The Average Christian’s Letter to the Hurting

It seems like many in the church have become disconnected to the outside world. That we’ve forgotten that people still have real hurts, real struggles, and need real love.

Sometimes, I wonder if this isn’t how we (me included) come across to a hurting and largely unsaved world. Sometimes, I wonder if this isn’t what we’re saying without realizing it.
An open letter to the hurting from the average church goer…

Dear Hurting,

We are the church. We know Jesus. That fact alone makes us better than you. In fact, if you were like us, you wouldn’t even be hurting. You certainly wouldn’t admit it. You see, it’s probably the sin and the corruption of your soul that is causing your hurt. If you were spiritual like us, the hurt would most likely disappear.

Excuse us if we fail to speak to you when you come through our church doors out of your own desperation, we have people we like to see when we go to church. We have things that we want to accomplish. It’s not really about you, hey, it’s not really about God. It’s really about us and how we appear to the others inside this building. It’s really about us being able to say that we’ve been to church, us being able to check it off of our week’s to-do list.

So, you’ll have to forgive us if we don’t show much grace or comfort to you, Mr. Hurting. We hope you’ll forgive us if we don’t do anything to help you find the one that can comfort you… we’ve been doing it this way a long time. In fact, we have plenty of other things on our plate and just don’t have the time to plan anything that may communicate to you the love that Jesus has for you. We have committee meetings and praise band rehearsal, we have coffee to drink and Bible studies to attend.

We’re certain Jesus is what you need, we just aren’t going to take the time to show Him to you.

Thanks for visiting,

The Average Christian

40 Comments

  1. amanda giordano

    Sad but true. God has laid on my heart that he gives me numberous opportunties to be a witness for him daily. Kindness, just pure kindness can go a long way in this world full of hurt people. I want people to notice that there is something differnt inside me and that difference is Christ. Thanks for the confirmation that I need to stop being so self centered. I need to open my eyes and heart to all God’s children.

    Reply
  2. The saddest part of this letter is the number of “Christians” who really write it every day with their actions and attitudes toward those outside the church…heck, even INSIDE the church. No wonder we get so many “return to sender”s from the world.

    Reply
  3. Ja touched on what I was going to say. The average church doesn’t take care of the people within it’s own walls. If you’re strugging, if you’re almost to the breaking point, most times you can’t count on your churches. When I was at my lowest point while attending a church with members in the thousands I didn’t have a single one of them come to me to offer to help (outside of the one good friend I had who was a friend outside of being a “church member.”)

    Churches just don’t want to help any longer. I read a blog post from a church leader who basically said they were out to reach the lost and if you weren’t on board with them then you could leave their church and go somewhere else because they didn’t have time for you. At first, it shocked me but then I just realized he was being honest about what a lot of churches do. At least this guy had the guts to say if you’re in that church and you’re hurting don’t expect help.

    Reply
  4. This is very sad, but it is true. I spoke last night on how we are to show love and grace to ALL people, and how when we refuse to do so then we are not being the expression of Christ. I used the scripture from Luke 7:36-50, where the sinful woman is annointing Jesus with oil and the Pharisees turn their noses up at the woman. Jesus extends his love to her. He gives her grace. He makes sure that the woman knows she is loved and has worth. Jesus saw the woman not the sin! That is how we are to be when we see people. We are all created in the image of God, and we must not forget that. We too are marred by our sin, but because of Jesus we are made whole. God sees the person, and He loves the person without limits. I pray we will be like Jesus and do the same.

    Reply
  5. Wow man – it’s sad to say, but I have seen this letter proven true time and time again with the average church. It’s sad to see that the one organization on earth that has the ability to true help the hurting is more concerned with rules, regulations, services and “stuff” then they are about genuinely helping those in need. I hope this is a wake up call to all of us (myself included) who follow Jesus.

    Reply
  6. As it has already been stated a few times, this is sad but true but also a letter which I believe needs to be circulated to church leaders. Johnathan, you are so right when you say there is a disconnect from the outside world; something needs to change. I would love to be able to share this letter on my blog. Let me know if you are ok with that? I will definitely be letting others know about it. Well done!

    Reply
    1. The can of worms needed opening. (I could bring out something about worms in a body, but that would get too disgusting for most people. Still, it’s an image that’s applicable to this article.)

      Reply
  7. This letter was so good, but the comments made me so sad. My church has been such a great support to my family and me. I shared your post with my pastors, Jonathan. Thanks for being courageous enough to post it.

    Reply
    1. Thanks, Sandy. I guess we’re all speaking to the “average” Christian/church… not really our/your church. There are some that are absolutely getting it right (I’d put the one i serve at in that category). The truth is, though, many are not. Glad yours is. Thanks as always for sharing!

