An Open Letter To Ms. Hatmaker and Anyone Who Feels Lost In Good Friday
My heart breaks as I read your Good Friday blog, entitled, My Saddest Good Friday in Memory: When Treasured Things are Dead. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed many of your posts, your casual plain-speaking style sprinkled with a dash of humor for a world that takes itself a little too seriously, perhaps.
Reading your post today, your words are pregnant with so much pain that my instinctive response is to wrap my arms around you as you grieve. I cannot imagine the sting of rejection that you have experienced, nor can I envision as you describe, being on the wrong side of religion. You go on to state, it was soul-crushing. I suffered the rejection, the fury, the distancing, the punishment, and sometimes worst of all, the silence.
Cruelty, whether it is found in the world or in the church, is never an acceptable response to a fellow Christian, even if we disagree. In response to that I can only say I am sorry. I feel tremendous compassion for you in this season on your journey. You are right when you say that for each of us in life, every Good Friday has, a different tone, a different sense of perspective, and that, Good Friday is about death, even a necessary death.
I can sense in your frail disillusionment, your political disappointment, a sincere faith struggling to find its footing again. I pray you do find your footing again. I pray that your heart finds healing and wholeness as it discovers God’s purpose in this season of your life.
What I want you to know is that while much of your distress is aimed at the Christian machine, I don’t think the Christian machine is the cause of your pain. I am no fan of much in the business of Christianity or the brand-building that occurs in the name of Jesus, but that is not how I perceive the sequence of events that led to your pain.
Your pain, it seems, came from your decision to use your platform to begin speaking out against essential Biblical doctrine to which the majority of the evangelical community adheres. When anyone makes a decision to go outside of essential doctrine and begins to state positions that are in opposition to that doctrine and in addition, in opposition to Scripture, then the Christian community cannot remain silent, cannot support, cannot sit idly by while these truths are distorted, contradicted, or even denied.
Yet in saying this, instead of the cruelty you experienced, I wish the leaders in your life would have lovingly and graciously taken you aside to speak truth to you, and to bring to you the kind of spiritual accountability we all need. Romans 2:4b (NIV) tells us, God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.
I wish those who were the cause of your tsunami of terror could have expressed their disappointment, their sorrow, in the manner of a true Christ-follower.
We are not to bury the truth for the sake of love, nor are we to forsake love in our pursuit of the truth. We are to hold truth and love together, in the manner of our Savior.Ephesians 4:15 (NIV) says that, Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Scripture is clear, we are not to judge others. One look at Matthew reveals that we should not condemn, malign, or destroy another individual. We should treat everyone with the same love we were shown by God.
Matt 7:1-2 (NIV) tells us, Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
We were all created in the image of God. We are each wholly and divinely loved by God. Our worth was settled at our creation. In judging another’s character, value, or inherent worth, we judge and condemn our own. We should do our best to show honor and respect to others, whether we agree with them or not, whether they judge us or not.
Still, Scripture is equally clear that we as Believers should judge (discern, declare, assess) that which is right or wrong. We are to distinguish between that which is righteous and congruent with the Word of God, and that which is in error or rebellion to God.
Yes, we are to judge – the behavior, not the person. I will never call sin un-sin. I will never, whether mine or another’s, applaud the willful rejection of that which is true, noble, and of good report. I will never call wrong right. I cannot.
John 7:24 (ESV) offers, Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
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Colossians 1:9(NIV) shares, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.
Amos 5:14-15 tells us to, Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV) states that we should, Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
Our Christian community is being shred into a thousand little pieces. The enemy is coming after us to destroy us. The Word of God is the only thing that can give us a common foundation, that can hold us together, that can keep us strong in the face of such cultural and spiritual opposition.
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV) says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His truth doesn’t bend or pretend based on popularity or fame. It doesn’t cater to, nor does it sanctify tickling rhetoric or political agendas just to be en vogue. God is love, yet He is at the same time holy, righteous, and just. He is beautiful and unequalled. He has made a way for each of us to escape the consequence of our broken, sinful nature —His name is Jesus. He died for you and me. He can heal the deepest heartaches and mend our broken, wayward ways. He is good and yes, He is God.
Please know that as a Believer, I don’t have the freedom to pick and choose the tenets of my faith. If anything puts itself in opposition to the Word of God that has been studied by great theologians, pastors, and evangelists for thousands of years, then I must evaluate it and reject it.
I hate that your heart feels like it has been scorched to ashes, as you describe your anguish. I pray that your heart finds healing in Jesus’ presence. I pray your spiritual and emotional wounds are bound up with the salve of God’s love and truth in a way only He can provide.
While we may disagree on certain things, I pray for your healing, your blessing, and your renewal. Even though we have never met, I pray you know you are loved, and I believe this season doesn’t have to be a forever Good Friday for you. I pray that Sunday comes in your heart and that you find new life, new light as He seeks to conquer death in our lives.
His truth and His love can make all things new. Cling to both of them. Surround yourself with Godly men and women of the Word. I will hope for you. I will pray for you. And I will watch with you for the angel on the tombstone.
About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with herself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891