No matter what happened to her in that church, it was wrong if it caused her to turn away from God. Christians admittedly aren’t perfect, but that’s no excuse for failing to demonstrate Christ’s love. Jesus solemnly warned, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).
The most important thing you can tell her is that God loves her, even if she doesn’t believe it right now. Christians may fail us—but Christ never will, and He alone should be the center and foundation of our faith. Pray for her, and as God gives you opportunity, urge her to take her hurtful memories and lay them at the foot of the cross. Then encourage her to look at Christ, for He alone is our hope.
I often think of the Apostle Paul in this regard. In his last letter he reminded his coworker Timothy that everyone had abandoned him when he was put on trial for his faith. But God didn’t abandon him—nor will He abandon us. Paul wrote, “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Timothy 4:17).
May you also be an example to your cousin, as you find spiritual strength and joy from your church. In addition, ask God to help you be a friend to your church’s visitors, or others who might be overlooked.