An Open Apology To Those Who Have Been Hurt By Christians

I’m not sure what your experience is, but chances are if you are reading this then you have been hurt by a Christian at some point in your life. Heck, I’m a Christian myself and I have repeatedly been hurt by people who claim the same faith as I do.

One of the world’s greatest peace-makers Mahatma Gandhi even once made the following, now infamous, statement:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Christians worship a God who looks favorably upon humility, compassion and understanding – however, we Christians sometimes fail miserably in those areas. And instead we end up being characterized by pride, indifference and hypocrisy.

If you have experienced pain from the hands of a Christian I would like to make an open apology. My hope is that you would forgive Christians and base your opinion on Jesus Christ, not the behavior of His followers.

First, I would like to say I’m sorry for anytime you have been made to feel like you were wrong or un-Christian for having questions, doubts & struggles…

Being a Christian isn’t easy and there are many unanswered questions still on the table. Whether you are a believer or just curious, it is completely understandable to not understand everything you hear. You aren’t alone if you have struggled with believing in Christ or have hoped for more evidence of His presence. It took one disciple actually sticking his hands in the holes of the resurrected Christ for him to believe!

I’m sorry if you’ve been on the receiving end of jokes or immature slurs due to your sexual orientation…

Despite what you may have heard or experienced – God doesn’t hate gay people and neither do Christians. While most Christians agree that God designed marriage to be between a man and woman this in no way grants permission for deriding those who live a homosexual lifestyle. If you’ve experienced hatred from a Christian please do not equate that experience with who Jesus is. Jesus is full of love and grace and would never publicly embarrass you or try to make you feel less than human.

I’m sorry if you were lectured about your mistakes instead of being introduced to God’s grace…

We all mess up in life – Christian or not. Psalm 14:2-3 says that no one does good in the eyes of God. Without God’s grace we are shipwrecked and bankrupt. Therefore, if you have been lectured about your mistakes in life instead of being introduced to God’s grace – I am sorry. Jesus gave His life up for you so that you can live free from guilt and shame (2 Corinthians 5:21). It it the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Shame is a terrible motivator and I apologize that some pastors attempt to manipulate people with it. Guilt doesn’t change people, grace does.

I’m sorry if you were looked at funny because you walked into a church and wasn’t wearing a 3 piece suit…

God doesn’t look at the outward appearance, He looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) However, people (including Christians) do look at the outward appearance. And for some reason, some Christians make a big deal about what you wear in a church building. Therefore, I am sorry if you have ever been looked at funny simply because your outfit didn’t fit the “norm” at a particular church. God isn’t worried about your outfit; Christians shouldn’t be either.

I’m sorry for the times you’ve encountered stingy Christians…

I’ve heard from far too many people in the service industry that some of the worst tippers are “church people”. Make no mistake though, stinginess is not representative of the character of Jesus. He is a generous, compassionate God that encourages us repeatedly throughout scripture to be generous as well. (Acts 20:25, Proverbs 11:24, Luke 6:38)

I’m sorry if someone told you that God took your baby, your spouse, family member, etc. to punish you…

This pains me to even have to mention, but over the years I have heard from people who have experienced loss and were told that God took their loved one as a way to punish them. This is a grossly wrong and a perverted view of the character of God. God is a giver of life, not death. However, we live in a world that operates around the idea of “karma”. Simply put, most people (even Christians) believe “you get what you deserve in life.”  Thankfully, God doesn’t operate this way. We all deserve punishment, but because of God’s kindness and love for the world He gave His son, Jesus, to die on our behalf and receive the punishment we deserve (Romans 3:23-25, John 3:16). Suffering is not evidence of God’s anger toward you, it is simply evidence that you live in an imperfect world filled with sickness and death.

I’m sorry for every pastor, minister, or counselor who abused their spiritual authority and took advantage of you…

Those who are in positions of spiritual authority are held to a high standard in which they don’t always live up to. Therefore, if you have ever been abused, used, or let down by a pastor or minstry leader I am truly sorry. As Christians, we are called to count others above ourselves, serve them in humility and live a life beyond reproach (Phillipians 2:3, Phillipians 2:15). The truth is, a ministry title means nothing if the ministry being done is not done in love.

Obviously, these are not all of the shortcomings that Christians need to apologize for, but these are some of the more common stories I have heard over the years. Christians, nor anyone else on this earth, is perfect. And I definitely include myself in this apology – I know that I have not represented the Christian faith to the best of my ability at times. I hope and pray that you will take this apology to heart and base your opinion of Christianity on the Jesus we follow and not on how well we represent Him.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
John 3:16 MSG

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