10 Excuses Christians Give for Treating Others Badly

christian jerksChristians are notorious for bad behavior. In some recent surveys (reported in books like unChristian and They Like Jesus but Not the Church), it appears that most people in our culture believe that Christians are about as trustworthy as car salesmen and lawyers.

And I will admit, I myself can behave pretty badly at times, and many of the Christians I know behave in far worse ways than many of the unbelievers I know. I am always amazed at the grace, love, support, and forgiveness that is found among the “unchurched” which is rarely found among those who go to church.

There are numerous contributing factors to this.

Reasons Christians Behave Badly

Some of it is our theology. Many Christians develop a sense of entitlement because we are the “chosen ones” the “elite” the members of the family of God. We feel this gives us the right to look down upon others who are not one of us.

Sometimes, our behavior is a result of our understanding of God’s grace and forgiveness. We feel that because God forgives us for all our sins, we can treat others in terrible ways, and God will still forgive us. While it is true that God will forgive us for such behavior, His grace is never a license to treat others so shamefully.

Then there is the critical, judgmental, legalistic attitude so often taught and practiced in churches. Since we feel we have a corner on the truth and that we are the ones who are always right, this makes us believe that it is our responsibility to be the world’s policemen, going around pointing out where people are wrong and how they are sinning. This is rarely received well by anyone, especially when we have glaringly obvious sins in our own life.

Finally, there is the fact that Christians love to pick and choose which sins are the worst – things like homosexuality and murder – while ignoring sins that are prevalent within our own congregations (which might actually be much worse) – sins like gluttony, greed, and pride. The watching world sees our blatant hypocrisy and criticizes us in return for our unjustified criticism of them.

But over the years, as I have personally engaged in hypocritical and sinful behavior, and as I have watched other Christians do the same, I have found that there are several excuses we give for our poor treatment of other people, and for sin in our own lives. When we treat others badly, we give excuses for why our treatment of them is justified.

Here are the top ten reasons I could think of:

1. We Christians are sinners too.

condemnationThere are other versions of this excuse, such as “Hey! Nobody’s perfect!” or “I’m not perfect; just forgiven.”

The idea behind this excuse is that the watching world has put unrealistic expectations on us as Christians. We complain that they seem to think we should live perfect lives, which is impossible. So when we sin, and our sin is pointed out to us, we excuse our actions by reminding others that we are sinners too.

Theologically, this is correct.

But such a statement should never be used to excuse our sin. When our sin is pointed out to us, either by a Christian or a non-Christian, the proper response is not “Hey, I’m a sinner too, so get off my back about my behavior” but rather should be, “You know what? You are correct. I messed up. I am sorry. Thanks for pointing that out. With God’s help, I will do better next time.”

2. It’s nothing personal; it’s just business.

Sometimes people say, “This has nothing to do with my Christianity.”

Christians who say these things reveal a deep misunderstanding of what following Jesus is all about. For a follower of Jesus, there is no such thing as “it’s just business.” Truly following Jesus requires that we make changes in all aspects of life, not just in our behavior and dresscode on Sunday morning. If we are treating others shamefully at work and through our business practices, we are not properly representing Jesus in our lives. We must not divorce our spiritual life from our personal life or from our work life.

3: Judge not, lest you be judged.

People don’t like their sin pointed out to them. I know I don’t. And it is easy to get defensive and tell people to mind their own business. But if we are failing to be salt and light in the world, then we are supposed to be held to higher standards, and sometimes this means people will point out to us our failures.

When this happens, it is easy to get upset, lash out, and tell people that they have their own sin to take care of (which is likely true). But such arguments about who is the worst sinner rarely lead to anything good.

4. It isn’t illegal.

I know a Christian lawyer from New York who steals money from others legally. I challenged him on it once, and he said that he is not doing anything illegal, which was technically true. He had the law of the United States on his side, and he had figured out a way to legally swindle people. Nothing he was doing was breaking any of our nations’s laws.

But there is a big difference between not breaking the laws of our nation, and treating people with love, respect, and dignity. God’s laws are higher than man’s laws, and even though a person may be following man’s laws perfectly, this does not mean they are following God’s laws. So be careful when you justify your actions because you are not breaking any laws.

5. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. I’m just treating them the way they treated me.

It is funny how we often feel that retaliation is within our rights as Christians, and we quote Scripture to prove it. Quoting Scripture in this way is similar to how the devil quoted Scripture to Jesus in the wilderness: the Scripture is ripped out of context and completely misapplied.

If we are truly following Jesus, we will forgive our enemies, and love, bless, and pray for those who mistreat us.

6. They’re not Christians.

Some people have the misguided belief that we are only to treat those within the family of God with honesty and respect. Those outside the family of God can be slandered, abused, and swindled. Sometimes Christians will say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” In other words, the world operates on a different set of ethics than Christians do, and so when we deal with Christians, we must use their set of ethics.

All I can say to this is…. “Where is that in Scripture again?”
Mean-Christian

7. I have righteous anger. In your anger do not sin.

Be careful if you ever find yourself quoting this verse. When this verse is being quoted, very rarely is the anger in question actually “righteous anger.” Usually, it is self-righteous anger, and we are sinfully lashing out at someone who slighted us, and then justifying our anger by calling it “righteous anger.”

8. Don’t throw pearls before swine.

I actually know some Christians who say this. They say that all non-Christians are swine, and should be treated as such. We are only to treat Christians nicely.

9. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

No. It doesn’t. Enough said.

10. Hey, I’m not in church!

As with some of the other excuses above, this excuse reveals a deep-seated misunderstanding of what the church is and how followers of Jesus are supposed to live and function. Church is not a place you go to for a couple hours on Sunday morning. It is not an event at which you temporarily change your clothing and behavior.

Church goes with you wherever you go, and so no matter what you are saying or doing, you are representing Jesus and His church.

Bonus: We must please God rather than men.

I love this one, especially when Christians quote it as a way to justify being mean and rude to other people. Somehow the twisted logic is that we can please God by pissing off other people. Or something like that. But I have a feeling that if we are trying to please God and in the process are making friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors hate us, we probably are not pleasing God either.

Any others?

Are there others that you know of which didn’t make it on this list? Include them in the comments below.

And remember: of course Christians still sin. But when our sin is pointed out to us, the proper response is not to make excuses, but to say, “You are right. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”




Comments

  1. Thetruth says

    I grew up in a home with no religion. I was saved in my 20′s. I went through many trials of my faith, including my child becoming very ill and disabled. None of these things, while incredibly hard, shook my faith. At the absolutely hardest points of my life, I have been mistreated very badly by Christian people. I was taken advantage of in business dealings, where I operated with the highest of workmanship and moral code, to the point that my savings were wiped out and I almost became homeless. At this point I was the equivalent of a poor widow with an ill orphaned child.These people knew exactly what they were doing, but the people they went to church with wouldn’t know. I believe the most important aspect of our life on earth is our relations with others, and our fairness, mercy, kindness, and compassion towards them. I find very few “Christians” who live by any kind of moral code when they are alone. They may go on a “mission” trip where their fellow churchgoers can see them, but put them in dealings with hardworking, honest people and they behave worse than the people one would expect to swindle or harm them. Cheating, lying, deceit, injustice. They truly act like ravenous wolves feeding upon the blood of the weaker, or the not so well connected. I gave up on my faith, not because of the Lord, but because I could not see how those who espoused Christ reflected anything but malevolence. Over and over and over. I still just cannot see how these people reflect anything loving or good. I decided that if this was the family of Christ, I would be much better off without it. And I have been. I do not need promise of reward or punishment to treat human beings with love, kindness, or compassion. Christians have done a grave disservice to the God they profess to follow. They have thrown me dead in the ditch, and then refused me aid. Do I forgive this? Yes, but for my own survival in this world, I will not forget. Being crucified with Christ is noble, but even He did not spend his life upon the cross. I have been greatly hurt, but I am entering a nursing career where I may be of service to the ill and dying, because I love my fellow man. Not those who can do things for me, but those who can’t. Lose money, fall ill, be in a time of misfortune, and they can smell your blood. I prefer lawyers, at least you know what you have there. I don’t know if I believe that intentional acts are sure to be forgiven just because someone is a Christian. Many Christians would do well to stop believing this, they might inflict less harm.

