When bad Christians happen to good women

Got in the below. My response follows it.

First, I just want to say thank you for your words on the internet for all to read! Your words have helped me beyond the imaginable.

I wonder if you could spare me some of your words of wisdom and great comfort.

I’m currently going through a painful break up with my boyfriend of over 4 years. When we met, we were both agnostic. It wasn’t a smooth relationship from the start—we argued often, I was cheated on more than once and physically hurt. However, I loved him and forgave him and I don’t regret doing so as we grew stronger overcoming these problems together.

Over a year ago, we moved to opposite sides of the globe to fulfill personal desires (though career-related). Our plan was to maintain a long-distance relationship and reunite this coming spring. The distance was great for us. Our love and conversations deepened and we even spoke seriously about getting engaged and married soon.

In the summer, he suddenly declared to me one day that he had a sudden conversion to Christianity, and so couldn’t marry me until I too became a Christian. Of course that hurt, but I didn’t start blaming religion. I just apologized each time we spoke thereafter, as I couldn’t tell him truthfully that I had also suddenly converted. It wasn’t as if I didn’t want to convert, I just didn’t feel any different.

What made it difficult was that he became the type of evangelizing Christian that you often write about. He would tell me that I hadn’t experienced a conversion because I didn’t truly want it or ask for it in my prayers. It felt unnatural and ungenuine to simply ask God to convert me. I just felt that it would happen in its own time—a belief I had since childhood. In the meantime, without rushing or pressuring myself, I began studying the Bible. I’d studied Christian literature at university, so it was fun to finally be able to share this rekindled interest with my boyfriend.

His evangelizing became more and more intense, to the point of being repulsive. He told me in an email quite recently to “hurry and save myself before the door closes,” and repeated that he will not marry anyone “unfaithful,” as these “He will vomit from his mouth” (which he followed by citing Revelations 3:16). That disgusted me, and was the final straw that repelled me away from Christianity. I started despising the religion and even considered atheism. But then I came across your website, which I can only say seemed heaven-sent.

Your words and those of others in the comments helped restore my love and interest in Christians, Christianity and . . . well, other faiths too. In fact, I realized one big but wonderful thing: I wasn’t and am not so much of an “unfaithful” as I had been made to believe I was by my ex and by those around me throughout my life. I actually believed in God and in the story of Christ all my life, but my childhood friends would highlight how (for instance) I didn’t have a middle name—and thus wasn’t baptized, and thus wasn’t Christian. Fair enough, I thought. My parents are agnostic and there wasn’t much spiritual/religious talk at home, so I didn’t worry or think too much about it at that time. It was only the repulsive evangelizing of my boyfriend that made me question Christianity and seriously think about atheism.

He and I then had a month of mostly silence. No Skype calls, no real chats by email about anything apart from his faithfulness and my “unfaithfulness.” For me, it’s been really nice. I feel my Christian walk has moved in leaps and bounds, and I can feel what I now know to be God’s love for me and for us all. Despite the pain of the (apparent) break-up, I felt joy and courage like never before in my daily life. It’s been His love, your website, and meeting some lovely Christians that have helped me with this difficult time.

This week, my ex and I exchanged some short but rather civil emails. We admitted that our love for one another still remains but for the difference in our understanding of Christianity. He said he felt sad, alone, lost, and confused about us. That saddened me of course, and since I was mainly feeling joyous these past few weeks, I thought I’d tell him that there is a way to being a good, loving Christian without all the evangelizing. I basically told him in my email to love and be loved—and that we should arrange a Skype chat in order to clarify a few things. (About me not being the Satanist he’d previously said I was, among other things!) I guess my email came across as intense and as repulsive as his attempts to convert me. I now feel sorry that I wrote him what I did, since he replied shortly afterwards with a, “I personally don’t want to talk to you. You’re of no help. Let’s not speak ever again.”

It’s hard to take, though I think maybe it’s best not to contact him until he contacts me first, if ever that should happen. Deep within, I still wish for our reunion and marriage, and for us to be able to continue on our Christian walk together. I wish he could see that one can be a good Christian without following the Bible literally or being an evangelist. It’s just so difficult to sit back and watch him follow the ways promoted by his church.

I love our God but am so saddened by the fact that it is the subject of faith that has caused our relationship to turn so sour.

