I’ve been attending a church for a few months, and have intentionally taken it easy and carefully. I’ve now been invited to attend a home group and I’m really conflicted.
Part of me, says no don’t do it. Church people can have very unwise opinions, very re-traumatising advice. And due to my past experiences of abusive and unhealthy church people, church is not a ‘safe’ place.
But, another part of me is saying don’t dismiss these people, based upon other church people.
I think I need to decide if I am strong enough, and resilient enough to hear potentially unwise and hurtful ‘church people’s’ opinions. Is the potential harm, going to damage my health more? Is it worth the risk?
Sadly, too many church people participate in victim shaming and shame shifting – further traumatising abuse survivors. Too many churches enable and condone abuse, with their twisted and unwise interpretation of Bible verses. Too many protect and enable abusers. Too many churches encourage child abuse and domestic violence. Too many churches encourage narcissism, sociopathic behaviours and feel entitled to abuse people. And do so with no remorse, no shame, no guilt. Such as abusing LGBTIQ. Such as abusing abuse survivors – shame-shifting about not ‘forgiving’ or not showing ‘mercy/grace’. I could write pages about unwise church people issues. In fact, I have so much experience and knowledge of all this, I could write a book and I do have 12 chapters in mind.
There’s a part of me that knows, if this church proves itself to be really unsafe, really unwise, really stupid and traumatising – especially in the way they deal with abuse survivors and perpetrators of abuse, I think it will be the final straw, when it comes to attending church.
This is the third church I have attended in the last 4 years, and it will no doubt be the last if there are issues I cannot tolerate.
So, there is a part of me that doesn’t even want to find out. Because if I find out this church is unsafe, I will not attend or put my children at risk or around unhealthy people.
But, there is a part of me, that has hope these people, are going to be healthy, wise and safe.
I have to decide if the potential good, is worth the risk of the potential bad results of getting to know them?