    • Sam says

      Some, but not all, of the meanest, most unkind people we know attend church and call themselves Christians. That’s why some of us who really do follow Jesus often hesitate to use the term to describe ourselves.

      I know a man who worked for a “Christian Business Directory” company a few years ago. He sold advertising. Many of the ads featured Christian logos and symbols. I asked him if the directory was featured businesses that were run by Christians, or businesses that wanted Christian customers.

      He told me that often neither the businesses nor customers were Christians. The businesses advertised and pretended to be Christian because they assumed people would think the business was honest and would do good work. Often, the customers pretended to be Christians so the “Christian” businesses would give them a discount. He had many stories to back up what he said.

      Even though churches and the world are filled with pretend Christians, that does not negate the reality of Jesus, God in flesh. We do not look at churches or Christians, but at Jesus. Maybe other people don’t act like Jesus, but we can. You too can follow him and let the ill and dying you will be serving see Jesus in your love, kindness and service to them. May he bless you.

    • Paul says

      Great comment Sam. I too have grown so disgusted with people who claim to be Christian, but act the same (mostly worse) than folks who have no stated faith at all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people call me names on blogs and then see them posting scripture and telling people about their faith. It literally has made me ill at times and we have stopped looking for a new church because of it. Keep loving God and believing in the sacrifice of Christ. Don’t worry about humans as they will almost always let you down.

  2. Ferry Wissink says

    “Also, I think that many of Jesus’ statements and teachings were quite “political.” ”

    And I think that most of Obama’s statements are/have been non-political as well.

    What’s relevant are the political statements, and there are quite some political statements in the bible.

  3. Ellen says

    Unfortunately, every reason mentioned above is true. That is why I don’t blame people who do not go to church. I used to go a protestant church,and every member in that church, including my best friend from school (who invited to me join this church) was bad in how they treated people. As far as my friend is concerned, we really aren’t that good of friends anymore. Over time it became obvious that she did not have time for me outside the church just because she “conned” me into joining her church. We all have some of the faults mentioned above. I, myself am guilty, particularly 3 and 5.

    Another one that I have heard Christians say in the Lutheran Church pretty often is “what I do, it does not matter if it is wrong, Jesus died for my sins, so I am forgiven.” I believe that if that were actually true, we would not have a reason to go to church; unless the church part is just an approval for the bad behavior.

    When Christians behave the way they do in church, it makes me wonder how they act when they are in the real world, i.e, their friends outside the church, job, family, everyday life. I am sure that if anyone were charged with a crime, or is on trial, I am sure that if any of those lines were used in the presence of a police officer, judge, jury, etc., that person would be ticking off that person and hurting his own case. So, when people are in church, they should think about their conduct in how it impresses upon others, and start caring about what others think. You never know when you will come across a member of your church in the real world and how you will be received in that person’s life.

    • says

      Thanks, Ellen. Was in Ghandi who said, “Jesus I love; it’s Christians I cannot stand”? I think it was.

      I think that many of us who claim to follow Jesus are not the best representatives of His name. There are numerous reasons for this, I suppose.

      This is maybe just one more reason why it is important to not “invite people to church” but to introduce people to Jesus, our friend.

  4. anonymos says

    I am done with church attendance. I am a Christian. I love Jesus for my salvation and hopefully my son’s salvation. I attempted church attendance again about 2 years ago. It was a disaster. The smiling churchians were so condemning and full of it. The men’s group was ridiculous. The very young man who was the “leader” would say that once somebody came a Christian then if he sinned he can go to hell. Another man in the group said the same thing. Once somebody disagrees, or is not as likeable as others, the group think occurs and the person gets ostracized. Jesus did not intend his church to behave like this. I will not attend a church and wear a phony smile and treat others in that manner. I quit church, but of course never quit Jesus Christ. I can say much more about my experience but I won’t here.

    • says

      There are millions of people who feel exactly the same way. Be ready for the church people to continue to condemn and criticize you, saying that you can’t truly follow Jesus unless you sit in a pew on Sunday morning.

      I say “Follow Jesus, and He will never lead you astray.”

  5. RMM says

    I’ve heard this (from a family member in reference to my family) to justify their actions/words: “Well, I’d rather offend someone into heaven than flatter them into hell”… really?

    I am a follower of Jesus, but I have refused to call myself a Christian because I am ashamed of what has become of that label…

    • says

      It’s okay to not call yourself a “Christian.” I wrote a post somewhere on this blog called “Would Jesus be a Christian?” The term carries so much baggage that few of us want to be associated with, even though we truly want to follow Jesus and love others like Him.

  6. hjw says

    Wow, I can’t believe what I just read. I could’ve written it myself. I’m struggling with all this “I’m a christian” stuff but turn around and treat others so ugly. I work for a woman like this and she is downright hateful. She gives thousands of dollars to her church weekly, puts a smile on her face, then turns around and treats her help like they are her slave and proceeds to talk about and put others down. She is OCD and obviously narcissistic personality disorder. She can’t see herself ever doing anything wrong or if she dies, she laughs at herself and truly finds it funny. She is the most toxic person I’ve ever known, along with her kids ho have little to do with her.

    The only people who come around are those who make lots of money from her; Prostituting themselves. They participate in her games and laugh along with her while talking about others. I had enough of it today when she was telling her landscaper that he won’t go to heaven if he doesn’t believe. I chimed in and asked, if you believe but treat others badly, will you still go to heaven? Not quite realizing, yt, I was referring to her, she tried to chalk it up to a person just having lost their way. I said, there must be a whole bunch of them cuz I’ve met many! This woman and her family are wealthy, greedy, judgemental and never ever offer to help others with anything! I just don’t get it and am feeling so bitter! They truly contribute to giving Christians a very bad name!

    • Justin Wiles says

      I understand your frustration. It’s that kind of attitude towards others that has me completely disillusioned with the state of modern Christianity. Unfortunately I feel that this is the lasting image that my generation and future generations are going to have when the poster boys of the Christian name are those who flaunt it for gain in the political arena. What thinking and feeling person would want to share the name of those who seem to fight tooth and nail for the sanctity of life by protecting the unborn but refuse to help better our education system or quality of life for those not as well off. Those who welcome with open arms people who commit greed, lust, thievery, etc. but cross their fingers and hide when approached by a homosexual. These things have caused many of my good friends to reject Christianity.

