What Seems Bad Might Be Good

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What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
(Luke 6:22-23)

I’ve been excluded by religious institutions. I came to them because I thought they were God’s religious elite, hoping they would help me experience God and his favor.

I was devastated when they rejected and ignored me. I felt as though God rejected me. Although I felt like worthless scum, I still kept moving toward God—anyway. I never imagined there could be blessings awaiting me on the other side.

Probably one of the worst and best things I ever experienced was rejection from religious institutions. I learned through pain that having a good relationship with a church would give me the illusion I have a good relationship with God. Some institutions even teach that: go to church, serve in church positions, and you rise on God’s favor meter. Not so!

When I finally anchored myself in God first, fearing the church’s disapproval didn’t matter as much.

Now I’ve joined the company of God’s real people. They’re few, and sometimes lonely and confused. But they’ve put God first, above church, themselves, and everything else.

Jesus says it’s always been this way.

Leap for joy? I’m not quite there yet. But I’ll get there.

Phillip Cohen