This guest post was written by Alisha Walston.
To anyone who has left a church, especially those who left a church I’ve attended–I understand now my role in your story.
I left a church. It was a church I attended, and very much loved, for nearly a decade. It didn’t happen the way I planned.
In the time since I attended my last service at that church I’ve had a lot of time to learn, reflect, and get a new perspective. I’d like to extend an olive branch to anyone who has left a church before–because now, I understand what it may have been like.
I apologize for any time I judged your relationship with God based solely by your attendance at my place of worship.
I understand now that church attendance is not a golden ticket into heaven, and if you choose to worship somewhere besides where I attend Sunday mornings, that’s ok.
I apologize for assuming that you don’t attend church any more.
I understand now that just because you didn’t give me a play by play, doesn’t mean you didn’t find another place to go to church weekly.
I apologize for considering you a “backslider” if your convictions no longer align themselves with mine.
I understand now that my lifestyle isn’t meant to be your moral compass–quite honestly, we would probably be in a heap of trouble if it were.
I apologize for any texts, phone calls, remarks or questions that were judgmental or demeaning.
I understand now just how much it stings when someone you once respected asks things like “so you don’t go to church any more?” Even if they really did mean well.
I apologize for being intrusive.
I understand now the sheer terror and anxiety that can pulse through your body the moment you hear the text tone you had set for church people.
I apologize for my lack of texts, phone calls, encouragement.
I understand now how much it would mean to have a simple reminder that I didn’t cease to exist the day I didn’t show up for a Sunday service.
I apologize for assuming that you would be lost until you came back.
I understand now that you may not have left in search of anything.
I apologize for believing what I heard about you.
I understand now that even great people, friends, and leaders have a tendency to misrepresent others.
I apologize for basing my approval of your actions on the opinion of someone else.
I understand now that someone else may not have blessed your choices, but that’s ok.
I understand now that there is always more to the story.
I apologize for telling my version of your story.
I understand now that it was never my story to tell.
I apologize for allowing you to be the topic of gossip that I participated in.
I understand now that not stopping it is still participating.
I apologize for being sorry for you.
I understand now that you very well may be much better off now.
I apologize for being mad at you.
I understand now that it’s not about me.
I apologize for being unaffected by you leaving.
I understand now how unimportant that could make you feel.
I have so much hope for you.
I hope you feel at home where you are now.
I understand now how much it hurts to feel like you’re homesick or in limbo.
I hope you have grown since we last spent time together.
I understand now that you can do that elsewhere and growing is something we should all be doing.
I hope you have great memories from our time together.
I understand now how crucial it is to see the good in every situation.
I hope you have a clear perspective of what you came from.
I understand now how important it is to see what wasn’t right, so you can appreciate what you have.
I hope you found a new and better church.
I understand now that they exist and you deserve to love your church.
I hope you felt comfortable getting involved or not getting involved at a new church.
I understand now that there are times we need to just attend church and that there are times when we need to get in the mix–and it’s not always an easy transition.
A humble person who loves Jesus and who used to go to a church.
Photo via Pixabay.
My name is Alisha Walston, I’m still considered a Young Adult– which means I’m still stumbling, picking myself up and learning a whole bunch. This piece was written in a vulnerable time, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that today I am that same person, but if that version of me brings you some hope, I’m glad I was able to wear those shoes for a day.