I received this guest post anonymously, from a friend of a friend. I think it’s worth our time. May we learn to love better. -Micah
content note: mentions of rape / assault
Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.
I’m sure if I do, and even if I don’t, you will be sure to tell me. But it needs to be said — I no longer cry to my Christian friends anymore. Oh, never failing idiot that I am, I try from time-to-time to seek comfort in the arms of my fellow Christ-followers… and each time walk away with more hurt and ill-placed guilt than the last.
Before I go further into my expose on my dear friends, let me be completely forthcoming: I am not an easy person to live alongside. I do my very best to fight this, but as many a good chum has pointed out — my life is the Murphy’s Law of bad things. I have not one, but two incurable medical conditions. I am a member of an abusive family with one foot in the drug world and the other behind the pulpit. I am single watching every friend I have marry their perfect man while mine tried to rape me and got away with it. He got away with it by turning twenty-eight people against me. I get it. It’s hard to know what to say to me.
But I’ve never asked for answers from my friends. I’ve never been shaken in my faith or followed a huge dramatic Path of Destruction. No, what I want from my friends is a hug. I want a hug or a cup of tea and a smile. A pat on the back for handling the worst day of my current life with a song and a sundress and the best smile I can muster through the tears.
That’s not what I get.
I get an overwhelming lack of response of any meaningful kind. I get a lot of cop outs. I get wayyyyy too much “Well, I don’t think you should complain, God has a plan you just need more patience.” One friend only responds in cryptic Bible verses, which I find entirely frustrating as he is the same friend who commends my own rather in-depth Bible knowledge. Sometimes I just get an invitiation to church, as if one hour under the same roof as their pastor is going to fix me. Usually I just get brushed off.
People don’t like not knowing what to do. They REALLY don’t like not know what to say. But Christians are the worst because somewhere along the line someone decided Christians can’t fail at things, can’t cry, can’t have the worst shitty lives possible. #blessed
I have friends who refuse to visit me in the hospital or discuss my illness because that “gives the Devil power through acknowledging the illness.” According to most of my friends, I just need more faith to walk in the healing that is somehow hovering over me but I guess I just can’t see as clearly as the rest of them.
I have had friends who preferred to believe the man who confessed to taking advantage of my body when I couldn’t fight him off, preferred to believe that he was sorry and I was too vengeful than stand beside me and testify. I had enough of those friends that he got away with it and gets to see me everyday. Now I have friends who shake their heads and talk about how unbelievable my life and my story are, they still don’t understand why I find that so invalidating. I have (male) friends who will walk away when I cry because they don’t want to give me the wrong impression of emotional intimacy…forget trying to get a hug…
All of this in the name of Christian friendships — friendships where doubt and pain and life are not allowed, but replaced with coffee, third world mission trips, and “trials” like midterms. And I’m done.
I love my friends. I really do. And I will plaster a smile on my face every day and sip my nasty expensive coffee and choke back the comments about the mission fields in everyday America that don’t require gofundme. But I will never cry to them again. I can’t keep signing myself up for that hurt. I can’t keep expecting emotional depth and discernment from a group of spiritual children.
But I will say this: Jesus asked the question. He was tired and in pain and He didn’t give up, but he still ASKED. He cried in the Garden and He was scared, too. He was willing to stick to God’s will, but he still didn’t enjoy being there.
I am not wrong for feeling this pain. I am not wrong in my fear, though perfect love casts it out. I am not wrong in seeking out the love (and, yes, hugs) of my friends when life gets me down and prayers are hitting the ceiling.
So then why do we have Christians so willing to say that I am? Why did most of you start reading this post with an air of judgement and distain? Why do we have young men among us who would rather allow a friend be crushed in pain, than risk an awkward conversation of why he was hugging the crying girl and, oh are you dating?
Since when do we stop offering human comfort and human advice (albeit usually flawed and- um- HUMAN) in favor of watching someone struggle while we pitch well-intended but irrelevant bible verses at them?
Did they not try this in Jesus’ day? Were they not chastised for leaving the lame out on their own, not helping the bleeding woman, avoiding the lepers? There has to be another way we are meant to follow and maybe, just maybe, it starts with listening to your crying friend without wondering what’s the most spiritual thing to say next …
[ image: vic xia ]
( any comments that are unkind or say “not all Christians” will be deleted )
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