      Reply
  8. Jonathan – Enjoyed your post. Have you ever read the book A Take of Three Kings by Gene Edwards? Deals with the why we hurt others by retelling the story of Saul, David and Absalom. I recommend it to all my ministry friends and anyone who has ever been hurt by “God’s People.” Check it out sometime!

    Reply
  9. Elena Haupricht

    Jason said, as did some others…We are not just Christians hurting within the church with no voice, but sinners who no longer even want to turn to the church for help because we are phoney people with plastic faces, who really don’t care about the soul, once we’ve made the first trip down the isle, and that soul has been added to that pastors account. What do we really do with the drug addict, prostitute,alcoholic..etc. Are the churches really equipped to help them past the point of salvation? My church wasn’t… I have been hurt more in church by Christians than anywhere else in the world..Only God Himself saved me from myself and brought me back, to show me..chruches are hospitals of hurting people…and hurting people hurt people, even when they don’t mean to…Where do we beging to heal..at home and our church is our family as much as our family is…That is just my take on things, for what it’s worh…love is love..I have learned that in loving others, we find that we still have to go back to the cross and remember, He first loved me..It takes time for people to walk out of the world and catch up with where I am..I have to lead them.

    Reply
  10. Very powerful statement, brother. It’s about time somebody said it.

    This is essentially what I got from this: Unfortunately, Christians are too busy doing church work and not doing God’s work. There is a difference between church work and God’s work, but unfortunately the large, large, (large) majority of Christians have blurred the two. We get so caught up impressing our friends at church and making sure everything in the church operates smoothly that we forget about reaching the lost because we fear that the un-churched will mess up our established order.

    Unfortunately, Christians do not follow Christ’s example for evangelism. Jesus did not shake his world and turn the religious empire of his world upside down by staying within His church’s four walls and preaching about outreach and revival and how much it was needed. He did it by hanging out with the outcasts and the rebels and everybody else that the church didn’t want.

    Great post, brother. Much love.

    Reply
  11. Jonathan, This is so true. I have felt this way for many years. I believe that my church is in my heart and soul. That is where Jesus lives. And I try to show Him to others everyday, as much as I can. I have met many who look down there noses at people who don’t go to church. But, I have never come away with a feeling of acceptance from it. I feel closer to God when I go deep inside myself and talk to Him.

    This post comes at just the right time for me. I have recently considered going back to church, but more for the fellowship. My children are grown and though grandchildren keep me busy, I need more. Now, I must rethink that decision. This may be a sign that I am doing it right and am fine just the way I am.

    Blessings to you,
    Cindy

    Reply
  12. Wow, so much truth, both in your message and in the comments, Jonathan.

    I’ve been on both sides of this battle, and I still get sick to my spiritual stomach just thinking about how I’ve seen both sides. Like others I’ve tried to turn the ship, but I’m no ship’s captain, and those at the wheel too often refuse to hear this wisdom. Even what I once considered to be the best church I could imagine turned out to have this same rot hiding below the surface.

    What’s really sad is the number of people who come into a church almost dead from the garbage other churches have tried to shovel into them, yet we blow it out of complete ignorance. Too often I’ve seen people get bent out of shape over something I never would’ve imagined would happen, or that I figured the person had dealt with (in the case where I’ve known the person outside of church) … and we still blow it!!!

    Reply
  13. RealHurting Person

    Sadly this sounds like my last four experiences with different church communities. Its frustrating to come across an organization which looks great on the outside, picture perfect as a loving community, and even give months at a time only to find few have made any connection at all, and no one is willing to set aside the time to invest in knowing you…..only to ivite you to more church activities…..I’m at the point where I need someone to invest in me, and I’m not getting that with Christ’s bride. Which feels like a head against a wall.
    At a new place since Easter, praying for real community, still and still hurting deeply. Thankyou for posting this. This is the kind of honesty that. Is needed to change things.

    Reply
  14. Darrell Childress

    Awesome post, as usual, brother. Thanks for having the audacity to speak the truth to us all. I dare say that most people who would be offended by this are guilty of shunning those who are hurting, as we’ve all done at some point. Love is the answer. Let Jesus be our example.

    Reply
  15. Mama NH

    So true! This really spoke to me. I googled ” christians hurt by Christians” & found this. To add my feelings … people serving “in the church” are supposed to never hurt, must conform, never be needy, give it all & be ok without receiving anything in return (even a thank u or apology). So many in the church are hurt by the church that it leads to those coming to church for the 1st time to get ^your letter to the hurting. If we are the body?

    Reply
  16. Hilary Simon

    Sad but true. Very powerful statement, brother. Thanks for sharing your story! I’ve been on both sides of this battle, and I still get sick to my spiritual stomach just thinking about how I’ve seen both sides.

    Reply

Join the Conversation