Evangelicalism: Martyr Complex And Shame

My upbringing in evangelicalism instilled me with a lot of shame for my identity.

While I was told that the greatest thing in the world was to find my identity in Jesus, I was also taught that I would be hated because I found my identity in Jesus.

I don’t actually remember a time in my life where I wasn’t told to expect that the world would hate me because I was a Christian. I was told to expect irrational hate thrown in my direction. I was told to expect constant rejection because the world rejected Jesus so they will never accept me.

But at the same time, I was told to boldly proclaim my faith anyway. Let people hate me. Let people be angry that I know the Saviour of my soul. Let them be jealous that they still swim in spiritual darkness.

I remember the first time a coworker asked to friend me on Facebook. To them, it wasn’t a big deal; you meet someone you are okay with in the real world, and you add them to your social network. That’s just how it goes.

But to me it was a huge deal.

I liked this person. I wanted them to like me too. But, in my mind, they only liked me because they didn’t yet know that I was a Christian. Once they saw my posts filled with quaint Christianisms, and Bible verses, they would reject me as a friend. They would hate me. it was inevitable.

My upbringing told me to accept the friend request anyway and be proud for the stand I’d taken for Jesus.

But instead, I was filled with shame for the faith I held.

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered how unusual this mindset is. People aren’t rejected because of their faith in Canada or the USA. People are rejected because they are assholes.

But my culture’s martyr complex told me to expect I would be hated and rejected for my faith.

We were so hungry to be able to claim persecution. However, we were the ones shooting ourselves in the foot all along.

Evangelicalism taught me to feel two forms of shame simultaneously:

Shame for being a Christian and shame for my shame.

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