      But what I feel we need to remember, in order to not become a bad name to Christianity ourselves, is that our job is not only to enter the lives of sinners and to show them the love of Christ but to lovingly edify those we feel are hurting Christ’s cause. Often times I am guilty of pointing my finger and showing judgmental anger at them as I feel they would to me. That only divides us further. Remember that a miserly Christian who hurts others is just as loved and desired by Christ as the most loving Christian in the world who struggles with a sinful addiction. If we can all realize that while we hold different opinions on everything under the sun we can be an overwhelming positive force for Christ’s love that would be impossible for the world to ignore.

    • says

      HJW,
      I am so sorry she is behaving this way, but as you point it, it happens far too often to be coincidence. I think it has something to do with “chosen people” theology that many Christians get taught in church. We Christians sometimes think that we are better than others because God has “chosen” us. It’s BS of course…

      Anyway, please know that Jesus is nothing like this woman, and nothing like most people who bear His name. I hope that although Christians are not like Christ, you know that He loves you, accepts you, and is with you, no matter what.

  7. Catherine Todd says

    Well, I’ll be… I have just read exactly what my own sister, married to a Methodist pastor, have done to me for the last thirty years! I could never understand it. How they could “preach the gospel” and “teach the children” and go on mission trips and help all the poor people but treat me like dirt. They have slandered me and berated me for all these years all because I wrote to my mother and father about what was done to me many years ago growing up as a child, and I wrote that I would take steps to protect any innocent victims if the same thing happened to them.

    For this, D. & G., of the Methodist church persuasion, have attacked me and vilified me and ostracized me for more than 25 years. How can this be? Because I “told the truth.” But I am still to blame. I can never again trust anyone who says they are “Christian” because of the horrendous treatment I have received at the hands of my own youngest sister and her husband, who I met all of two times in all these years for about an hour each time.

    They were forced to apologize when I notified their director that I intended to sue, due to the ongoing slander they were perpetrating against me, but their one sentence “apology” was so empty as to be more salt in the wound. Then they set other relatives against me, all because I wrote a letter to our parents – not to them, not to anyone else – that I would take action in the present day if any harm came to any innocents again.

    How can these so-called “Christians” be willing to approve of and allow child abuse? All in the name of WHAT? And preach each week from the pulpit?

    This is the worst kind of hypocrisy. They are as bad as the Catholic Church that we grew up in, who allowed pedophile priests to abuse whole generations of children. All I can say is “God save their soul” and God pray for them, because I surely can’t.

    I pray for anyone that turns to them for consolation or comfort, for their hearts are as cold as stone. Reconciliation is not a word either of them know.

    One day, D. & G., you two will stand in front of the Lord. I don’t think God is going to fault me for taking steps as an adult to protect other innocents from harm. I couldn’t do it when I was growing up, but I surely can now. Until people stop accepting, enabling and hiding child abuse, it will never end.

    And “Christians” like these are sure to keep it going… it’s the Devil’s work they are doing; not God’s. The Methodist church is in grave danger. God save their souls.

    • says

      Catherine,

      I am very sorry for the way you have been treated, especially on such serious issue like this.

      You are raising some very serious accusations, some of which are prisonable offenses. Have your reported your concerns to the police?

      Though you have been treated unfairly and unjustly for raising your concerns, please be careful about posting these sorts of details online in public places like this, because it can cause big problems whether or not it turns out to be true.

      For that reason, I have removed the personal names of the people you mentioned and just left their initials. I just don’t want to get named in a libel lawsuit…

      It is always a tragedy and a horrific crime when people try to sweep such terrible things under the rug and ignore them, and I hope that you are able to help the police unveil the truth of what is going on.

  8. Catherine Todd says

    Please feel free to edit my response as you see fit. here it is as I wrote it. I just had to respond as I am shocked that anyone would suggest that what I said “might not be true.” What on earth in my post would make you think that? As a grown woman who has worked with survivors for years, I have never had anyone question me in the way that you have. And then throwing in a threat of potential punishment… It’s really quite hurtful.

    This is EXACTLY why so few people come forward, when they are met with silence, disbelief, or outright scorn. And then add in the threat that I might be in “big trouble.” Perfect way to make sure people keep silent and say nothing, and the abuse continues unabated in the church and everywhere else. Just ask the Catholic church. I’m sorry, but your response is exactly how the Catholics and Christians have always behaved. It is very distressing to read your response.

    In any event, here’s my response.

    * * * * *

    Jeremy, I have reported these things and I am not “lying about this.” With the amount of shame and backlash heaped upon people who do come forward, there are very few people that “make this up.”

    You wrote: “please be careful about posting these sorts of details online in public places like this, because it can get you into big trouble if it turns out to not be true.”

    What makes you think that I would post this if it wasn’t true? Especially in a public place? Did my statements sound like a crazy or vengeful person made them?

    I understand that you are afraid you might “get named in a libel lawsuit…” but what about the “ten excuses Christians make?” It’s only alright to report on things that are criminal, or criminally negligent? Or is it just the use of real names, so that the wrong-doer is pointed out?

    It’s the secret of silence and shame that keep incest and abuse happening. Until people start naming and claiming what happened, nothing will change.

    Reading your web page was very enlightening, as I could never understand how my own sister and her Methodist pastor could say and do the things they have. Imagine my wonder at finding out that many, many so-called “Christians” behave this way!

    At least your article cleared up any confusion. Thank you for posting it and explaining why you removed parts of my post. Until people come forward and tell the truth and evil-doers are exposed, those devils will continue to have their way. At least talking out loud is no longer taboo. Someday everything has to change, and it needs to start with the churches.

    • says

      Catherine,

      I am sorry for the way my comment came out. In no way did I intended to imply that what you were saying is not true. I believe you. I do.

      All I was trying to say what the the way to approach this serious issue is NOT by posting comments on public blogs about the people and naming them publicly on these blogs. You can post comments without naming people, but as soon as you make accusations like this in a public place, you (and I) can get into serious trouble.

      If what you say is true (maybe I should say SINCE what you say it true…) you need to report what you know to the police and let them handle it. Naming people in public as child molesters, or as people who cover up child molestation, is not going to help the situation. You need to go to the police and to Child Protective Services and let them sort it out.

    • Anonymous says

      Catherine,

      Jeremy is correct on this. I worked child protective services and law enforcement. You need to report what you are saying to child protective services and law enforcement. Posting it on a public forum such as this does not help your case. Instead of the guilty parties being prosecuted, you could possibly end up being prosecuted for libel/slander for anyone you are directly or indirectly naming. Unless you have the kind of proof a court requires to prove the child abuse/molesting allegations, there could be a problem. If you name names in a public place such as this and allege that those people committed certain offenses, it is reasonably certain what you are doing. I would suggest you ask Jeremy to remove all of what you posted here and make this a private conversation between you and Jeremy.

  9. Catherine Todd says

    Thanks for your response. I won’t post again with any names, but I do want to point out that I in no case accused anyone of committing a crime. I have said that these people helped cover it up, and the people cannot be charged with a criminal act for “aiding and abetting a criminal act” as yet. This is what needs to change and why people need to be named for their actions.

    I understand that you are concerned you “might be sued.” I sincerely doubt that this could happen, as I wrote and posted my own comment.

    But the sad thing is that I have taken all the steps you recommend. What makes you assume that I didn’t? Naming people in public DOES HELP. Why do you think we have National Registry of Child Molestors? Why are they required to notify the police in whatever area they live in?

    Police and Child Protective Services have been contacted and action was taken. My post is not about “how to turn someone in” or “what to do if children are being molested.” My post is about how it is impossible for me to understand how a Methodist pastor and wife could engage in a coverup and slander and libel the person who has reported it.

