When Church Hurts

I once thought hiding wrong, was right.

We heard it as kids, “Just walk away. It’s not worth it.” And frankly, most of the time, it’s not. Turn a cheek, forgive, overcome evil with good—and that’s all true. But Jesus never said hiding wrong was right. He did say nothing is hidden that will not be made known.

I knew a servant of great sacrifice. As a young woman in 1954 she put herself through college and pledged her life to serve God through the church. She became a principal—an advocate for the impoverished. And she did it wholeheartedly for many years. Withstanding injustices, dueling politics, the everyday battles of missionary life wearing her fragile faith thin. Over time she lost something vital to her overcoming. She forgot the power of Truth who drew her from the beginning.

What would be her last years in the business of religious non-profit, she was shocked to find donor money wasn’t adding up. Corruption was found out. Bringing it before directors, she was warned to shut her mouth. Afraid the many people served would cease to get help if the organization fell—she kept the threat secret. Believing hiding wrong for the sake of right, was right. Deception ever louder than the truth, she lived the rest of her precious life hostage to a lie.

Jesus was never alarmed by honesty—He was livid over hypocrisy. Saying all the right things while doing all the wrong things.

If we call ourselves Christian, and cannot trust the truth to save, how are we not acting like illegitimate children? Aren’t we unwittingly becoming members of a pious country club? An exclusive organization for recreation and social activities, presuming we’re all good enough because good is getting done? Where members regularly get together, put on airs, and practice their own personal gain?

The Body of Christ is ever harder to recognize because of its countless amputations. We’re losing the boldness to trust the truth ahead of our high-priced clubs.

“This age is full of shams. Pretense never stood in so eminent a position as it does at the present hour. There be few, I fear, who love the naked truth.”
Charles Spurgeon

Luther Ingram performed a song in 1972. If Lovin’ You is Wrong I Don’t Want To Be Right:

Am I wrong to fall so deeply in love with you
Knowing I got a wife and two little children depending on me too
And am I wrong to hunger for the gentleness of your touch
Knowing I got someone else at home who needs me just as much
And are you wrong to give your love to a married man
And am I wrong for trying to hold on to the best thing I ever had
If lovin’ you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

The song reached number one on Billboard’s R&B charts. These lyrics stayed in the Hot 100 for eighteen weeks, selling a reported 4 million copies. The song was later successfully covered by six more well-known artists, including Barbara Mandrell, Rod Stewart, and Isaac Hayes.

Sadly, this song could be our National Anthem. And I fear it’s been sung as much from Christian pulpits. If naming wrong is right, I don’t want to be right. 

A New Testament story that comes to mind is the woman caught in adultery. A perfect example of how Jesus didn’t come to leave us in darkness but to shed light on our greatest predicament, namely, who we are.

The scribes and Pharisees drag her to Jesus, not for justice, not for transparency, not to learn of His mercy and forgiveness, but for the express purpose of finding a charge against Him. Someone they envied greatly. What does Jesus say to the boys who are asking one thing and fishing for another. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Everyone who stands in the presence of Jesus cannot help being seen, regardless of whether they admit it or not, they are guilty. Wickedness at the root of us. Jesus sheds light on lies that hide—because nothing but the truth will save us.

If truth was strong enough to save our soul, why not trust truth to save us now?

“God’s heart for us is light. To shed light on who we really are.”
Mary DeMuth

We all hide. The wrong we’ve done, the wrong done to us. In darkness of heart we fear the finding out will somehow kill us. When the opposite is true. And here’s the shining truth…the only One who sees all wrong is the only One who makes all right. God was there when you did it. God was there when it was done to you. Jesus never said truth was easy, He said the truth was freeing.

“Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” Micah 7:8

6 thoughts on “When Church Hurts

Add yours

  1. Thank you, very thought provoking and humbling. The Instagram latest is a view of some of the blessing of life. My aging mind is straining itself for the beauty of the day. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh sweet Joann always love your posts and beautiful heart. How many of us were that woman that was put down to feel ashamed like God could not be bothered with us. How very untrue. I hid things for years and once I let it all out and God was there for me and anyone that wanted to have him in their life are set free and blessed. Have a beautiful day honey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Joni, that’s painfully true. Imagining God not interested in us. To busy to invest in our paltry life. What a demonic lie. The God of love delights in us! So grateful for you!


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