Four months ago, I was a wife-to-be (though I had no ring on my finger). Now, my existence is not wanted to him at all.

And for the first time in weeks, despite feeling His undying love from above, I shed a tear of sadness and felt the pain of loneliness and heartbreak.

Wow. Men suck

Kidding!

But the fool you’ve been dealing with does suck. He’s a child. You need a boyfriend like him the way Christianity needs another Christian like him.

It’s so weird. People convert to Christianity, and it almost always turns them into dicks. I completely fail to understand that. That’s not what happened to me at all. After my Big Moment I just went, “Oh. Um. So now I’m a Christian. Unbelievable! Oh, well. As long as I don’t have to be a dinkwad Bible-quoting crazy-ass who never stops ‘evangelizing’ to the ‘unsaved,’ I’m good.” And I didn’t. And I was.

Anyway, you seem like a sweet person. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt as you have been, but glad your boyfriend is now your ex-boyfriend. And I’m really glad to know there’s one more Christian out there in the world who actually gets what being a Christian is supposed to be about.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

    The word bully is WAY overused these days, so…let me join the party. This guy’s behavior as described seems to be bully-like. His interactions with this woman were intended to coerce her through intimidation (and maybe domination). Then when confronted, he revealed himself to be a coward (“I personally don’t want to talk to you…let’s not speak ever again.”). This seems contrary to the example of Christ.

    • Coralie

      Hi there,
      The writer of the letter here.
      Your last sentence pretty much sums up my only thoughts when I received the “Don’t speak to me anymore” message.
      I have nothing to say about it all except that going to a church that knows where my faith stands (couldn’t quite call myself a Christian yet, but definitely on the path) yet accepts me has helped immensely.
      What I’m learning is that it’s a personal relationship and journey that cannot be forced. Sure, my walk may be too slow for some but boy, am I enjoying it! :-)
      Thank you John for your words.

      • deca76

        I had an ex-fiance like that as well. I had to break up with him to experience God in all his loving fullness. I wrote this some time ago, regarding that journey. http://latetrain.me/shift-the-grace-manifesto/

        I’d like to finish by saying that you don’t need a man like that in your life. He has his own path to walk. And hopefully someday, he’ll walk a lighter, more grace-filled one.

      • JenellYB

        Coralie, with loving honesty, I tell you what he is doing is not ‘Christian,’ and it has nothing to do with your walk being too slow or anything else wrong about it. I’ve lived with such people in my life, in horrible ways, including a parent that had taken up religion and the bible in this way. This is what happens when people that feel weak, helpless, to control their own lives and get others to meet their needs take up religion, God, the bible, as their ‘personal heavy,’ to demand others submit to their demands and control, and keep them always reaching for that carrot of their approval and acceptance that is always held just out of reach. or be shamed and rejected, “in the name of god.” Obviously this one hits a real trigger point for me.

      • Autumn Macarthur

        Coralie, your story makes me cry and I just want to hug you for being such a brave and honest person.

        And a loving person too. You obviously know a lot about forgiveness, to put up with the way this man has behaved towards you, both before and after his “conversion” experience.

        Sometimes God calls us to forgive and stay, but sometimes he calls us to forgive and lovingly walk away from an abusive person, knowing He intends better for us. This sounds a lot like one of those times.

        • Coralie

          Autumn,
          Thank you for your gentle words. They really touched me.
          I wish I could physically get that hug :-)
          I’ll read back on this when I’m feeling down.
          Thank you.

      • harrisco

        Good for you, Coralie! Your cheating, controlling boyfriend does not want to talk with you because you stood up for yourself, you did not bend to his will, and you were clear about your right to be who you are. He will find someone with a whole lot less backbone–which is bad for her but good for you, despite the pain now of ending a relationship. You will, if you choose, move on to some incredibly fortunate man, whom you will recognize by the sweet smile that comes to his face when he hears you talk about the joy you feel walking the path of your life. A lucky guy indeed!

      • Susan Irene Fox

        Coralie, your ex has been trying to convert you, but that is not what Jesus wanted for us. He wanted us to be disciples. Being a disciple of Jesus is a lifetime journey. Those of us who follow him understand that. It is slow. It is faith filled. It is walking with him. It is personal. It is making mistakes and learning from them. It is never harsh or accusatory. It is loving and humble and grace-giving. Just like Jesus.