    I really don’t understand why you believe “naming names in public” isn’t going to help. Criminals don’t have the right to privacy. Courtroom and criminal records are public records, in both civil and criminal court.

    I have worked with survivors for more than 30 years, and I can assure you that as well-meaning as you must want to be, your responses (including this one) does nothing to help the situation. You continue to repeat that naming the people involved is somehow “wrong” or “dangerous” or “useless” or “incorrect” in some kind of way.

    This is your blog and I definitely intend to respect that. Please, feel free to delete or remove names as you see fit. But don’t pretend to know how child molesters should be treated, or what the law is.

    You can’t be sued for a comment someone makes on a blog. You shouldn’t assume that a survivor is “lying” and you shouldn’t tell them they can get in “big trouble” if they tell. You shouldn’t tell them to “keep silent” and “let the police and child services handle it.” Child abuse is rampant and endemic, for all the assumptions and statements you have made.

    Until this silence is broken, nothing is ever going to change. And change it will and change it must. The enablers who protect the abusers must also be brought to justice. That is when families, churches and other organizations will realize that if they do not take action, they too will be held liable.

    It’s not the truth that we have to fear. It’s the taboos and lies that keep us in the dark and keep us in danger.

    I hope you can understand what I am saying here. I am really sorry I posted about my own experience with “Christians.” I didn’t know that this might cause a problem for you. I guess it’s only OK to post about certain things that Christians do?

    In any event, thank you for your explanation and response. People have to begin to realize that we are ALL responsible for the children in this world. Not just the police and child services. Churches and other organizations will have to take a stand, if they want to stay in the light of God. Just ask the Catholics in Rome

  10. Catherine Todd says

    PS: But I do want to thank you for your responses. They have been very important to me to show my CLEARLY why this “minister” and his wife have not taken any action to protect the innocent and bring the guilty to justice.

    SELF-PRESERVATION and FEAR of reprisal.

    That’s it in a nutshell. They won’t break any taboos no matter how Grave the danger is. They won’t take any action out of plain and simple FEAR. They will attempt to destroy any person or facts that would force them to stand in truth, because of “what might happen to them.”

    They too must believe that any responsibility for protecting children belongs to the “police and child services,” and if they speak out they “might be sued” or they may be accused of “lying.”

    I can’t tell you how sad this makes me feel to find out why they have kept silent all these years… but if it took your responses to show me, then I must thank you for that.

    I have never had anyone react the way you have on this blog outside of family members and the Methodist pastor and his wife. Their church and all their flock that is in it are in Grave danger, but there is nothing I can do about it.

    I won’t post again here for fear of crossing some other line, as it is your blog after all. But I do want to thank you for it. The Ten Things Christians can now become ELEVEN.

    In God’s good grace we ask for help and protection.

    Sincerely, Catherine Todd

  11. Catherine Todd says

    Anonymous, apparently you and others reading my post are “ASSUMING FACTS NOT IN EVIDENCE.” There is NO CASE, as it has already been prosecuted many years ago.

    Making a child molestor’s name public does not lead to being sued, especially when they are listed on a national registry. You decide to use the name “anonymous” so you are welcome to post without anyone knowing who you are. That’s not what groups who are working for change do, and obviously I am one of them.

    No one needs to tell me to go child services or the police; that was done many years ago. Yet the Christians involved have attempted to bury the truth and that is what I am objecting to. If you re-read my posts I am sure you will see your assumptions are in error.

    Where does I say a report “has not been made?” Where did I say that the guilty party has not been prosecuted? What I said is that a Methodist pastor and his wife have attempted to bury the evidence. I did not say they were successful at it. In one particular case was over 30 years ago, and this pastor and his wife (no names used as requested) are STILL trying to bury the truth. Yet you all seem to think that I am “damaging my case.” I don’t have a “case.” I took the steps necessary to protect the child. The pastor and his wife all took your ostrich stance: bury your head in the sand” and do nothing… it’s not “your responsibility” and “you might get sued.”

    My post was about CHRISTIANS WHO ACCEPT CHILD ABUSE, CLOSE THEIR EYES AND KEEP SILENT ABOUT IT.

    All the comments, excuses, assumptions, threats, intimidation and fears in the world won’t change the fact that until CHRISTIANS PROTECT THEIR OWN, ABUSE WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN. And Christians will be as responsible as the Catholic church is now for hiding their pedophile priests.

    You are all so far off base here. I was not sued 30 years ago and the criminal has been brought to justice. Yet the family members and the church pastor who allowed this perpetration to continue have continued to attempt to punish anyone who speaks about it out loud. That seems to be the “Christian Way” in their lives. And this is why I no longer go to church.

    I can’t believe that my comments are being taken out of context and being treated this. I have belonged to anti-child abuse groups for 30 years and we have worked very hard to bring child abuse out of the shadows and break the taboo. Coming onto a Christian site with a story about “10 Excuses Christians Give for Treating Others Badly” can now be changed to “11 Excuses Christians Give for Treating Others Badly.”

    It’s responses like yours that keep it hidden, and therefore keep it alive. Please stop telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. The deed has been done and the guilty have been prosecuted. BUT the minister and his wife have not “seen the light” or taken steps to prevent child abuse in their family or in their church. There is a judgment against them as we speak. So telling me “I might get sued” has nothing to do with the case.

    I won’t respond again, and I am sorry that it appear that people have jumped on the bandwagon here, with erroneous assumptions and admonitions. But I am grateful to find out how “the mind” of the “Christian” operates, as this is something I could never understand. Now I do, at least a little bit more. Hide your head in the sand, don’t make waves, don’t take responsibility, and above all, SELF-PRESERVATION.

    Let Jesus take care of the children, right?

    Amen.

    • Sam says

      Calm down Catherine. Go back to the beginning of what you posted here yesterday and reread what we can read. Nothing you wrote says these people were prosecuted and found guilty. You did not say that until the previous comment dated today at 2:14pm. No one here is trying to accept or close their eyes to child abuse. No one took your comments out of context. You did not provide the context, which would be that these people were prosecuted and found guilty many years ago. That changes everything. No one here is assuming anything about you or the situation.

  12. Catherine Todd says

    This discussion is turning into a real mess… but no wonder the “church people” have acted the way they do, if this is how discussions are treated.

    Now another one chimes in, telling me to “calm down.” What??? And goes on to say:

    “You did not provide the context, which would be that these people were prosecuted and found guilty many years ago. That changes everything. No one here is assuming anything about you or the situation.”

    I did not provide the context because it wasn’t important to me; what was important is that the church pastor and wife took no action and were accomplices in the cover-up, just as the Catholic church had done for so many years. That is what my comment was about.

    This blog asked for comments about other things that should be added to this list, and silence and participation in child abuse is what I was writing about, that I felt should be added to the list.

    I was NOT writing about how to report child abuse, or how to make a civil or criminal case. I had no idea that I would have to defend or explain anything about the actual incidents that went on for so many years. People have also apparently assumed that things have happened to me, or that I was lying about things or that I or others could be sued, and on and on and on. And I’ve been told that my comments should be removed; should remain “private” and I should “calm down.”

    This is incredible! Talk about assumptions and judgments and “rushing to judgment.” I am really shocked to discover that I should have had to “provide the context, which would be that these people were prosecuted and found guilty many years ago. That changes everything.”

    Yes, it does. But if you read my original comment, it is solely about church pastors and church members KEEPING SILENT in the FACE OF ABUSE.

