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Lets Talk: Overcoming Church Hurt – The Gospel Coalition

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Jasmine Holmes: Hello and welcome to, Let’s Talk, a podcast from The Gospel Coalition Podcast Network, where we seek to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. My name is Jasmine Holmes and I’m here with my friends, Melissa Kruger and Jackie Hill-Perry. Be sure to take check out the first two episodes of Let’s Talk, on witnessing and on contentment. If you’re enjoying these conversations, we hope you’ll subscribe to Let’s Talk wherever you get your podcast and also recommend it to friends. Today we’re going to talk about a difficult topic, but it’s one that has touched each of us in different ways and that is church hurt.

Jasmine Holmes: This topic is an interesting one for me because church hurt is actually the reason why I met my husband, Phillip. I was at a really small church where my dad was the pastor of preaching and I started dating another pastor’s son and we were going to get married and we had liked each other, this is like a four year situation and it crashed and burned miserably. And when it did, it impacted our dad’s relationships with each other, our mother’s relationships with each other and it was so hard because as a pastor’s kid I felt like I couldn’t be honest about how badly I was hurt by the breakup and how really not a great person during the relationship my boyfriend had been because he was another pastor’s kid.

Jasmine Holmes: And so people would be like, “What happened? How did things go?” And I would just smile and give a political answer. Like, “Oh yeah. I’m fine. Like sometimes relationships work out and sometimes don’t and everything’s fine. That’s what relationship is for. It’s fine, everything’s fine, I’m fine.” And I got really tired of doing that. And so there was a TGC conference and it would take us out of town on a Sunday. And I was so excited because I was like, “Can I please go to this conference?” Because that way I don’t have to go to church that Sunday. I can skip it, I can just go to the conference and I can face him when I get back. And that is a conference where I met Phillip.

Jackie Hill Perry: No way.

Jasmine Holmes: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Melissa Kruger: TGC bring people together.

Jasmine Holmes: Bringing people together. TGC plus church hurt equals romance, for me anyway. But as a pastor’s kid, I do have a lot of experiences with church hurt, but I’m curious to hear from people who come from different perspectives, how you’ve encountered church hurt and the ways that you’ve dealt with it.

Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. Church hurt is a thing for me. I actually taught a workshop on church hurt, I think it a TGC, maybe three or four years ago. I think my scenario is long and complicated, but it’s basically that I was a part of a church in LA and, one random Sunday we noticed that our pastor, he wasn’t teaching, which was odd. It wasn’t like a teaching rotation, like he taught every Sunday. And so they told all the members to stay after and afterwards they told us that our pastor had fallen into sin and that he would be stepping down from the church. So initially we’re grieved. We’re sad because that’s hard. That’s sad to hear. But I live with the head of women’s ministry in the church. And so, leaders have information that members don’t have.

Jackie Hill Perry: So I’m hearing more information about what had happened. And so basically our pastor had not fallen in sin. He had always been in sin, and he had been using the scriptures to manipulate women into sexual things. He was stealing money from the church. Him and the co-pastor were doing the same thing. So it just was a hot trash mess. So yeah, church hurt is a thing. I think what it taught me really is, it just made me feel like another male figure in my life was a liar like my dad, that’s what I felt like. It was like I trusted you and I thought you were the real deal, but you weren’t.

Jackie Hill Perry: But not only that, the church fractured because you had one side of the church like, “This is our pastor, he’s a brother that needs to be restored.” And then there’s another side of the church like, “No, he’s a Wolf and a predator that needs to be exposed.” And so people that were your friend a week ago, we’re now on two different sides and in two different camps to see how we all stand when it comes to this one dude.

Jasmine Holmes: That’s so familiar. The pastor that married us is currently on trial for sexual misconduct with a minor. So, I feel a lot of that.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. It’s so painful particularly when it’s a leader. Because you listen to them give you the word every week. You listen to them teach and you’re entrusting yourself to them in some way. And that’s, I think, been some of the most painful things that we’ve gone through, has been when it’s been with leadership. You expect when you’re working in a secular world, with non-Christians I expect nothing in some sense. I expect that you’re going to peel back the layers and you’re going to see lots of dirt. That makes complete sense.