  • John H.

    Coralie,

    I felt a lot of the things you felt towards Christians, I too considered atheism because like John said, most Christians are dicks. I’m not a literalist, I don’t bible beat anyone, I try to be kind and respectful of everyone until they’re less than respectful to those around them, not only does that include Christians, that puts them at the front and center when I lose my biscuits on someone, even people in my own congregation. I allow my faith to be fluid, I don’t take sermons as law, and I understand that my life is God writing my own scripture, so I don’t change my mind according to others perceptions when they “because bible” me. Fundamentalists don’t try to argue, they make bold statements of their beliefs and if you don’t just respect but follow them down their path to turning God into a reflection of their own prejudices, you are shunned or assaulted. Stay strong, they say have a personal relationship with Jesus/God, well by all means do so, and don’t let anyone else tell you how to do so.

  • BarbaraR

    *Deep within, I still wish for our reunion and marriage, and for us to be able to continue on our Christian walk together*

    Girlfriend – you don’t HAVE a Christian walk together. He is marching on what he perceives to be The Only True Way and will not consider another path. Meanwhile, you’re enjoying the view from an entirely different path and he can’t STAND it. If you join his path you will be miserable and he says your path is totally wrong.

    *I wish he could see that one can be a good Christian without following the Bible literally or being an evangelist. It’s just so difficult to sit back and watch him follow the ways promoted by his church.*

    He is thinking the exact same thing about you. The difference is, he was haranguing you about it. And he will not change.

    *I love our God but am so saddened by the fact that it is the subject of faith that has caused our relationship to turn so sour.*

    But it isn’t the subject of faith that is the problem. It’s your ex-boyfriend’s being a dick about it.

    You cannot change who you are or your approach to your faith for someone else. You will be utterly miserable if you even try.

    I know this hurts but walk away. The relationship was rocky from the start and now he is overcompensating for his part in that by being the Holy One and telling you you need to be too. He has revealed his true self and you will be better off without this kind of unnecessary drama.

  • Hth

    Christianity now has some kind of contingent relationship with your *middle name?* Jesus wept.

    • Coralie

      Hi, letter writer here.
      It was just something that kids from primary would use to filter who was baptized,/who wasn’t and therefore who was Christian/who wasn’t. I guess for those kids, baptism meant getting a middle name!

  • Timothy L. Northrup Jr.

    Amen, John. Welcome to the family, so to speak, “sister” (yes, I am that type of person from that type of tradition).

    But in any case, you can find better. I’m glad you have a community. Drop by as often as you like.

    • Coralie

      Oh, thank you, Timothy! (Letter writer here.)
      I feel so welcomed, thank you. :-)
      Your words mean a lot.

  • lymis

    I know this hurts, and hurts enormously, but in all seriousness, thank God this happened before you got married.

  • JenellYB

    My honest reaction. Get away from this power and control freak as fast as possible. As far away as possible. Take a good look at what is really going on here! This kind of “Christian” behavior is about nothing more than declaring the authority of God over another, to demand submission to them and their control. Seriously. been through too many devastating and heartbreaking experiences with this one, even from family. Maybe especially from family. If you accept THIS, baby, you are in for one rough ride down the road!

  • Sharla Hulsey

    This dude was a jerk before he ever became a Christian, and his conversion seems to be little more than a new cudgel with which to club you. Did I read it right, at the beginning of the letter, when you said he PHYSICALLY hurt you? If I did, then it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that his version of “Christianity” proves to be heavy-handed and a tool for something that verges on abuse, if it hasn’t already gotten there. You’re better off without him AND his alleged conversion. Yes, it hurts, but like a broken leg, it will heal and stop hurting most of the time–although it probably will ache from time to time when the weather changes.

    • Coralie

      Thanks Sharks for your words, especially the likening of the emotional pain to that of a broken leg!
      I do have ankle that I sprained 10 years now, if not more, and like you say, it does ache from time to time depending on the climate!
      I’ll be thinking of this when I do get that pang of heartache again and I’ll know it’s just that: another after-ache. :-)

  • Alliecat04

    This guy makes me so mad. Just reading about him makes me mad.

    Shew. Let’s see if I can be helpful despite being mad.