    IT IS CLEAR that people here are “assuming anything about you or the situation.” Just look at what people have written! This pedophile abused many, many family members and children. What makes you think this is something that happened to me? Where does it say that? I, as the one who brought this man to justice, have been “punished” by the Christians in his family. That is my complaint, and has ensured that I will never set foot in any church again. This was pointed out by other commentators with their own experiences they shared on this blog, as requested by the blog owner.

    Once again, I am talking about how “Christians” behave in the face of adversity. This entire discussion is a perfect case in point. Three people have now chastised, admonished, judged or picked what I said apart. Assumptions have been made left and right, and I have been told by three people that my post is “incorrect,” even to telling me to “calm down.”

    I can tell you this: I am sorry I ever posted anything here, but it’s been an excellent lesson in how Christians behave. This is exactly the same kind of judgment, assumptions and run-around I have witnessed with the pedophile’s “Christian” family members who are still angry that he was brought to justice. But I’m not. I’m just sorry to see that interacting with “Christians” is not necessarily a safe place to be.

    I didn’t come here to be judged or to have to defend myself. My point is that churches and families will have to begin to take responsibility for the safety of children, no matter what. You cannot expect police and social services to take complete responsibility. Social Services can be overwhelmed with cases and police don’t always do their jobs. It’s all our jobs to watch over the little children, as Jesus said, “Let the children come unto me.”

    If you want to continue to find fault of pick apart my posts, of course you are free to do so. But I am not here to defend or explain myself. If you can read what I’ve written you *may* be able to understand what I am saying.

    But as long as people say “this should be private,” “your posts should be removed,” “you didn’t explain yourself sufficiently,” “you or I could be sued,” “you are making accusations that might not be true,” “you need to calm down…”

    Well, guess what? Statements like these ENSURE that no victims are going to come forward. If I was a child, I am sure I wouldn’t in the face of such judgment, disbelief or scorn. I belong to many groups that work tirelessly to prevent child abuse, and when I saw this blogger REQUESTING other things that should be added to the list, of course I naturally believed it.

    I am sorry to find out I was wrong. You can do what you want with my posts, as I guess child abuse by Christians just doesn’t belong here.

    This is very disheartening to me, but it’s exactly how these so-called Christians that I have been talking about behave. Just one argument and negation after another. If this is the culture in the Christian church, and this is how people talk to each other, telling each other what they should do and when they should be quiet and how they should behave and what they should say… well, no wonder pedophilia is alive and well in churches across the land!

    In the case I have been describing, it took going to the head of the church diocese to get attention and action, and finally they did after the threat of a lawsuit. I was relieved we didn’t have to go that far, but I will never forget that this is what it took.

    It’s a shame to find out that these stubborn balkers aren’t the only ones. I really thought that this was an aberration, but I can see now that it isn’t.

    God bless the little children, and God save them because it’s clear that many Christians surely won’t. Judge me all you want, but the fact remains: We are all responsible for the children in this world, and it means standing up for them even when disapproval – for whatever reason – reigns.

    I am saving this conversation as a perfect example of how assumptions, judgement, directions, admonishm, accusation, disbelief, fear and denial works.

    It does a good job of putting out all but the brightest fires, and I thank God every day for the good people who do take child abuse seriously. Judge me all you want, but God wants us to look out for both the children and each other in this world.

    Amen.

  13. Catherine Todd says

    You wrote on your blog:

    “Any others?

    Are there others that you know of which didn’t make it on this list? Include them in the comments below.

    And remember: of course Christians still sin. But when our sin is pointed out to us, the proper response is not to make excuses, but to say, “You are right. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”

    What are the “acceptable” violations “to make it on this list?”

    Obviously I posted one that is “unacceptable.” Please forgive me.

    If I had known that I was “opening a can of worms,” I would never have posted here. Obviously I did not (and do not) understand the point of this blog. I did not come here to defend myself or make a case. I was and am talking about Christians denying and burying child abuse, including a pastor of a Methodist church and his wife. This makes me sick, more so than the gossip mongering and complaints listed in the comments above.

    In other words, there is still “no room at the inn” for anyone who doesn’t willingly go on the rack or “stand in judgment” by the Christians in the room. This is so sad, but it’s clearly the way of the world… this world, at least. It’s quite a shock to me.

    * * * * *

    “The taboo against talking about incest is stronger than the taboo against doing it.”- Maria Sauzier

    And until this ends, nothing will change.

    Child sex abuse is a taboo topic for some parents [and churches] – CNN.com
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/29/…/sexual-abuse-talking-to-kids-parents/
    CNN
    Apr 30, 2014 – Child sexual abuse is a taboo topic in some families, but experts insist that parents must empower kids to speak up about inappropriate … until a guest speaker stood up to talk, shattering the banality of the ….. In a recent survey, more millennials than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers said kids are better off when …
    Awareness – Voice Today
    http://www.voicetoday.org/awareness/

  14. Catherine Todd says

    “Finally, there is the fact that Christians love to pick and choose which sins are the worst – things like homosexuality and murder – while ignoring sins that are prevalent within our own congregations (which might actually be much worse) – sins like gluttony, greed, and pride. The watching world sees our blatant hypocrisy and criticizes us in return for our unjustified criticism of them.”

    AMEN. HERE YOU GO: OVER AND OUT.

    • anonymous says

      You are right. Christians should not be cherry picking out the worst sins. We as Christians should be a lamp set out for the world to see. A person who lives their life by the word of God. Jesus told the disciples to judge not lest ye be judged. But that doesn’t mean we should not call out sinful behavior.

  15. anonymous says

    It really saddens me to hear all the pain that Christians have caused. The only truth I can say to these people is to not let their faith suffer because of someone else’s actions. Churches are full of sinners. So it makes sense that you would come into contact with a bad person at church. Yes it is true that some Christians use their faith to abuse other people so the answer to that is move to another church and find mature people in their faith. You have to know we are out there. Also ask God to bring the right Christians into your life. God does answer prayers. People in churches are just a community of people from the worldly realm. Jesus described people like this. He said they are like white washed tombs. They are full of dead men’s bones. So remember God is aware of these things and He is just a prayer away as is the Holy Spirit. Ultimately your connection to the Lord is personal and you will answer only to Him. No one else.

  16. steve says

    i see a lot here. i’m a christian, and go to a great church. i have been one of those bullies mentioned here. i see sin in other’s lives and point it out (not angrily), but have so much i need to work on myself. i go to christian dating sites and send a friendly hello…but when they dont write back right away “hey, what kind of a christian are you? i said hello..and you walk by with your nose in the air?”. one woman DID write back to me about that, i’m glad she did, cause she pointed out where i myself was rude to her….and then accusing her of being stuck up. i had no right to do that. i sincerly apologized to her, and we actually had a pleasant conversation. she isn’t stuck up at all. the issue was that i was impatient and rude…i thank her for pointing it out.

  17. F. says

    In response to Catherine Todd, I have had a VERY similar experience. I used to have a decent sister. We went to church against our parent’s wishes. As adults, she joined the Catholic church, moved to a small town and slowly lost all of my respect. While visiting a relative’s gorgeous new home in a city, my sister looked out the window at the ‘brown-skinned’ family in a nearby backyard, and said, “How can they afford to live here??” with all the derision she could muster. I was disgusted by her thought process. When another sister had a pre-school aged niece visiting, the niece was raped and sodomized by a 12 yr-old nephew of my sister’s husband, (in my sister’s home) My two sisters decided not to tell our other sister what had happened to her own daughter. They kept allowing this awful kid in the home, and made my poor little niece sit with her abuser every Sunday in church. Of course, a few months later, the little girl told her mom (and the healing began), but my older sisters would have never done a thing to protect a tiny little helpless girl – a blood relative – all at the expense of their own comfort level.