Melissa Kruger: I think what’s been harder for me to reconcile is when Christians have acted in really ungodly ways and it makes you question everything. It makes you say, “Did you ever believe, are you a believer?” And they may be, I’m not saying people who do these things aren’t, but it just leaves you with this real confusion and-

Jackie Hill Perry: It’s disoriented.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And a real fear. I don’t want to end up there, because we all teach the Bible and we all write, and we all do these things publicly. I think one thing I realize is, when a leader falls into sin in a way, it affects people differently. And so it makes me want to guard myself so much more and really make sure I am doing this because I love Jesus, not because of any other thing that you can get caught up in. It shows you the responsibility of what they’ve been given. But also just the pain it can cause.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. How do you guys think that that pain can manifest in other people’s lives? So you said for you, it can make you want to be more guarded and more careful with yourself, and the way that you conduct yourself. How can it impact people in other ways?

Melissa Kruger: Yeah, I’ve watched some people just hate the church altogether. They get burned and they just walk away all together. They say, “I don’t need it.” You’ll see a lot of people say, “I still believe in God, but I don’t believe in the church.” And I had a pastor one time start a sermon off by talking about how he had this good friend and he had a good friend, but he got engaged to this girl who was just really unattractive. And he was talking about it and I was listening to him. I was like, “Where’s he going with that?” And he talked about how he confronted his friend and he was like, “Your fiance is terrible.” And all this stuff. And I was like, “Wow.”

Melissa Kruger: And he said it was actually himself with Jesus and the church. And he said, “What I had to realize was that Jesus had engaged himself to the church. And so what kind of friend could I be to Jesus if I didn’t also love his bride?” And that image has never gone out of my head of, I might need to accept that the church is going to have sinners and the church is going to … all of us are centers. The church is going to have problems. But the church is who Christ loves. And so it’s not okay for me to hate the church. It’s okay for me to say, “Hey, this person was in sin.” And to deal with that. But, what I do see, and I think the tragedy of leaders is a lot of people get done with the church altogether. And that’s-

Jackie Hill Perry: I think what I saw is that a lot of the people that I did life with after the rupture of our church, many of them, almost most of them left the faith altogether. And I think, is the church to blame for their deconversion? No, but I do think, when people, especially young … this is LA, so most of our congregation were students at UCLA, most of them being between 18 and 26 of 250. So this is young, zealous, vulnerable children. And so I think what happened is, when they’re receiving this word about Jesus from their pastor and they find out that their pastor does not love this Jesus, what does that say about the power of the gospel? It makes them think that this gospel wasn’t strong enough to save you or keep you from pimping us. So why should I believe it? And so I think that’s what happened, is that the gospel no longer felt real. And I think that’s what happens.

Jasmine Holmes: It’s hard. That makes me really sad.

Melissa Kruger: And I don’t think it’s even just the leaders. I think that’s a really painful thing. But have you all experienced church hurt on a more horizontal level? Obviously when the head pastor?

Melissa Kruger: More than more.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. So it’s like, not only can there be wolves, there can be sheep bite sheep, in the mix. How has that been a struggle in your relationships in the church?

Jasmine Holmes: Growing up, a lot of times I didn’t know who to trust in the church because they were people who … Like I remember I was 16 years old and we were out of town. And when I was 16 we’re still using MapQuest, which feels like-

Melissa Kruger: The printouts?

Jasmine Holmes: Yes, such a long time ago. So I was upstairs in the hotel, we were in a restaurant. My dad said, “Run upstairs, get the MapQuest.” And so, I ran upstairs was typing it in and my dad’s email was open and I saw an email from another pastor and it was all about me and I saw my name and so I sat down and I read it. And it was all about how I was a bad influence on the other girls in the church. I didn’t have a gentle and quiet spirit. I was leading our church in youth culture and rebellion because I was too loud and I laugh too loud and I wasn’t going to be a good wife because I was reading all of this. But it was just like a diatribe and it was all about me. It wasn’t about me, it was about my dad and he was using me to get to my dad, but his daughter was one of my very best friends and this was when I was 16.

