I had an unusual conversation Friday night. A friend of mine (I’ll call him Redleg) and I were together with a man who was hurt by the church – and he’s not going back. He was very open about it and I found the dialogue very interesting. It sounded like he was very active in a large church at some point, but now he isn’t. In fact, his theology has totally changed to a “many roads lead to God” type of belief system, and he admittedly doesn’t care about eternity. At some point, he let it slip that it all hinged on how the church reacted to his divorce. A linchpin. He got hurt and that was it.
Nothing was solved. We listened and tried to encourage him before our time together was over. I’ve heard about people such as this, and quite frankly, I’ve been disillusioned by church over the past couple of years also. In fact, my family is winding down a year long search for a new place of worship. So I could totally sympathize with his resentment toward how he was treated. But whatever happened caused him to abandon his faith and that makes me sad.
The thing I’m still wondering about happened after he had left though. Redleg and I honed in on two totally different aspects of the man’s dilemma. I lamented how the church reacted while Redleg felt as though the man was running from truth. I know the Bible is firmly against divorce, as am I. I further know that we need to speak truth and be a light to those around us. But I couldn’t help think that if the confrontation had been handled in love, this man might not be floundering in his faith.
Somehow, truth and love have to coexist. Is the modern church doomed if they can’t? Redleg is a “truther”, and I’m a “lover” – and we are still friends. We admittedly don’t know the entire circumstance that brought this man to where his is, but isn’t it odd how two believers went totally different directions in response to it?
(photo credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli)