“Don’t leave the church because of the people who hurt you. Nobody is perfect, only God”

I’ll explain why this comment is not only not helpful at all, but also very harmful.


The comment assumes we can’t tell the difference between people and toxic theology, it assumes our issues are with a few people who are outliers and misrepresented God, and we just seem to think that’s the totality of divinity. Which makes us appear unintelligent and petty.

But, that’s not the case at all. I didn’t leave because a few people hurt me in the name of God, in fact I stayed long enough to get hurt again, and again, and again, and again. Because it’s not a few bad apples hurting people in the name of God what we are dealing with.

Instead we are talking about systemic abuse due to toxic theology that is taught as righteousness.

Go to any white evangelical church today and conduct all the tests you must to ensure only those who are “good Christians,” remain. I guarantee you people will be harmed there.
Not because people just hurt people, not because Christians have good intentions but sometimes make mistakes; instead because the harm is caused due to indoctrination into toxic theology and a belief that their social and theological framework is not only good,

but also the only way to have a better world and be a decent human being (which is a superiority complex that isn’t based on facts but bias).

Assuming we left because some people caused harm is minimizing our commitment to our own faith too.

Most of the people I know who left their religion, did so after years of prayer, studying, and grappling with the really hard questions christianity fails to answer. They did because they couldn’t reconcile their commitment to this faith and maintain their integrity,

not because the faith is inherently good and some people are bad. Instead because being in it made us harm people too. We didn’t want to be complicit in harmful, abusive behavior toward ourselves and others. We didn’t leave because our faith was weak, or because we didn’t

spend enough time with Jesus. Instead because we took the whole faith thing so seriously that we saw the inconsistencies and abuses embedded in it, and we refused to continue to betray ourselves and others to please a good god that isn’t really good at all.

The phrase also infantilizes us, making it seem like we don’t understand the very obvious reality that nobody is perfect and makes it seem like our expectations of Christians are just too high and we are unreasonable. Like a young child expecting too much of parents.

Except nobody ever asked Christians to be perfect, but to stop causing harm. That’s a logical standard to have. However, it is also an impossible ask when your theological framework and moral standard call what’s harmful righteousness and love.

When bigotry is institutionalized in the church as god’s word and god’s way, the most perfect Christians will be the most harmful and abusive. Not because we expected them to be perfect and they failed, instead because they were indeed perfect in the eyes of their theology.

Lastly, this comment minimizes our choice to leave our religion as just an inability to forgive, or an unwillingness to extend grace. Neither is true. Not only do we not owe forgiveness to our abusers, but most all of us have actually forgiven, forgiveness simply doesn’t

equate with reconciliation. I can forgive people and still set strict boundaries and not want a relationship with them or their theology. And grace cannot override accountability, and consequences. That accountability is not just for the people but also the theology.

Consequences are grace, impunity doesn’t help anybody, silence to maintain a faux sense of harmony ensures more people are harmed. It is gracious and kind to hold a mirror and explain how something is harmful and abusive. Shrugging your shoulders is apathy, not grace.

More from Jo Luehmann

TW: suicidal ideation.

At the darkest days of the abuse I was being subjected to I decided to attend a conference for women in Los Angeles. I convinced my mother in law to pay for it because I couldn’t afford it. @ChristineCaine was preaching. I was desperate...

I wanted to die, I didn’t see a way out and I had tried everything. I imagined many ways to die daily. The most recurring one was throwing my car down a bridge I had to drive over every day. I never did it because my kids were in the car and I was afraid one of them would...


survive or I’d kill someone on the way down.

Christine spoke about honoring your pastors even when they weren’t great, she spoke of us expecting too much of pastors and how wrong that was. She said God would use our testimony if we submitted to our pastors.


She said “honor your pastors, God will honor you.” She said more about having disagreed with her pastors but she submitted and God honored her and now she’s blessed. How if they are faithfully serving God, we need to support them and not forfeit what God has for us.


I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I got up and went to the bathroom because I couldn’t breath and I felt like I was going to faint if I didn’t scream. I now know I was having a panic attack. I sat on the toilet w/my head between my legs, breathed and wept..

More from Religion

Knowledge & Bharat : Part V

The Curriculum of Vedic Education :
According to the Ancient Indian theory of education, the training of the mind & the process of thinking, are essential for the acquisition of knowledge.


Vedic Education System delivered outstanding results.  These were an outcome of the context in which it functioned.  Understanding them is critical in the revival of such a system in modern times. 
The Shanthi Mantra spells out the context of the Vedic Education System.

It says:

ॐ सह नाववतु ।
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

“Aum. May we both (the guru and disciples) together be protected. May we both be nourished and enriched. May we both bring our hands together and work

with great energy, strength and enthusiasm from the space of powerfulness. May our study and learning together illuminate both with a sharp, absolute light of higher intelligence. So be it.”

The students started the recitation of the Vedic hymns in early hours of morning.

The chanting of Mantras had been evolved into the form of a fine art. Special attention was paid to the correct pronunciation of words, Pada or even letters. The Vedic knowledge was imparted by the Guru or the teacher to the pupil through regulated and prescribed pronunciation,

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