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I Grew Up in the Church but Never Learned to Hate It

Jonathan Malm - March 16, 2017

I grew up as a pastor’s kid. Recognizing all the horror stories of pastor’s kids who went off the rails, I should technically hate the church right now. But I don’t.

It’s not for lack of opportunity. I had so many chances to respond with hatred to things that happened to me. I was stabbed in the back by pastors I trusted. I had people who had “dreams” about me – really just their way to question my motives and pretend God was showing them I was a scoundrel. I even had groups of people gang up against me.

I’ve been burned, but I’ve never hated the church. Here’s why.

1. God did not ordain the hurts I experienced.

I’ve accidentally poked myself in the eye. I’ve stubbed my toe. I’ve bitten my lip. It wasn’t like I ordained those pains that happened. So why would I get mad at my collective body for hurting itself.

If we are the body of Christ, we’re going to hurt each other. That’s just what imperfect bodies do. We don’t reject Christ just because His body – the thing we are part of – hurt us.

2. The Church is supposed to be imperfect. It always has been.

Frankly, the beauty of the Church is the fact that it’s imperfect. The fact Jesus could choose a bride like us – messed up, messy, with horrible motives – that’s amazing. That’s grace. Unmerited favor. It’s been this way from the beginning. There were rifts, hypocrisy, and even back-stabbing.

It’s that way because we all need grace. That’s the whole point of what Jesus did for us.

3. Where else would I go?

Finally, where else would I go? Jesus is the only one who holds the words that give eternal life. And if those words are carried by His imperfect Church, I’ll gladly stay rooted. I’d rather get bumps, scrapes, and bruises and inherit eternal life than to stay isolated and lose eternity.

I don’t know your story. There’s a good chance you’ve experienced some messed up stuff in the Church. It’s bound to happen. But don’t reject Christ just because His bride hurt you. You can’t have one without the other. You get Christ, you get His bride. It’s worth making peace with that.