Leaving the faith
My husband sent me an article that was a mixture of both horror and comfort. The article found here is a collection of stories of people who have walked away from their “faith” due to horrific things said and done within the church or by people who claim themselves as Christ followers. It is obvious upon reading their encounters why someone would choose to walk away from the formality of religion. As someone who boldly wears the title “Christian,” it makes my heart ache hearing of these encounters, but I know this is a reality for more that this polled few.
My husband had a comforting revelation as we discussed the article when he mentioned that in none of these situations was the individual turning from their faith due to the character of God. It was always the fall of man, a person not acting out in the character of Jesus, someone abusing their power of leadership or intentionally harming. It is not often that people walk away from God based on God – most people walk away from God based on man.
Fast forward to church on Sunday where we are walking through the pillars of Advent and our pastor, Brian, walked out the definition of faith. So often we quickly identify faith as simple belief, but as he pointed out, biblical faith is so much more. Biblical faith requires belief, but does not require understanding. I can be wholly confused about what God is doing in my life and still have faith. The second step is then choosing to act in obedience, even when the understanding is absent. The depth of that definition changes the way I view my own faith. I want my own life to be marked by faithfulness, not only in the times that make sense, but in the dark times when confusion surrounds.
I wish I could have conversations with each of the people in that article. If I could, this is what I would tell them.
I am so incredibly sorry that someone who claims the title“Christian” would intentionally cause you harm. I can promise you that the character of Jesus we are to model would not allow you to feel cast out, downtrodden, ostracized, ridiculed, slandered or abandoned. The character of Christ would put His arm around you at your darkest and say, ‘My heart hurts because you hurt. You may not understand, but if you walk this out with Me, I promise I will never leave you. There is nothing that will ever separate you from My love. Have faith, not just belief, but obedient faith that I love you and choose to trust Me.’
Sometimes I forget that not only would Jesus say that in the literal sense to someone that is hurting, but my role as His follower is to do that same thing for someone who is hurting – like literally.