Jasmine Holmes: So this whole big thing turned out and it was terrible and it hurts so badly and my dad handled it the best way that he could, didn’t handle it perfectly. And I still to this day have a really hard time with relationships because I’m like, “Well, are you just sitting on this colossal email where you’ve saved up every single thing that you don’t like about me.

Jasmine Holmes: When is it all going to come out?” Because I feel in a way, because we’re brothers and sisters in the faith and because our bond as the body of Christ is supposed to be so close, when that contract is breached, it just hurts so much worse than anything that ever happened to me with any other kind of friendship or relationship in my life.

Jasmine Holmes: Especially when you continue to go to that church and you continue to be part of that church. When I was 16, I was still at that church when I got married to my husband at 24. So there just were a lot of old wounds that made it really hard to learn how to navigate relationships down the line.

Melissa Kruger: Do you still hear that voice of that email in your head?

Jasmine Holmes: Oh yeah.

Melissa Kruger: The words of pastors, sometimes I wish I could tell them how heavy they fall in people’s lives.

Jasmine Holmes: Totally.

Melissa Kruger: For good or for bad. I knew a friend had done, I think it was her dissertation was on women who go to get seminary education, and a lot of it was a male pastor had said, “Hey, you should think about going to seminary.” And it just encouraged her. So it can be a really good thing. Just a few words, like on the way to the bathroom in church, “Hey, have you ever thought about doing this?” And just that little thing put her on a trajectory to go three years to school. But on the other side, I had a friend who wanted to be a missionary and basically a missionary on the field said some really hard things to her and it made her doubt whether or not she should be a missionary. It can have this. And that’s where I wonder how do you deal with that voice that can get in your head saying, “Oh, I’m not a good enough Christian woman because I’m too loud.” Or I’m too … whatever.

Jasmine Holmes: And it goes back to what you said, just reminding that it’s not the entire, like the bride of Christ, it’s sinners within the body of Christ, they sin. And that’s so true. And wherever you go, you’re going to be dealing with sinner in the body of Christ. So how do we navigate that? Because knowing that ultimately Christ’s bride is spotless is helpful but it doesn’t answer all the way how we deal with his imperfect members of the bribe right now. So, What ways have you found are helpful to deal with that church hurt, particularly when it comes to, sheep biting sheep as you put it Melissa. Jackie?

Jackie Hill Perry: It took me a while. I didn’t go to church for maybe a year or two just because it was it was hard to consider the thought of submitting myself to leadership again and being among people that made turn again, that was a fearful thing to me until I had moved back home to St Louis and I connected with a pastor. It was a random thing. I was at AAA. I saw a guy with this Bible open. It was a black dude that looked hood with a white dude that look boring. And I said, “They gotta be Christians.” Because there’s no way this is isn’t too Christian because that’s just what Christians do. So, I came up to him, I said, “Hey, do you go to church?” He said, “Yeah, I’m actually planting a church now in our first service a Sunday.”

Jackie Hill Perry: And so I went to the church and I joined. And when I met with the pastor, one thing that stood out to me is he was so different than my other pastor. He seemed so much more vulnerable and guarded and careful and holy. But then he was like, “How do you feel about the church?” I was like, “Oh, I’m cool on her. I don’t like it too much.” But he took me to Acts when Paul had met with Jesus and how Jesus so identify with his church that he said, “You’re not just persecuting the church. You’re persecuting me.” And I think that convicted me to know, “I need to love and care for the church because Jesus loves and cares for the church.”

Jackie Hill Perry: And I think that had to be the foundation for me that didn’t have empathy for the sheep and me to be gracious towards the sheep and me to care for the sheep because I’m the sheep too. And so if I want people to be patient and gracious and long suffering with me, I should be able to mirror that same kind of expectation.

Melissa Kruger: And I think some of what you were saying too is, “I’m one of the sheep too.” The grace I extend that will always need back. I’m going to say things carelessly, not even intending to hurt someone, and yet I’ll do that. And I just think of the Lord’s prayer. When it says, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive our debtors.” And when Jesus is talking on the sermon on the Mount, he’s like, “You’re going to have to forgive others.” It’s like the whole New Testament is reminding us that, yes, the spirit has come, but I’m still going to lay out what you need to do when there’s sin in your midst because you’re going to need to confess.

Melissa Kruger: You’re going to need to repent. You’re going to need to give forgiveness. The fact that all of those things are still talked about so much in the New Testament, it’s like we should know, but when it happens, it’s so painful. It’s always shocking. It’s like you know it’s going to be a part of relationship that you have to forgive and you have to ask forgiveness.

Jackie Hill Perry: And glory be to God because I just imagine how stunted my growth would be if I’d never had challenging relationships in the church. The church has forced me to learn how to walk by the spirit, therefore learn how to be kind, learn how to be long suffering, learn how to be a merciful. If everyone was easy, I don’t think I would shine as bright. Not saying I shine bright, but you get what I’m saying? I don’t think my maturity would be where it is if I’d never had challenging relationships. And so I think it’s a kindness of God actually to allow us to meet with people and be in relationships with people that force some goodness out us.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it is. I’m thinking about a conversation that I had with a friend of mine. It was a really new relationship at my current church. And she is one of the people were the minute you meet them, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I like you. I think we’re going to be friends.” And we had a rocky start after that and then finally started connecting. It was fun and easy and I’m an introvert, so people that are easy for me it’s like, I got a lot on those people.

Jackie Hill Perry: A win.

Jasmine Holmes: Yes. So we were all at a play date. We’re having so much fun. And her little boy was playing in the mud and she’s white and I’m black. In case you didn’t know that I was black. And she said, “Oh my goodness, you got mud all over yourself. You look one of Jasmine’s kids.” And it was just one of those like offhanded remarks that just like came out. And in the moment I was just like, “Ah.” And I felt myself immediately like going to that hurt space of like, “Oh, I guess we’re not going to be friends.” You say stuff like that. And I remember I was talking to a mentor of mine about it and just asking her advice, and she’s like, “Well, do you like her? Do you want to be her friend?”

Jasmine Holmes: I was like, “I did.” And she’s like, “So that one thing and now you’re not. You’re not going to be her friend, you’re not going to talk to her again.” And I was like, “I don’t want that to be the answer.” I don’t want that one thing to be the thing that separates us. But I also don’t want to talk to her because that’s going to be really hard and awkward and put me in an awkward position. And what if she comes back with an excuse or what if she says, “Don’t make everything about race.” So every time my mentor would see me, she would say, “Did you talk to her? Have you talked to her yet? Did you talk to her?”

Jasmine Holmes: And finally, finally I talked to her and her response was, “Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that I said that. Thank you for telling me. I honestly like grew up around a bunch of white people and sometimes when I try to diffuse awkwardness in multicultural settings, I say really offensive things and I should not have said that. And I’m sorry.” And it was very simple and easy. Like there were no excuses. There was no making it all about her. And I learned a very valuable lesson in that moment, which is, I could have let my hurt and past circumstances let me build a wall between me and another member of my church and me and another member of the flock. And I could have not given her an opportunity to show what a spiritually mature, kind, thoughtful, and eager to repent person that she was.

Jasmine Holmes: And it made me think about all of the other times that people have said or done things that I just took as, “Well, okay, now we’re not going to be close. Well, okay, now we’re not going to be friends.” It really made me take those thoughts captive a little bit more. And it’s of no credit to myself really. My mentor was just like, “Girl, you got to see this through.” How can we see things through with other people even when we’ve been hurt or even when we’ve seen patterns of hurt in the church?

Melissa Kruger: I love your whole story that you just told because what I love is how it was the church that helped you deal with this hurt that had come from a member of the church. I love what you said, because having someone who is speaking truth into your life that, “Hey, you need to talk to her.” Because the reality was, she needed to change. Like that shouldn’t be said. So it was actually loving. I think it’s hardest for me to confront someone on something when they’ve hurt me. It’s different. Like if I see you gossiping about Jackie and it’s hurting, it’s easier for me then to confront it. But when I hear that you’re gossiping about me or something like that, it’s a lot harder to go. But I love how you had this mentor in your life who was willing to push and say, “Have you done this really uncomfortable thing?” And then it brought this healing.

Melissa Kruger: So it’s an interesting thing. I remember Jackie one time you tweeted, “What helped me get over church hurt was the church.”

Jackie Hill Perry: What healed me from church hurt was the church.

Melissa Kruger: Yes, she says it better. Because she said it fast.

Melissa Kruger: And I think that’s so true that some of healing happens as we keep going. And you just keep saying, “I’m in this.” Even what you were saying about bearing with people and being patient and kind, those things can only be expressed when there’s someone to be patient with. You can only bear with someone in love when you have to actually bear with them in love.

Jackie Hill Perry: I do think that there are some church environments that are unsafe. Where it’s toxic, it’s abusive, it’s manipulative, it’s sinful. I think those kinds of spaces you have the right to disengage with and depart from because I think people have used or will use those scriptures to manipulate you into staying in an abusive church, that is unhealthy. And so I think oftentimes you have to actually grab a Christian or a person or a wise one that’s outside of those circles to be able to speak into your life and say, “This whole little situation is messy and you can’t even see it.” And so I think you need to pray. I think you need to consult a therapist if need be. You need to consult your family some wise people around you that can see what you can’t see. Just because I wouldn’t want people to use those kinds of texts talking about forbearance and love and kindness, but you actually using it in a way that the Holy Spirit never intended.

Melissa Kruger: That’s a really good question. How do you spot what’s abuse versus what’s normal bearing with in love. How do we distinguish that? That’s a really hard thing. Maybe this is the question. We’ve all seen churches that are unhealthy as a church. What are some signs out there that the church is unhealthy and that you should maybe consider, “Hey, this is this church whole problem.” Versus one person in the church who said an off thing or whatever.

Jackie Hill Perry: from my experience, what’s the word? A lack of transparency from the leadership. I don’t need to know all your business, but what are we doing with the finances? Why is no one ever welcome into your home? Is there a plurality? You don’t have to have a plurality of elders, but it does concern me when you’re the only person in leadership and there is no one that you’re submitted to. I think those are huge. When you’re a pastor or the pastors or the elders are confronted with sin, do they repent or do they manipulate your words to make you think that you sinned against them for confronting them about sin? That’s huge.

Jackie Hill Perry: Is there a bully culture? Because I had one of my leaders or one of my mentors, anytime she confronted the pastor with sin, he would then put seeds of things into other leaders to make them feel like she was a Jezebel. Like she just wants to tear down the leader. She is speaking against God’s anointed. So those kinds of things I think are huge signs of a leadership or a church that is not good.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, absolutely. Not having the fruit of the spirit honestly. Like what is your church exemplified by, is there love? Is there joy? Peace?

Jackie Hill Perry: Joy is huge.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, absolutely.

Jackie Hill Perry: Do people feel like God will not love them if they don’t do what their pastor says? Those kinds of things. If I don’t go to church, will people be mean to me? Will they dignify me. It’s just a controlling type situation.

Jasmine Holmes: In 1st Timothy 3:1, it talks about the qualifications of overseersabove approach, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He manages his own household well. There’s all of these qualifications for both elders and deacons that Paul lays out and when those things are lacking, when those things are missing, I think that that is a sign of an unhealthy church and perhaps an unsafe environment.

Melissa Kruger: One of the qualities that I like so much in that passage is that of gentleness. And I think so often, we were talking it, we want our pastors to be great teachers and all of these things, but we don’t necessarily look for someone who’s gentle and kind and compassionate. And in 1st Peter, it talks about not being domineering, but being an example. And that our pastors should be someone that we say not blindly, but, “I want to be like them. I want to love people like they love people. I want to serve people.” And we think about Christ who said the greatest among you will be the one who serves. And so they should be these servant hearted men that we’re looking for. And it’s really easy to just think, “Oh, but this guy’s really entertaining when he teaches. He’s really good. I want to listen to him.”

Melissa Kruger: But sometimes we don’t look at the character of their lives. And that’s always concerning because what’s going to come out of their mouth is really the overflow of their heart. And so we want to see those other actions that there really are an example, not perfect, but that they’re an example we can follow.

Jackie Hill Perry: I have a question. Jasmine told the story about how she confronted her friend, her friend repented. What do you do when you confront a friend in the church or a person in the church and they’d go repent. Or if they do, they say they do. But they don’t change like they continue to sin against you. What do you do about that?

Jasmine Holmes: My brain is buzzing like neon signs. Matthew 18, Matthew 18, Matthew 18, which is scary because it involves a lot of confrontation, which is not my favorite thing. I don’t know if you can tell, because it took me how many weeks to talk to my friend, probably like three months.

Jackie Hill Perry: But she did it.

Jasmine Holmes: I did it. Let me see. I’m trying to get to the Matthew 18. Okay, “If a brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” I got to stop there. It was nice. “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If you refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18 always puts stuff in perspective for me too because sometimes I’m really offended and then I think, is this such an offense against God that I’m willing to carry it out all the way to the end of this Matthew 18, take it before the church or is it so petty that I would be embarrassed to taking it before the church because it’s an instance where love can overlook this fault.

Jasmine Holmes: I’m thinking about the wording in 1st Corinthians 13, about not taking offense. And so that helps me balance my expectations of people and my offense at people. Is this a Matthew 18, like I need to go to you and if you don’t repent, it’s going to the church and we’re going to have to just make this a huge deal where you may even be ex-communicated or can we talk and agree to disagree and still maintain fellowship without bitterness.

Melissa Kruger: And that’s a good question because a lot of people get into a lot of big battles about what we would call disputable matters. I think Romans 14 talks about disputable matters and so there are some places that we can all spend our time fighting that aren’t sinful. You don’t necessarily like school choice or whatever.

Jackie Hill Perry: Vegan or paleo.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah. “Are you feeding your kid gluten? We need to talk.” That kind of stuff that we can get almost like, you’re not wholly if you’re not doing it my way. We all have to check that at the door. “You’re right.” But then when it is sin and I’ve been in a situation where we’ve done the confronting and there was even an acknowledgement of sin, but there was no actual repentance, of turning from the sin. And that’s been really hard for us to walk through and to know how to do that well. Just the other day I’ve been reading through the sermon on the Mount, which is so convicting, I’m just like, Jesus is not tame. He says hard things. And I was just really confronted with, loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you.

Melissa Kruger:: I don’t want to consider anyone my enemy, that sounds mean and I don’t really. But sin does persecute, we don’t want them just want to call it that heavy. But some of the things people do, their sinful actions in some sense or persecution to us. And one thing I realized I hadn’t done for this person well is just pray for them. And I was really convicted that I need to spend time, and it may go to the Matthew 18 and all of those things, but just praying that the spirit would do some work in their lives and that the words that had been said would finally go into the heart and the confrontation that’s happened would be heard and that life change would happen. But it’s really painful when you feel like you’re giving lip service to, “Yeah, that was bad. I shouldn’t have done that.” But it doesn’t feel like there’s any heart change.

Jasmine Holmes: That’s hard.

Jackie Hill Perry: I think of what’s helped me is remembering that sanctification takes a long time and sometimes I want people to be sanctified quicker than even I’m being sanctified. And so it’s kind of helped me be patient. Like this person has some trauma, they have some maturity, there might be some things that they just have to grow in. And am I willing to be that friend that walks with them as they carry their cross? The crucifixion took a long time for Jesus to die.

Jackie Hill Perry: And so I’m just not expecting a quick death sometimes. I just have to be willing to carry it with you, which is hard. That’s not easy is irritating actually. But I guess I do it with the hope that it honors Jesus and that even if no one else notices it, that he’ll honor it when I see him. I have to think that way or I’m just going to give up.

Melissa Kruger: Can I ask one question? I know we’re almost at the end because we’ve talked about church hurt and that’s obviously what this session’s on. Can we also just share how the church is a blessing? Because I know it’s-

Jackie Hill Perry: We sure have been talking about how messy she is.

Melissa Kruger: And it’s good to acknowledge that because you do need to know, she’s got some blemishes. But I think it might be an encouraging way to end, even just to think through the blessings we’ve experienced in the church. Why is it what we need? Even if it’s not perfect.

Jackie Hill Perry: I wouldn’t even be a Christian without the church because the church is the one who talks about him, about Jesus. And so the reason I’m able to believe is because somebody out of God’s church told me about Jesus. I don’t think I would know what I know to the degree that I know it without the church. Even though I went to that raggedy ratchet church, that was a hot mess in it, I was being discipled by a woman who I live with for two years, who made me get up and get in my Bible every morning and taught me how to read the scriptures and taught me how to pray and taught me how to be a person that live what I spoke.

Jackie Hill Perry: I remember my discipler, she said, “You’re on your way to being a very popular hypocrite because you’re able to communicate in such a way that people think you know what you’re talking about and that you’re living it.” She was like, “It’s my job in your life to ensure that you live what you communicate.” That’s what the church does. So even in all of that turmoil, God had a remnant for lack of better words, that helped me grow.

Jasmine Holmes: That’s huge. The church has blessed me. The story that I even just told about my friend could have been a story of church hurt and it wasn’t, it was his story of restoration and good friendship and that blessed me. I can’t even describe how much that blessed me and what a blessing she has been to me. And being able to talk to her about something that hurt me and be heard and know that she’s the type of person who will do it for me if I need it. That’s something else that we haven’t talked about. I hope I never am, but I could be part of somebody else’s story of church hurt, and I want to be able to be humble enough to hear and to change course and to repent if the conversation ever comes my way.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s good.

Jasmine Holmes: And I think that that’s a good part of the church, is that it requires that of mean and it requires that of all of us. That’s what family is.

Melissa Kruger: Yeah, that’s good. And I think sometimes I’ve been in the church so long that I forget what life without the church looks like. And I sometimes watch, as we’re one of the few families or whatever there’ll be going to church in the neighborhood. And sometimes I will admit, I’m like, “Wow, it’d be nice to have Sunday off too.” It’s terrible, true confession thoughts. But then, I’ll watch when suffering happens and when life falls apart and when someone gets cancer and when hard things happen and then you have 20 meals brought to your house and you have people who are praying and sitting around praying for your family and other people don’t have that.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s true.

Melissa Kruger: Their community is like their kid’s sports team or maybe the college they went to or the community service that they do. But we have a family. It’s really a family when everything happens they’re there. I think sometimes I forget, other people don’t have anyone.

Melissa Kruger: I know if everything happened to every family member in my life, someone in the church would have me over for Christmas dinner. There are people and they do while we love him perfectly, they do love

Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, they do.

Jasmine Holmes: That was a lighter note end the heavy conversation on. So I’m really glad that you asked that question. I think now we’re going to talk about favorite things to end it on a high note. Today’s favorite thing is what is your favorite season and why?

Jackie Hill Perry: Of course fall.

Melissa Kruger: We all live in the South. It’s fall.

Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, summer is too hot.

Jackie Hill Perry: Too hot.

Jackie Hill Perry: In fall, I can put the little scarf on, with the little boots and maybe a t-shirt. Like you can dress kind of warm but not super warm or you sweat. It’s just cute.

Jasmine Holmes: It’s cute. I didn’t do it this year, but I have to admit that in the past I have been a fan of the pumpkin spice. I didn’t do it this year though. It felt too basic. I didn’t do it. I was like, “You’re an adult now.” No more hugs and leggings and pumpkin spice lattes.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s the thing.

Melissa Kruger: My favorite is the first time I can put on a fire in the fall and hear the crackle.

Jackie Hill Perry: That’s house owner privileges right there.

Jasmine Holmes: Thanks for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk. Next week we’ll be talking about actively fighting sin. You can subscribe to, Let’s Talk through Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check out other shows from The Gospel Coalition Podcast Network at tgc.org/podcasts The Gospel Coalition connects Christians to resources that apply the truth and beauty of the gospel to all of life.

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