Throughout my childhood, I was warned against church. My beautiful parents were wonderful, caring, hospitable, generous, warmhearted people who DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOING TO CHURCH. They had both been hurt by it growing up. They had both encountered overt hypocrisy that made them question God. My mom witnessed insane levels of corruption in her small fellowship. She managed to keep her faith, but she hesitated to set foot in a church ever again.

My husband’s family did not go either. So when Steve and I decided, not long after we married, to commit to following Jesus, and to start going to church, it was a big deal to both of our families. They were supportive of us getting to know God, but warned us to be on the lookout for hypocrisy, deceit, and greed.

For twenty years, I’ve had their warnings in the back of my mind. Thankfully, Steve and I have been blessed beyond measure in our church communities. But, man, I get it now. On a national level, I’m seeing what my parents saw in their local churches growing up. The outright defense and rationalization of bullying, abuse of power, sexism, racism, lies, control, gross incompetence and manipulation. All shrouded in religious rhetoric and power-plays.

Of course, not all churches enable bullies, but if I were still seeking God, and I saw Christians on TV and Facebook defending this president, I would run far, far away. And I’d be right to run away. A church that defends a manic abuser is not an organization I’d want any part of, then or now. I guess I’m just like my parents that way.

People who are seeking God deserve to know the truth about Him. And the truth is that God hates abuse, He hates hypocrisy and He hates lies. He doesn’t celebrate or defend any of it, and neither should His representatives.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Proverbs 6: 16-19

 

Written by Amy
Amy Shively Hawk is the author of Six Years in the Hanoi Hilton: An Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in Vietnam, with a foreword by John McCain. She lives in Hood River, Oregon, where she serves on the elder board and teaches bible classes at her local church. In the summer, she may be found on the sunny Columbia River windsurfing, paddle boarding, or doing SUP yoga with her husband Steve and their lively teenagers, Savanna and Cruise.