    Notice how when he became “Christian” it was all about YOU and what you had to do? Seems to me that if a physically-abusive piece of human garbage was truly regenerated by Christ, the first thing he would do is trip all over himself trying to make it up to you and to make sure you were never hurt again. Instead all he can do is TALK about how righteous he now is and you aren’t. Well, honey, righteousness ain’t talk.

    This man continues to abuse you. Spew HIM forth from YOUR mouth and good riddance.

    • Alliecat04

      I’m replying to myself, that’s how mad I am.

      Please, please, please, don’t wait for this guy to contact you. Don’t accept his calls. Get away, and stay away. Your Christian walk together? What about it was ever Christian? How exactly is he following the Bible literally by being an abusive bully? What verse is it that says, “And thou shalt make thy girlfriend feel like dirt?”

      How has his conversion changed him? Let me guess, he gave up some things that evangelicals claim are forbidden that the Bible does’t forbid, like using bad language or drinking. ‘Cause he sure didn’t give up anything that was hard for him and touched on his real sins. I’m betting he (a straight guy) now believes being gay is sinful. But he doesn’t believe that him judging others is sinful. Well? Am I calling this right?

      • Coralie

        You’ve hit the nail on the head… :-)
        Calling it right would be an understatement.
        It’s what his church is teaching him, the same church that basically told him to get away from me, the sinful, disrepectful, ignorant Satanist. (Yes, really.)

        And one more thing, please don’t be mad!
        I’ve let go of any anger, sadness and regret. I’m really focusing on being happy and having positive thoughts.
        Please don’t let my story bring you anger! :-)

        • Alliecat04

          Reading that you’re doing better makes me happy so it all works out. :)

    • Alliecat04

      Oh, unrelated subject: middle names.

      I don’t know where you’re from or what denomination you belong to. As I understand it, Roman Catholicism does require people to take middle names. However, my mother was baptized Baptist and then confirmed as an Episcopalian and never had a middle name. I recently learned that my paternal grandfather, a lifelong Lutheran, never had a middle name either. It’s not a requirement to have a middle name to be a baptized Christian.

      • Coralie

        Hi,
        Letter writer here.
        I’m OK about this subject now. It was the way kids from primary school would classify the Christians from the “nons”, through having a middle name (/being baptized) or not. Wasn’t a big deal I guess but it was nevertheless a lingering thought…

        • Andy

          Did they also distinguish Catholics from Christians?

          • Coralie

            Oh no, this was at primary school so I guess we were all too young to think that far down. I think it was purely innocent, just children’s chat on the playground.

          • Cristina

            I didn’t get that part, either. Jesus has a NEW name for us when we get to heaven anyway, so that isn’t an issue at all! :)

            Sorry this guys “passion” interfered with not only your relationship but, I’m guessing, any relationship he will ever have. That is so sad, that he is so missing the message that Christ wanted us to get from His time on earth.

            Please don’t let the ex ruin your perception of what a God-centered marriage really is designed to be, Coralie. What God intended, and has been twisted for generations now, is beautiful and somewhat hard to accept as a “modern day Christian”, but don’t let this guy or the rest of the world (especially feminists) dissuade you from enjoying a real relationship with a real man that God will really bring to you. :) You work on that relationship with Jesus and the rest will come in it’s own time and will be wonderful!

        • Guy Norred

          Coralie,
          I read your story last week and it broke my heart–in some ways so much so that I both wanted to say something in support and just couldn’t find the words. I have read through what people here have been saying and I admit that everything I could ever say is there. I am glad you are finding your way through this.

          As with Alliecat04 though, the middle name thing jumped off the page at me, especially as it relates to a story in my own family I have always considered an example of the love Christians should exhibit.

          My great-grandfather died when my grandfather (whose middle name was his father’s first name) was about ten. My great-grandmother was pregnant at the time and when the baby was born, my grandfather, without anyone suggesting it, said he wanted to give the baby his middle name to honor his father. He never used the middle name again.

          Peace,
          Guy

  • Mark Cee

    I’m amazed by the notion that people converting to Christianity become dicks. I converted from atheism a few years ago–I had a “big moment” similar to John’s–and it simply never occurred to me that I needed to become an insufferable Bible-thumping d-bag.

