Judgey McJudgeypants

I think it's time for me to share some of my "Offensive Christian" story. A few things have been on my mind lately, and a little history may bring the thoughts I would like to share with you into perspective.

For most of my life, I attended one church. By 24, when I left the church, I had been a member for about 17 years. I was going through a divorce at the time, and the Pastor insisted on meeting with me after my soon-to-be ex-husband had already gone behind my back to meet with him. The Pastor wanted, essentially, to convince me to work on the marriage he knew nothing about. After we talked and I made sure he understood that I found porn on my computer after 3 months  of marriage
(I'm talking about hundreds of pictures and videos in a file on my desktop one day), that my husband cheated on me for 4 months, and that I had already made the effort to reconcile our marriage and seek counseling after wanting a divorce several months earlier (at which point my husband checked out and started cheating)....my pastor proceeded to not care, tell me to my face I was an adulterer for having slept with my husband prior to my marriage (I'll come back to that in a minute) and basically told me that my efforts of trying to make my marriage work earlier that year were pointless because my husband hadn't been willing to participate.

Let me come back to the adulterer comment briefly. First I'd like to point out, that that is the wrong terminology. Secondly, he did not ask if I regretted sex before marriage (which i very much do) and lastly, it is inappropriate to use a prior sin in someones life to convince them they are sinning now.

I left his office with a vague sense that I was just threatened. My mother, who was in the room with me, had the same feeling. So I worked hard on the e-mail I was to send next. That e-mail was drafted and redrafted. It explained why I believed what I believed, and ended with me explaining that I was removing my membership. I never heard from him again.

I moved on to an amazing church shortly after. It was vibrant, full of energy and had an incredible speaker for a pastor. The sermons were always very poignant and usually you could apply them instantly to your life. I got involved in a small group of all women. I loved it. For the first year I was involved, I felt like it was exactly where God placed me. I got baptised, I was excited, I was growing in my faith and my conviction, and I loved the silliness of the girls. I periodically got the feeling that I didn't quite fit in with them however. They seemed very close with each other, but occasionally if I would invite them to my house, or to an event, none of them would come, or very few. There was really no hanging out outside the group, yet many of them would hang out with each other...unfortunately, many of the beautiful women I met in that group were extremely insecure. Most of them were single, and struggling to find satisfaction in their life situation, job, lack of a significant other etc....another thing I began to notice with them was guilt. Guilt would plague these poor girls. If they did something they considered to be wrong, they not openly felt bad about it, they had to share, ask for prayer, tell ten other people about it, and not forgive themselves. (note - this is not applied to everyone of course and I think these are all wonderful individuals even as I am no longer a member.)

Sidebar....I had a  very brief quasi-relationship  with someone before my divorce was official. I tell you this in full disclosure to let you know that I am not perfect, but at the same time would like to clarify I had been separated from my husband for many many months and was literally waiting for the paper to be signed. Also, it was not a sexual relationship. Now that that is cleared up, I can move on to the important part of my story above. During my time at this new church and developing my accountability with these girls, I got dumped from the relationship I was in at the time. Two weeks later, I met someone absolutely wonderful. I am still in that relationship and am planning on keeping it forever. It was very unique and I could tell that it was from the start. So, as I have a tendency to do, I jumped all in. I was very very excited about this guy (rightly so i might add. He's AWESOME!)  Well, in my haste and excitement, I took him to the church groups Christmas party. I kissed him in the car before getting out to head inside, and as I did so, one of the girls pulled up behind me.

We went in and proceeded to have a lovely evening. Several days later, I was getting texts about my "inappropriate" behavior. Apparently I had offended someone. For kissing my boyfriend. In the car. Before the party......I'm still amazed by this. I talked to the girls about this and explained that 1) If girl A had a problem she should have approached me and no one else. I never heard from girl A that it was an issue! 2) I didn't do anything wrong and no one should be offended.

Well, this didn't go off very well. Because I didn't say "I'm wrong for kissing my boyfriend and I'll back off immediately, I'm so sorry I offended anyone"....I was told that my behavior was not a good Christian example, that I "hop" from boyfriend to boyfriend, and the very brief relationship I mentioned having during my divorce a moment ago...that's right.... It was brought up as an example as to WHY my current situation was wrong. Wait. Does this sound familiar? Previous mistakes brought in to guilt someone into feeling bad for a current issue. When I attempted to defend myself, I was told that a lot of the girls in the group are insecure. Essentially I was being told that even if I offended someone for doing nothing wrong I should feel bad about it and change my behavior to compensate for their insecurities. 

I have a few replies to that specific issue:
1) Never assume someone is SECURE. I was told during this conversation that I am very pretty and I come across very confident. I am telling you right now, that I have been through a lot in my life, and that I struggle constantly with insecurities. Lesson number #1 - don't assume.

2) When you are confronting someone - do it out of love, not your own insecurities. Lesson #2 - Look for your internal motives before confronting anyone.

3) If you choose to confront a friend - especially when you are choosing to come from a spiritual perspective, make sure you choose your battles - is this really a spiritual issue? Or is this simple a personal boundary choice that I may not be comfortable with in my life, but isn't necessarily a "sin" or a big deal? Lesson #3 - Think through the issue.

Why am I sharing all of this? Well there are several reasons. One reason is that I have learned a lot from the mistakes I've made. I've also learned a lot about loving people. Another reason, is that I have been judged. A lot. Sometimes for the most inconsequential things, and frankly, its gets exhausting.

I love God. I love Him so much because I am a sinner who is undeserving of his Grace, yet He has so freely bestowed it. He has taken the fragments of my life and given me so much happiness restoration and security!!! I think people tend to see an imperfect person and instead of realizing they are imperfect too, they latch on to someone whose public sin MUST be worse than their private sin and so it makes them feel better about themselves.

I have lived a lot. I have made mistakes a lot. Somehow, God has used them to help me become less judgemental, more loving, and happier than ever. He certainly is a good God. I have a desire to share with women the lessons I have learned. Some through my own mistakes and some through how people have unlovingly treated me. Both are legitimate lessons. I want women to make wise decisions. I want little girls to have value in themselves so that they don't make the same choices I made. So they don't get in the same sad marriage I did. And so that they don't have to go through a divorce, to grow as harshly and as quickly as I had to do.

This brings me to my final through for the day which is actually the thought that spurred this post. Several months ago, I was walking with my Mom and talking to her about the lessons I've learned about love, relationships, and my relationship with Jesus through everything that has happened in the past several years. She asked me what I was going to do about it. I told her I wanted to be able to share with young girls what not to do. She thought it was worth pursuing so I e-mailed the church and asked if I could speak to the girls in the youth group. I never heard back.

My final thought is this: Why is it "cool" for an ex drug addict, an ex alcoholic, a rough tattooed ex gang guy, to come to church redeemed and share his testimony to others? But a divorced woman is not?

I will continue to use this outlet as it may be the only one I have to use for awhile to share some of my thoughts on how wonderful God is, how wonderful relationships can be, what NOT to look for in a man, what TO look for in a man, and oh one more thing I think I might touch on occassionally....

how not to be a Christian Judgey McJudgeypants.

Luke 1:68
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
 because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
K.T.1 Comment