing but the truth -- because they have their own biases and issues they want to cover up or emphasize in ways God never intended. In fact, "experts" are the ones who've mistranslated and misinterpreted the Bible for us in the first place!

What's to be done, then, if we can't just blindly accept the words some other sinful human being put on a piece of paper and stuck in a book, promising us that it matches exactly what God intended for us to know? Do we have to be geniuses or Bible scholars ourselves? No. But we do have to know the basics, and we have to do our homework.

Just like the first disciples (most of whom couldn't even read and write), we have to learn the basics of Jesus and His teachings, and work our way out from there, listening to and reading what others have to say about various scriptures -- but then, when we have a question or something seems to not "fit" somehow, we need to pray and study along with the Holy Spirit. God understands sincere ignorance -- but He has no tolerance for lazy follow-alongs who just do the minimum and follow leadership or sit in church without question as if that will get them to heaven (remember? that's exactly what the people who ignored Jesus or helped torture and kill Him did).

3) Don't let anyone get (or stay) between you and Jesus

There are two things Jesus says people need to do in this world:
  1. Do what He says to do, and
  2. Hang on to Him (or come back to hanging on to Him!), no matter what happens. 
Jesus fully understands that those who falsely claim to be God's people are a powerful majority -- for now. He truly "gets" that false Christians are wreaking havoc in people's lives, causing all sorts of pain, and doing it all in God's Name. Think He doesn't? Well, check this out, and hear it like the Gay, poor, female, or other despised-minority child of God Jesus said it to:
[Jesus said:] "I see what you've done. Now see what I've done. I've opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don't have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn't deny me when times were rough. And watch as I take those who call themselves true believers but are nothing of the kind, pretenders whose true membership is in the club of Satan—watch as I strip off their pretensions and they're forced to acknowledge it's you that I've loved. Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I'll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test.I'm on my way; I'll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown." [Revelation 3:8-11]

Make it your mission in life to learn more and more each day about the real Jesus. Spend time with Him in prayer -- sometimes talking, sometimes listening, sometimes just sitting with Him. Laugh with Him. Read with Him. Keep Him alongside you when you go to dinner. Learn from your heart of hearts how much Jesus IS on your side, and how much He did to give you an eternity where there will never again be a tear or a pain, and where you can live right next to God, forever.

Take back your crown from those who practice crappy Christianity. Accept healing. Accept Jesus' love.

And stop sacrificing your salvation on the alter of other people's sin & bigotry.
    This article written by Lynne at No Junk. Just Jesus. You can contact Lynne at