    Funnily enough, I had assumed that once I understood Christianity, I’d understand why these fundie/Evangelical types are like they are. But several years later, I’m still baffled by them. Their self-righteous, holier-than-thou, Bible-worshipping, you’re-going-to-Hell-and-I’m-not schtick doesn’t seem to bear anything in common with actual Christianity. It seems to me that people that are drawn to this flavor of the faith are those that are either desperate to be submissive to someone/something, or as in the case of the ex-boyfriend, desperate to dominate others. They’re the more dangerous variety–condemning others and insisting that it’s “love” with that kind of gleeful air that makes it clear how much they’re enjoying their Jesus-approved nastiness.

    The letter writer is lucky to be rid of this clown, whose personality flaws will no doubt be magnified 10 times by his conversion.

  • mindy

    I so get it. But this guy was a jerk well before Christianity – and all that’s happened is that his douchiness has become clearer. He cheated on you. He physically hurt you. I believe that being on opposite sides of the globe helped, because from there, he couldn’t hurt or control you. He freaked out about that. Not control you? That is NOT OK for those kinds of guys. So he came up with a new way to do so. His new “brand” of Christianity is all about control, all about female submission, and all about him being the patriarchal head over any and all decisions the two of you ever make. He can say terrible things to and about you, and blame it all on God. “It’s not ME who thinks you’re a fire-breathing Satanist, honey, it’s God! I’m just trying to save you from the doom you’re headed for because I love you!” Translation: If I can make you feel horrible enough about yourself, you’ll cave and do everything I say in order not to go to hell.” You are soooo much better off without him. I’m of the BTDT club, and I promise you, you will find someone else who will see the world from your perspective, or you will surround yourself with community and friends who do – or both – and you’ll be happy. Grieve the loss of the a future you thought you had, give yourself that time. But if you start feeling hopeless, know it never would have been beautiful like you hoped. He is simply not capable of beauty – and does not deserve someone who is.

    • Valerie

      This brand of “Christianity” is ideal for those men who are malignant narcissists. It gives them a sanctioned way to behave just as @mindy describes. mindy, well said.

      • yowie9644

        Will also second what Mindy said. I was in this same relationship. With all the control and abuse and the cheating. Then he found “God” and it just made things a whole lot worse. Whilst being an absolutely perfect model in his extremely fundamentalist church, at home it was always *my* fault for not being obedient enough, not being quiet enough, not being Godly enough etc. I can still quote chapter and verse the millions of ways i failed to live up to (his interpretation of) a Biblical Wife. And when I finally left him, well let’s just say “slut shaming”- he said terrible things about me at his church and got all the sympathy and I got all the judgement. Even a year later, when I had moved on, he informed me that he’d given me enough time to learn my lesson of ” life without God ” and it was time for me to return to my proper place – he’d be prepared to forgive me my sins against him just so my soul could be spared from hell for adultery, but I’d have to prove to him I was truly repentent this time! And yes, I had to go through a stint of hard atheism to learn that it wasn’t Jesus I had a problem with, it was jerks like him who used religion as a means of feeding their own ego.

        Mourn because your heart has been very hurt, but when you find a decent bloke who knows how to love you for you and not an extension of his own ego, you’ll know that this breakup was truly a precious gift from the one who is perfect Love.

        In the mean time, please look up narcissism and see if it makes any sort of sense. It was only once I realized that it was a mental illness that I could forgive my ex. He’s still a jerk, but it’s a pathology. And it has helped me understand how to relate to him without getting sucked back into being narcissistic supply. 1000km between us has helped a lot, too

        (please forgive typos, I’m on my phone)

  • WatchingFromOverThere

    It is quite possible and not uncommon to believe that you “love” someone who has treated you badly, but what you love is not the person but your idealized image of that person. The fact that your ex was unfaithful and physically abused you shows that he was never worthy of your devotion, that he is a jerk, and that he is simply using fundamentalist Christianity as a new baseball bat to hit you over the head with. You deserve better.

  • Matt

    I second Lymis, a thousand times over: Thank God this happened before you were married. For the record, the cheating alone would have been grounds to walk away without looking back. Like, no kidding.

    You dodged a poisoned bullet here. That broken heart will get better with time. Your life and soul sucked out over the course of an abusive marriage doesn’t heal quite so readily. And you still have your faith! You win, LW! You win so hard.

    I like it when people win.

  • Jennie

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been struggling with a similar situation, and it makes me feel a lot better about myself and my faith.