    Catherine, I understand your need to tell your story and shine a light on the danger of ‘family secrets’. It’s a shame that the readers assumed you needed their advice, rather than see what you need is to simply keep the story alive by retelling and, hopefully help motivate someone to do the right thing when their chance comes.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing part of your story, as well. I wish Catherine could have heard the tone of my voice. I think my comments were read much differently than the spirit in which I wrote them. I have nothing but concern for her and her situation. Anyway, you (and she) are right. When things like this happen in our churches, we must expose them and stand up for the truth rather than sweep them under the carpet to protect those in power.

      • F. says

        It’s difficult to convey/conceive ‘tone’ in writing. I belong to a couple of support groups (one is online only) and something I see happen a lot is when a person will say, ‘I am dealing with this issue right now….’ an unbelievably large portion of readers/listeners will somehow hear this instead, “I have an issue and I need advice on what to do”. The listener will then be shocked, surprised, hurt, and even hostile when the person doesn’t receive the unsolicited advice with the amount of gratitude expected.

        Jeremy, it’s clear from your subject matter and the words you choose that you are a sincere, caring and open-minded person with the best of intentions here. I imagine readers across the entire spectrum of beliefs have benefitted from your posts. Please allow me to add my gratitude to Catherine’s. You do good work, please keep it coming.

  18. says

    I am a former believer, believed myself to be a christian, and deconverted. I have been conditioned to include “believed myself to be” so as to avoid the “you were never really saved” conversation that always distracts from whatever the discussion originally intended ;) .

    I have seen a lot of bad behavior from christians, (or those claiming to be ;) ) I was also incredibly surprised to find so many nonchristians, whether they be from varying religions, or agnostics and atheists, to have good behavior, and even exhibit “fruit of the spirit” ,what I once considered to be a way to test the faith, or rather character of a christian, (they will know them by their fruit).

    The only thing I would emphasize is that it is certainly not all christians who badly behave. And I haven’t found it to be quite so rare as you imply. And to be clear not all nonchristians are well behaved.

    Something interesting is that many christians seem to have a problem when an atheist points out their ill behavior, saying they are picking on the christians. Why not look to themselves. (pick on the bad behaving atheists)
    Being a former believer, led me to the thought, that christians were held to a higher standard than others, by the bible, and the Jesus portrayed in the bible. As an agnostic atheist humanist, I still see no reason not to call a christian on not following what their leader commanded. (just as even though I am not a football player, I can read and understand the rules to the game, and comment on whether the ref was calling by the book, or passing over some of the rules)

    You asked for other reasons we have heard given for bad behavior.
    I didn’t see this one, (don’t know if i over looked it)

    I have been told that the bad behavior is “tough love” . God is using certain people to be “pricks” ,
    poppers of puss pockets that need popping to get the puss out of peoples lives.
    Or, the fire that burns others into purification.

    That god needs both types, the kind sweet loving, and the pricks. Because so many people need different methods to be brought to their knees.

    I consider it a justification for ill behavior.

    But in turn, when I am pointing out what I consider hypocrisy, I like to mention that if the god one believes in could use a jack ass to make a point, then certainly he could use an atheist. ;)

    kind regards,
    holly

    • says

      Great comment, Holly! I agree with you completely! In fact, later this week I am posting a video from Bill Maher where he criticizes Christians for not loving our neighbors. Ironically, many Christians viciously condemned him for criticizing us… It’s laughable if it weren’t so sad.

      I often think that many atheists are closer to God than many who claim to believe in and follow God.

  19. Bunny says

    I like the post. Good list. I think you left a few out but still pretty good. As an atheist I’m mistreated, judged and demonized as soon as people hear the word. Some Christians give me a chance to get a few words out but most of them just jump down my throat and beat me over the head with their religion. Usually it’s people of different religions or raised in different religions who treat me with more respect and who seem to be nicer people altogether. Even when I was classified in a religion, Christians were hateful to me and each other. Just vicious. Then they act shocked when someone doesn’t want to be a part of that?

    I think it’s general arrogance and self entitlement. They think they’re the ones who have this little secret about God and heaven and the devil and such and oh, how stupid are we for not simply believing it the way they do. They don’t even need to use their brains and think about it, because the less they actually know about their religion and the less they think about it the more pious they are. They act like they are just soooo holy and that gives them the right to rain judgement down on everyone else and look down their noses at people. Lecturing and wagging their fingers. Regurgitating bits of phrases and half digested arguments around as if that somehow makes them smart as well as holy. They usually don’t even have half a clue about the ideas, evidence and science they are rejecting and they know even less about the religious dogma they are backing up. Their ignorance is only highlighted by the passion and anger they use to yell their God’s name and recite their hollowed verses. >.> I’m usually just sitting there, having only said three little words thus far, ‘I’m an atheist.’ and they’ve already gone into this crazy tirade and threatened me with eternal burning and torture and told me what a horrible person I must be and splattered ignorance all over the place. After they’ve finished venting on me I calmly right down some resources on whatever convenient mode of writing I have to offer and just walk away. If they’re interested in learning something they will check out said resources but usually these types of ‘Christians’ I generally don’t even bother trying to have a conversation with. They’re too up their own arses to listen to anything I have to say.

    Then there are those Christians who are self entitled. They believe that being a Christian gives the lease to basically do whatever they want, say whatever they want, treat people whatever they want. Since you can use the bible to back up just about any behavior, considering it’s so contradictory and ambiguous ‘Christians’ just jump all over that opportunity. Plus, they can just be forgiven for whatever anyway, right? They don’t have to make amends to those they’ve wronged or get forgiveness from them, they just go to a priest to get forgiven by ‘God’.

    I’m not saying all Christians are like this. I’ve met a few pretty awesome ones. Ones who don’t act like this, ones who are intelligent and thoughtful. It’s just been a rare encounter in my life. In fact, I’ve had better luck with meeting kind and understanding Muslims than I have Christians. I’ve had better luck meeting kind and understanding criminals than I have Christians. Same with atheists and such. Christians have been the meanest, cruelest, most hate filled, ignorant and shameful group of people I’ve come across in my 30 years on this earth. I think that’s saying something. As this poster has laid out, they have many reasons for being deceitful, and cold, and nasty. They often think only their group of people are worthy of respect and caring, and even then I’ve met many Christians who are bullied in their own church. That reads hate group to me. That reads bigots to me. As I said, not all of them, certainly. I think for the most part you can’t judge an entire group of people all together in a lump, however when most of them act a certain way and the way is contemptible behavior, I think it’s time to take a deep look at it.

    I have my own issues with the religion and beliefs it’s self but it’s your choice if you want to believe it. However, your actions based upon those beliefs should be held accountable. Believe what you like but when you start making decisions and taking actions that affect other people based on beliefs that have zero evidence to back it up there’s a problem. When my freedom ~from~ religion is being violated, there’s a problem. When people are being abused inside and outside an organization, there’s a problem. When a tax free major and powerful organization are doing questionable actions, there’s a problem. I think it’s time for people both inside and outside the religion to take a step back and question what’s really going on, if it’s okay or not and what we can do to protect the rights of both sides. I am in favor of freedom of religion as long as freedom from religion and separation of church and state are being protected. Your freedom extends only as far as it does not interfere with other people’s freedoms. That’s something we need to protect in this country. Just because you feel some kind of holy entitlement does not mean you get to do whatever you feel like to whomever you feel like.

