In my job, I have the privilege of meeting a wide variety of people on a weekly basis, all with different personalities and so many different stories. Though some of them may seem similar, there is a certain characteristic that makes them, “them”, unique and deserving of their own individual attention and care. So, as a result I have begun to see the world objectively because I hear all these stories from different perspectives and realise that you cannot simply paint someone with one colour or one brush. When you take the time to converse with people you realise that labels cannot be simply given and left as that. People evolve they grow they develop and are shaped by their individual paths.
I recently had the privilege of having this beautiful soul open up to me and I was able to see a glimpse of her world and her interaction with the people around her. One of the conversations we had was when I asked her if she attended church or a youth group of sorts, to which she replied, “I used to”. Naturally I went on to ask why? To which she told me that her uncle had been diagnosed with cancer. At this point I thought her uncle had passed away and that this may have rattled her faith. I believed that this would be the worst outcome to this story, but I was saddened because it was not the worst. She went on to tell me that she and her family reached out to the church to have a blood drive at the church site and raise cancer awareness. The church simply said “no” – no reason, no explanation, no further assistance or follow up. Church, she believed was meant to be a community – there to help each other and strengthen each other, and in one of her darkest moments, all she got was a “no”. It is then human nature that tries to speculate and understand the actions of others. Already, she had been accused by members of the church of being too much of a free spirit and described as hippie based on the way she dresses and the people she associates with, so already, struggling to fit in, she began to believe that the reason she did not get the aid she hoped for was because of her “flawed” personality.
These series of events left me feeling troubled because we as the church are turning away God’s people. We are essentially saying that if you do not meet a certain code or standard there in no room for you. We are preaching a message of unattainable perfection. And this is one of many examples I have come across. Someone once described the church as a hospital where the sick are brought to be made well, to find healing and yet we often cast away the ones in greatest need. But are we not going against the very message of Christ? Christ says, “come to me all who weary and broken hearted”. He associated with outcasts of His day; from the tax collectors right up to the lepers. He was never afraid to be “guilty by association”. I am not condemning the church leaders for choosing not to help but they could have offered more than a “no” because as a result they lost a member of their flock who will eventually seek refuge elsewhere. As the church our place is to simply open the doors and allow the true physician to bring healing.
Jay For You