  • LostGrrl

    Don’t marry this guy! Ever!!! He is verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. I don’t care how “Christian” he claims to be, he does not represent Christ. Ask yourself if Jesus would ever say some of things he’s said to you. Even if he comes back with profuse apologies, I would be very, very weary. He has serious emotional and abusive issues that have *nothing* to do with Christianity and would likely play themselves out in the same way even if he were to convert to Buddhism or something else. I know you’re sad, but you will meet someone else that will treat you with dignity and respect, and love you for exactly who you are. The fact that he cheated on you and physically abused you in the past should be a huge red flag for you. I had a pastor once that used to say that when a jerk becomes a Christian, what is he the next day? A Christian jerk. Perhaps over the course of many years and much therapy, this Christian jerk *may* be open to being healed by God. But I wouldn’t hang around waiting for that to happen.

  • Gretchen

    I was one of those weird evangelical people sometimes. Oh, and I hate to confess that I did take the “Left Behind” Series waaaaaayyyyyy to literally. I do believe my gift is of evangelism, but more of the type of what it means to be a child of God, and the awesome parts of Jesus. I would love to go back and change my ways. I was a Christian all my life. I believed in Jesus as my Savior wholeheartedly, but I, too, had friends who said I wasn’t doing it right. I find when I look back at these types, including me, is that we were all very extreme (for example, your bf being abusive or cheating), and here was another extreme to cling onto that was supposed to be good (they even told me my parents weren’t being “good” Christians).

    You deserve someone who can share your walk with you in a way that is peaceful. If you feel it’s him, then so be it, but maybe this is a way (whether yours or God’s) of getting you out of something that was so wrong for you.

  • Bill Steffenhagen

    [Comment by otherwise fine commenter deleted because, uncharacteristically, it was simply too rude.]

    • Coralie

      She would be me.
      And, sorry to disappoint but not a blonde.
      Thanks for your words anyhow.

      • mona

        Hang in there, Coralie. God is bigger than hateful comments. She is crazy about you!

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          Yeah, that was … not helpful. I’m gonna go edit it away…

          • Bill Steffenhagen

            Thanks. I came back to try to do that myself. I really don’t know what came over me. My apologies to Coralie.

    • mona

      Rude.

  • Ami Colon-Treyger

    No offense, but he sounds like your classic narcissist who used Christianity to get his way and make you feel ashamed of who you are. Narcissists are known for doing that. He needs help, but narcissists usually don’t get the help they need because it would have to take them admitting how wrong they were. As painful as it has been for you I’m glad you’ve moved on.

    • sammysunshine

      #truth

  • Terri

    Christian or not, he is not ready to be an adult boyfriend and certainly not a husband. Before he converted, as well as after, he sounds manipulative, controlling and immature. I sincerely hope you do not get back into a relationship with someone like this, because Christian or not, this person sounds like a very poor candidate for any relationship.

  • Sugarbush43

    Sometimes it seems that people think they can’t marry someone who is “faithful” for whatever reason. A true follower of Jesus’s teachings would know that taking in a non-follower into their life is the best way to open that door he talked about.

    Of course, there are also those who use religion to be manipulative and passive-aggressive.

  • http://www.momswithapassion.com CharlotteSal

    So sucky when things like that happen. Break ups always suck and are never easy even if you are the one who breaks up. It takes a while to grieve what you thought was. I’m glad you are taking away some good education from it. Good luck in your life journey.

  • sammysunshine

    You had a lucky escape, my friend. It hurts right now, I’m sure but, you do not need that kind of person in your life. God’s word is meant to be a balm, a grace not a bludgeon.

  • Michelle Par

    What an amazing experience here. Thank you, Coralie, for both writing the letter to share your experience (which I am SO sorry you had to go through), and for being courageous enough to id yourself and contribute to the ongoing conversation.

    And thank you everyone who have posted such thoughtful, loving, Spirit filled responses. This is my kind of Christianity. Having family members who moved from a reasonable (to me, any way) form of Catholicism to extreme right-wing fundamentalist Baptist (with all the hate filled, sexist, intolerant baggage [to be fair it is more of allowing all those attitudes that were always there to come out in an 'acceptable' way]), that type of behavior of the boyfriend’s that was described hits all the wrong buttons with me. I get so angry at that crap, because I KNOW that it is all about fear (bullies are always fear filled) and control, and it is ENTIRELY unfair.