    • says

      Wow. I am so sorry you have had these encounters with Christians. It really should not be that way.

      My experience has been similar to yours. Though I do believe in God and follow Jesus, I am not a “normal” Christian, and when I meet “normal” Christian, they often treat me the way it sounds like they treat you.

      I have met with and talked to many atheists. It almost seems that just as most Christians are militantly angry, mad, and judgmental, but a few are gracious and kind, the opposite seems to be true for atheists. I rarely meet a militant atheist. Most are gracious and kind. You yourself seem to be gracious, loving, and kind as well.

      Anyway…. GREAT comment. I love your thoughts and your insight.

  20. Catherine Todd says

    Something brought me back here today; and I’m glad it did. Thank you F. for your most appropriate and supportive comments on July 2, 2014, including:

    “Catherine, I understand your need to tell your story and shine a light on the danger of ‘family secrets’. It’s a shame that the readers assumed you needed their advice, rather than see what you need is to simply keep the story alive by retelling and, hopefully help motivate someone to do the right thing when their chance comes.”

    I am just horrified that the other people in your story swept abuse under the rug but given my own family history, that is exactly what they do and I am still being punished for “breaking the code of silence.” And this is by my “Christian sister” married to a Methodist Pastor! Both of them have gone after me for not “forgiving” sufficiently. And as far as they are concerned, that is the END OF THE STORY.

    One day aiders and abetters of child abuse will be criminalized just as aiding, abetting or harboring an other criminal is. Rapists cannot be shielded by family members any longer.

    I also appreciate Jeremy’s mention of “wishing I could hear his tone” and the other response that “tone” is impossible to “hear” online. Both made me feel better. The know-it-all who told me to “calm down” was way out of line, and I still can’t believe that they would sit in judgment of me, especially on a website devoted to the “wrongness” of judging by Christians! But in a sad and sick kind of way, it brought the problem and painfulness of this into sharp relief. I guess even scorpions have their place.

    I wish that Jeremy would put a “email me when new comments are made” button on this site, as I would have been much happier to read the clear, concise and compassionate responses that were posted after my last comment. I have felt pretty bad ever since I got the “calm down” admonition and it just “proved my point” which I wanted to be DISPROVED. Thank you to EVERYONE here who helped prove me wrong, as I for one want peace in this world, and am glad to see that (some) others do, too.

    Gracias, Amen.

  21. Catherine Todd says

    PS: What brought me back here? I was wondering myself… I just had another run-in (“attempt”) at reconciliation with my sister and her Christian Methodist pastor, and her only response to my request for reconciliation is that I have apparently “not forgiven sufficiently.” And she teaches bible classes in Sunday school, and her husband gives the sermon every Sunday!

    I don’t know many Christians to begin with, as they always start spouting off about how everyone else is going to hell because they haven’t accepted Jesus in His name or some such nonsense, even when I point out that the word “God” is said in different names due to different languages. So I must have come across this website in my attempts at understanding my sister and her Reverend husband of the Methodist Church persuasion.

    I am so glad (sad) to read about the other people sweeping child abuse under the rug in the family… I swear, to this day I can’t believe that people continue to do so. Do they not care about children at all?

    At least it’s being talked about along with the “crimes” of the Christians who say they practice “religion.” I thought God loved EVERYONE, and I know I try to. Or at least I leave the ones I don’t alone.

    It’s been very healing to read through all these comments after all. Glad I came back today. And Jeremy, please add that notification if someone else comments. You’ve done a really good thing creating and maintaining this website. Perhaps there is hope for us all!

    “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
    Dear God please show us The Way.

    • says

      Thank you for returning Catherine, and for your comment. You have been in my thoughts.

      It truly is tragic that people try to sweep child abuse under the rug…. especially when churches and Christian leaders do this. May we all stand up against such terrible abuse.

      As for email notifications when new comments are added, there is in fact a little check box at the bottom of the comment form for this very thing… I believe that if you check the box to receive updates about comment replies, you should get them….

      • Catherine Todd says

        Thanks… I don’t see a checkbox on my comment box to get updates (although I did get your update – I don’t know how). What I do have is a checkbox for ” Please send me free eBooks!” It also says “You are subscribed to this post. Manage your subscriptions.” So maybe I checked the box one time. I didn’t get any updates at all until I happened to check back here, but either way it is working.

        And thank you for thinking about me and my situation. It’s hopeless, at least at this time, as I gave it one more try even using “Biship Tutu’s methods for reconciliation,” to be met with it’s “my fault for damaging our relationship by bringing up the past” (what she and her pastor husband did, and have been doing to anger and ruin my reputation with my entire family for the past 30 years). She bears “no responsibility” as she says “she has forgiven me” and until I “forgive her I will never find peace.” And her “forgiveness” does not require “my acknowledgement or consent.” It was quite a slap in the face, but at least she laid it out in uncertain terms. She is “willing to be on a friendly basis with her as long as I follow her rules.” It’s unbelievable, coming from a woman who teaches Sunday school at her husband’s Methodist Church. Until I found your website, I really thought “Christians” were different, but now I see they aren’t. So at least I know better what to expect, and more importantly, what NOT to expect. It’s so sad.

        I am grieving greatly right now, and having to see the end of a relationship and bury it for good, and realize that this relationship NEVER EXISTED as I thought it did. I was wrong about her and her husband and that is something I have to live with. I ask God to remove the scales from my eyes and stop my wishful thinking that people would WANT “reconciliation” more than “being right.” I have to learn to ACCEPT THINGS AS THEY ARE and truly “put them in God’s Hands.”

        What more can we do?

        thanks for your website. The insights here, ugly though some of them may be, have really helped me understand some of the “Christian” mentality, especially the people who jumped right in passing judgment on me, telling me to “calm down” and more. Talk about supercilious! But one of them sounded just like my sister’s husband, and no wonder he got me so upset! I don’t have people like this in my own life, and now I have something else to be grateful for. The people in my life speak from their own experience and what worked for them, and never tell other people what they should be doing. So many of my friends have worked through, or are working through, difficult family members and they “know what it feels like.”

        I am even more grateful for them now, after my experience here. Your site has helped me in more ways than one, and I thank you for it.

        Gracias, amen.

        “The winds of grace blow all the time; all we need do is set our sails.”
        Dear God please show us The Way.

        • says

          Yes, if that is what it said, then somehow you subscribed to get replies. It is possible you are only getting replies to your comments instead of all comments on the post… You can change your subscription preferences to this second option by clicking that link which invites you to do so.

          Bishop Tutu’s approach was a good one to try. I am sorry it did not work.

          I think that all you can do is forgive the other people in your heart and move on. Otherwise, the pain and hurt you experienced will begin to eat away at your own soul too, which makes you a double (or triple) victim of what happened.

        • Catherine Todd says

          Thanks, Jeremy… I agree on all counts. I am especially disappointed in Bishop Tutu’s own recommendations being ignored, but I can see that for some people, following “their rules” trumps everything else. Perhaps in the next lifetime things will be different, I don’t know. I do know that I have to ask God to help me “let go” as there is absolutely nothing more I can do. Sometimes people insist on being “the victim” and will never see or accept responsibility for anything they have done, and I have to just agree and move on. “Christians” or not.

