It’s been a while since I last updated and I suppose I just needed a really strong opinion about something to get me up & at it again. Well, it’s arrived!
Let me start out by saying I don’t want to bash good Jesus loving folks in this post. Because I am one. I love Jesus. I am not perfect, I do not pretend or try to be and I know I fall short of who He wants me to be. However, I recognize this, I try, and I surely love Him, who He is, what He represents and I try to become more like Him. I was blessed to have been raised in a Jesus loving family and have two Jesus loving parents. They aren’t perfect, either, but they have followed Him for as long as I can remember. Which is about 28 years of memories now. I can remember being a little girl- about 3 years old – reading bible stories in my bed with my mom or dad and praying for everything – and everyone – before heading off to bed. Precious moments, anyone? I was lucky to have parents who steered me in the right direction. In addition, I was lucky to have parents who taught me how to be kind. And how to love other people. And how to be humble. Of course, as I aged, I took these lessons with me as most of us do. And when I encountered situations as an adult I leaned on my lessons as a child to help me decide how to act. Whether that be humble, kind, patient – or not. To this day, I have a sense of “To each their own” embedded in me because of my Dad. Not everyone is going to act the same, react the same, believe the same. But who am I to judge? Nobody. I am nobody and I do my best not to judge an individual’s heart.
Over this past year, or, 8 months or so, I have had two extremely negative interactions with people who claim to love Jesus but who are so self righteous and judgmental that they have actually made me begin to lump Christians into a negative category. All this despite the fact that I am a self-proclaimed Christian. And all this despite the fact that I don’t like judging and I strongly dislike when others lump Christians into a negative category. But sometimes it’s just hard not to let someone’s actions impact you – and it’s hard not to get so mad at a Christian, that you then get annoyed with Christian(s).
Last summer I quickly became friends with a girl who was a fellow Jesus-loving Christian. I use the term “Jesus loving Christian” because I know many people who say he/she is Christian however they do not know who Jesus is and don’t have a relationship with him. Everyone has their own beliefs, everyone has their own level of faith and there are many types of Christians. I am a Jesus believing, saved through him by grace and truth Christian. For the sake of this post I am referring to these type of Jesus-loving Christians. Christians, like myself, who claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Our friendship started off great. We could talk about issues in the world that mattered deeply to both of us and that we both understood on a certain level as Christian women. We went to an amazing Christian concert together, and we could pray for each other. We loved hiking and it was great to get out together, as women, and hit the trails and talk for hours. Not too long into our friendship she began outwardly judging me, my past relationship with Andrew, and the men I was dating or considering dating. She attempted to set me up with a man who I had no interest in and when I agreed to one date, and then didn’t connect with him, she scolded me and told me a man’s attractiveness comes from his obedience to Jesus. Sure, that may be true once you’re with the person, but if I look at a man and I don’t find him attractive and am not interested in him, then I sure as heck am not going to just continue dating him in hopes that his devotion to Jesus will somehow turn him into someone I am physically attracted to. In any case, our friendship became one sided, and she was controlling, and I had to end it. There were occasions where she believed if she did or didn’t do something, Jesus would punish her. Or take something away from her and she would tell me this would happen to me. Before I knew it, I was miserable, I was doubting my own faith and to be honest – I was pissed off. Why are some Christians like this? Why don’t Christians, especially those ones who profess that having a personal relationship with Jesus is key to salvation, keep their own personal relationship to themselves and stop trying to impose their own relationship on someone else? I have my OWN relationship with Jesus. And it’s loving. And beautiful. And she was messing with it.
Flash forward to November when I decided to go out with CB. CB stands for Christian brother, which is what this man has referred to himself as since our date. We had met on a dating app however we had friends in common and had been popping up on each others Facebook’s for quite a while. I did not want to go out with him at first. But, I later agreed based solely on the fact that through our online interactions he seemed like a nice man who loved Jesus and the outdoors. So, I agreed.
On our date he spent most of the time talking about himself. I won’t go into details, because there is no need and those are insignificant. We said goodbye. I went home and Tyler was waiting up as he always was after I had first dates and he asked how it went. I told him I couldn’t wait to leave, it was a disappointment and the guy just talked about himself.
