Bad experiences can turn people away from church forever

Isabel Ward

Church can be a place of community and growth, but it can also be a place of spiritual hindrance. Many church members have had their faiths trampled by people in the church who have hurt them and therefore decide to stop attending.

Judgment is one of the main reasons people stop attending church. Church members should be aware that this is a major deterrent for many people. Instead of judging people who are different from them, they should embrace them and make them feel comfortable in church.

Being hurt by others can be a damaging thing. For most churches, love is preached on the pulpit to be the way to treat others, and it is hurtful to church members when others do not display this action.

Tajanae Roberts said that when the church she was raised in found out that she was a lesbian they would say things like why did she look like a boy and to come back when she wanted to be saved.

“It made me feel bad about myself, like who I was,” Roberts said.

People go to church to be helped, not hindered in their faith. One of the main reasons that people attend church is for fellowship with others who will help them along in their walk of faith.

Roberts said she still struggles with her faith because of what happened to her and probably will never go back to church.

“I was a big believer in the church and now it’s kind of like I don’t know whether I do believe in God or not,” Roberts said. “It’s like – if there is a God – why would something like that happen to me.”

Senior music major Nicole Crawford said that people in a church that she went to would not be friends with her because she was opinionated.

“I remember feeling in a smaller bible study there were just looks that people would give me and I could tell either they just didn’t like what I was saying or they didn’t like the fact that I was speaking at all,” Crawford said. “Or I just wasn’t the right type of person.”

It’s difficult to continue to practice your faith when people are not reciprocating actions that are taught in church – like loving those who are different from them.

“Its hard in those situations to then know that you’re supposed to love on this person that is not loving you back,” Crawford said. “I think it’s easier to love if you are receiving something back.”

The church is meant to be a place where believers can develop stronger faiths as well as stronger bonds. When this bond is broken due to another’s actions, some people often are hurt and leave the place that they sought for guidance and relationships without ever returning.

Senior environmental studies major Patrick Fisher said he stopped attending church because of an incident that occurred while he was working with his church at a food pantry. He said a member made up a story about how he was only helping out for personal gain instead of for other people.

“It was a personal conflict that happened to be spread around the church and made me look bad,” Fisher said. “I felt like I didn’t belong there. And I felt hurt.”

He said he thinks judgment played a big role in what happened to him.

“People need to take what is said at face value. And they need to be understanding of the situation and not form an opinion of somebody based on something that somebody else has said,” Fisher said.

People feel judged because they feel like they are lacking something and people look down on them because of it.

Roberts said she got embarrassed when she brought her friends to the same church that rejected her one Easter Sunday and the bishop stopped everything he was doing to ask her why she came to church looking like a boy.

“It wasn’t ‘I’m glad you’re here that you decided to actually come’ it was ‘why did you come looking like that,’” Roberts said. “But they say come as you are. So I was really confused.”

Church members should make others feel accepted in church – instead of pushing them away because they feel the person is wrong.

People need people to help them along the way, and being judged can break not only faith in a higher being, but faith in people.

“They just kind of put themselves up there above everyone who’s doing what they consider wrong,” Roberts said. “And I guess me, I’m just me I guess.”


Isabel can be reached at: [email protected]