          That was the hard part… I never thought a minister and his wife would be so stubborn in this case, but they are proud of it and true forgiveness is not in their vocabulary. It’s more like they have “forgiven themselves” and I don’t count at all. But apparently God loves us all, so that’s what I am going to try and focus on. This will be a “new world” for me.

          Gracias for everything that comes our way… and this website. Yours, CT

  22. JDL says

    The terrible thing about child abuse in church is that when this happens to children and it is swept under the rug, they grow up thinking that this is normal and is what happens in church. Sometimes, peopel who were abused as children become child molesters themselves. I am not saying this always happens, but sometimes it does.

    • says

      True. Of course, being abused as a child does not excuse the one who abuses children when they are adults (and I know you are not saying that), but it does make one wonder about the cycle of sin that happens in people’s lives.

  23. Charly M. says

    Greg Laurie, a prominent pastor in California, once cautioned his church to be careful about how they acted toward others because, “you may be the only Bible people read”.

    I’m sorry for all of you who have had bad experiences. I have, also. Not only with other Christians, but, of course, with non-Christians as well. I am repeating some of what others have already said in this blog but also including scripture which I think is always important when we voice an opinion based on God’s word. There are many more, of course besides these. I hope the following will be helpful:

    First of all, ‘Churches’ are not only for fellowship, but for worshipping God: Through hearing the word, song, and prayer. As long as the pastor is an accurate teacher of scripture and you find God speaking to you through that person, it is worth being a part of. God will lead you to the right people for fellowship if you keep your eyes on Him and not other Christians.

    At times some of you refer to Christians as a whole based upon your experiences with a few misguided souls. One stated that there are millions of Christians who feel the same way (about being mistreated). Then, what about those millions? What about the people who responded to this blog who feel the same way? The Bible says not to attempt to lead a monastic-type life or a secluded one:

    “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25)

    Please keep in mind that within any assembly of uncommitted, backslidden, or misinformed Christians, will also be committed ones who are truly living the faith as God intended and are looking for the same fellowship as you. Please don’t turn away from the love and support that fellow Christians can give you which is so vital to the Christian life, based upon the actions of the few you have had bad experiences with. It is also an act of disobedience because God has made it clear that we are to interact with one another:

    “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it’s parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

    “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

    “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

    “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

    “It is actually for our own good that God wants us in fellowship with other believers. We need each other to grow up in the faith, to learn to serve, to love one another, and to practice forgiveness. Though we are individuals, we still belong to one another.” “…the unity of the body, your own spiritual growth, protection and blessing are all at risk when you’re disconnected from the body of Christ.”( From, “What Does The Bible Say About Church Attendance”, by Mary Fairchild.)

    And, Jesus himself, went faithfully to the synagogue:

    “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.”(Luke 4:16)

    The body of Christ are the believers called His ‘church’–not a physical place. But, where do we assemble? We also call this a ‘church’. It’s just a name. It can be a home fellowship, a gathering in a coffee shop, clubhouse, or any other venue. And, there must be a leader anointed by God:

    “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

    “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

    “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder … Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-4)

    The organization of a group is not a bad thing, just an essential component in order to create structure and identity. Every group works their way into that even if it wasn’t initially intended. As long as a ‘church’ keeps God at the forefront at all times, professing that Jesus died for their sins, and is lead by the Holy Spirit, the opportunity for many within those borders to flourish in spiritual growth and unity is there:

    “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

    And please remember also, that God hates hypocrisy more than you do, especially where His holy word and His people are concerned. Misrepresenting God kept Moses out of the promised land, even after all he went through on the Lord’s behalf because of a moment of anger when he was supposed to be representing God and he acted in a fleshly way. It’s very important that people know who God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit really are. That’s why it’s crucial we keep our eyes upon the truth, read and meditate upon the Bible, pray with humility and ask God for forgiveness and insight into our hearts and His, and act in ways that He leads us no matter what other people do or say. The Bible also states that there will be people who will seem sincere, but who will not really be who they profess to be:

    “And he said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.’ And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!’” (Mark 7:6-9)

    “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice iniquity!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

    “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:21-27)

    Whomever reproves anyone should very clearly feel and show the love of God while doing it. That they have the best interests of the person at heart. That they are concerned first for the person’s well-being. If not, they have other motives that are not of God. And, keep in mind, we are all human and prone to slip if we take our eyes off of Him for a moment, which we all do at times. Respond in kindness. Quote scripture. Turn their eyes toward God. His word won’t return ‘void’:

    “So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

    God bless all of you.

    • says

      Good reminders here. Especially the part about us being the only Bible some people will ever read. We are to represent Jesus to others, and if we are hateful, spiteful, and hurtful, then people get the idea that this is what Jesus is like as well. It is so sad when we present God in this way.

  24. sherry says

    This is the very reason that Jesus says to test the spirit of a man to see if they are of the Light of Christ or darkness of satan. If we have been crucified with Christ and have been raised from death of sin and flesh then we are a new creation in Christ Jesus and have been given new Life. That new Life is Jesus working in and through us. Its all of Him in our life and none of the old man. This is how we know whom we belong to. We are not to judge the world and sinners cause they are judging themselves but we are to rightly judge those that claim to be of Christ by the fruits of His Spirit in order to protect ourselves and others from wolves in sheeps clothing that have crept in unaware. Whether we are part of a man made church fellowship or Christ centered church fellowship we are called to love and to be light in a dark world. Its up to those in church leadership to weed out the bad ones that cause harm to people and if they dont they will be held just as accountable as the guilty. Jesus did say that there would be tares mixed with the wheat untill He comes to judge and put away sin for good but until then we have to discern evil among us and cast it out for our own safety.God bless you all as you walk in Christ and He in you until the day of completion.

    • says

      Sherry,
      Thank you for these words of insight.

      Let me just warn you though about church leaders who say it is their responsibility to weed out the bad people in our congregations. This is a warning sign of an abusive and manipulative religious leader. Usually this sort of talk is just a “spiritual” way for leaders to say they want total control and don’t want anyone to disagree with them. I am NOT saying this is going on in your church, but am just inviting you to be careful.

  25. LoverLily says

    I think your post hits the nail on the difficulty of being a Christian. Christians hold each other to a higher standard. I think sometimes we are more concerned with appearing sinless to others than actually being sinless. No matter how far you get as a Christian, you can always be better. Sometimes I think charity can be found more outside the church. Perhaps we have too high expectations from each other. I am not saying chill out, don’t correct a brother. I do see why sometimes other Christians avoid each other. Obviously, some people do need correction because they are obviously leading a sinful lifestyle. People make mistakes, even Christians. People sometimes say a bad word. People lose their temper. While I wholeheartedly agree with your post. I think there is need to be something said about how Christians expect each other to be perfect.

  26. Katy says

    “Finally, there is the fact that Christians love to pick and choose which sins are the worst – things like homosexuality and murder – while ignoring sins that are prevalent within our own congregations (which might actually be much worse) – sins like gluttony, greed, and pride.”

    Gluttony is worse than murder?? You want to try that one again?

    • says

      Did I say gluttony is worse than murder? I said we like to choose which sins are the worst… while ignoring prevalent sins…

      You want to try reading that one again?

      There is nothing in there saying one is worse than the other.

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