When I later told CB that I didn’t want to date him again he verbally attacked me online. I was not being a true Christian woman, I was not being honest, I didn’t even give him a chance. If I was expecting to like someone on the first date then I wasn’t following God’s commands. WHAT?! Yes, friends, this is real life. He went on and on. I sent his texts to my brother and a couple of my guy friends. “Run!” was their response. When I tried to tell him goodbye, he kept talking. He just wouldn’t stop.
I was so jaded after this I didn’t even want to date anymore. I had been casually going on dates with another guy at the time and he was a great Christian guy but younger than me and while it was fun to go out to dinner and the zoo and hike, I knew after a few dates that he wasn’t for me. I was done dating for a while. I deleted the dating apps. I just wanted to go back to focusing on me.
A while later, in January, he apologized over a message for how he behaved. I accepted his apology and wished him well. And then he asked me to consider donating to the non-profit he works with. I ignored the request. I didn’t want anything to do with the man. I send money to my church and to World Vision, a non-profit that supports children overseas. I thought it odd that he treat me so poorly and then ask me to donate to his charity. At that time, I deleted him from my Facebook friends list.
This past Saturday he messaged me asking me why I removed him from my Facebook (apparently he just noticed two months later? I don’t know.) He assumed it was because of Ben (Meet Ben: my amazing boyfriend who I met, randomly, on a hut trip in December. Not through a dating app full of so many fake men. We met in the most honest of ways – through common interests & a weekend snow shoe getaway with a bunch of people – and our relationship has been nothing but a wonderful surprise since) I responded and told CB that I removed him after he was rude to me in our previous messages and after it was odd that he had asked for money after how he treated me. And then I wished him well. It was a simple message, short and to the point. Nothing mean. Nothing of too much of anything, really.
His response was just about the most appalling thing I could have imagined coming from a “Christian brother” as he referred to himself as back in November when I didn’t treat a “Christian brother” very well by not going out on a second date with him.
When I gave him my response on Saturday and wished him well, his response included the following…
-I apologized didn’t I? Was that not good enough for you? Shame on you Jenn for making someone feel bad about supporting those less fortunate.
-Regarding the bf, you told me you weren’t really looking anymore and had removed all those dating apps – did you lie?
-Having an adventurous spirit and outdoorsy will be a good start to a relationship, but if you’re really the Christian you portrayed it wont be a good relationship.
-Certainly looks like you found the guy who fits all of your requirements.
-Just let him know not to try and fundraise for children because you look down upon that.
I read his response yesterday as Ben and I were sitting in church. We had gotten there a few minutes early and we were waiting for the service to start. I messaged CB and told him I’d pray for him. Because he truly needs it. And then I blocked him on everything. I don’t ever want him to contact me again. I don’t want him to be able to see that I even exist, let alone comb through my pictures and look at Ben and I out doing one of the many things we love doing together – adventuring. I tried not to think about it during church. But I was bothered. I am bothered. This is a man who is out there professing to love Jesus with all of his heart. He is volunteering overseas teaching boys to love Jesus and teaching boys how to act and this is how he acts?! This is disgraceful. I am offended, I am pissed off. And I am sad that too many of these men are the men that are leading other men, are leading churches, and are making women feel bad about themselves. And making women second guess their behavior, their decisions…
These two experiences are so negative that I have since questioned hanging out with other Christians. I was in a bible study years ago, for many years, and there was so much drama and gossip in that group that I stopped going. And I haven’t been in a bible study since then. It’s hard losing friends. It’s really hard leaving friends behind because they’re making you struggle with your faith.
I’ve been burned. And now I question whether it’s even worth it to put myself out there and meet other Christians. That’s hard because I truly believe you need to befriend those who believe the same as you. Life is tough and you need friends you can rely on, friends you can pray for, friends who can pray for you. Having a common faith to back any relationship is so, so important.
I know we are not perfect. And I know we aren’t even close. Heck, we can’t all even be what one or another of us might consider “normal”, but as followers of Jesus who are out there spreading the word on his behalf, we can at least be GOOD PEOPLE. That’s it. A good person. And she wasn’t. And he wasn’t. And that sucks.