  • Kammy Valentine Benham

    Coralie,

    When I read this, I immediately noticed a running theme when it came to your relationship, please let me know if I am incorrect. He had some control issues exacerbated by societal views of how men should act: womanizing, being physically and emotionally aggressive, and demanding his way using manipulation. You feel a need to be wanted or loved, and even love him, but you obviously have seen how this relationship could be corrosive to you, to him and to both of your faith. Let’s pull back and try to view this from God’s perspective, not that anyone can presume to know all that God does, but stepping out of our emotions to look at the situation from way above.

    Your ex may have needed a more radical transformation and therefore a more bombastic type of faith, one that could get through his thick skull. You may have needed a more subtle call and relationships built on kindness to draw you into your faith. He might have had his prayer group pray for you. God may have answered with the type of love and faith that you needed rather than what he desired.

    Faith is a transformative process. We are not who we once were 20 years from the time we are saved. I want to encourage you by telling you that who he is right now is still a rough reflection of who he was, but with the seed of faith that will grow. If you love him and want him not to be a jerk, then trust God to believe he won’t be in 20 years. I should know. 25 years ago I was an evangelical right-wing Christian and today I am a liturgical leftie who loves God but understands the role of doubt in our emotional growth.

    Does that mean you should wait and hope to be together? No. In fact, Everything about your relationship has set in place bad precedents. Please consider the following.

    1. Your future relationship will be defined by the past. I have a middle school friend who still, after more than 30 years of friendship treats me like I am not as wise as she is because she’s older. In middle school, that was fine because the difference between 12 and 13 can feel immense. But as an adult there are times when I want to just scream at her for being such a bossy know-it-all when I know she’s not like that with her other friends she met much later. Likewise, your former dating relationship with this man will define any relationship you move forward with, which will ultimately limit your spiritual growth.

    2. Adam “dated” a bunch of animals too. If you get a chance read over the first chapter of Genesis. In finding a mate for Adam, God allowed him to see what was incompatable with others. (The analogy represents the potential mates as animals, which shows a good deal of humor on the part of the writer. [Note: i am not a literalist anymore].) So when you are ready to let go of him, you can be thankful that this relationship does not need to seem like a waste of your time because he’s not “the one” you will marry. It could help you to see what you desire in a mate and help you recognize those qualities right away when you see them in someone you are attracted to.

    I send this with the prayer that God will give you peace about this, and hope that you will find the best person for you in his perfect timing.

    Blessings,
    Kammy

  • Valerie

    Coralie, I’m so sorry this happened to you. It sounds like your ex was not only a bad Christian, but also perhaps a malignant narcissist. I know it hurts like crazy (been there recently myself) but rest assured, you dodged a hail of bullets with this one. I wish you the very best!

  • Michelle Kelleher

    You mentioned early in your story that he cheated on you and physically hurt you. In other words he is a bully. He just changed tactics and used his beliefs to bully you. Sounds like he was abusive before becoming Christian and he is abusive after becoming Christian. Pray for him and stay away from him.

  • Kat

    While I cannot comment on the writer’s response letter to her ex without more detail, I feel justified in saying that for the most part, I’ve found a similar response happens every time you try to tell these types of “Christians” to be more truly Christ-like. In essence, they perceive that message as no different from his messages to you, and that’s untenable to them. They’re so wrapped up and blinded by their church’s interpretation and “guidelines” that they cannot see how misguided their behavior is.

  • Elsa Wiens

    Oh, Coralie,

    You write: “I love our God but am so saddened by the fact that it is the subject of faith that has caused our relationship to turn so sour.”

    Be assured that it was never the subject of faith that caused your relationship to turn sour, but your boyfriend’s bad behaviour. From day one he was unfaithful and abusive, and continued to be so after his conversion.

    I know how this goes, I’ve been there. You keep hoping that one day he will come around. That one day you will say the right thing and it will trigger an insight within him, and he will change.

    I’m very sorry to tell you that it. will. not. happen.

    Here is a book that helped me on my journey of letting go:

    http://www.amazon.com/When-Love-Hurts-Jill-Cory/dp/0968601618/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1398647875&sr=1-1&keywords=when+love+hurts


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