There is an overwhelming message coming through loud and clear; people today are walking away from church.
Could it be that we’re reeling from the 2020 Quarantine that closed churches, prohibited singing and condemned community groups - isolating the believer from any kind of fellowship, so the idea of church naturally took a back seat?
Maybe it’s that we went to church for the reason of “checking the box” for the week, but never attended with any kind of conviction, so it was easy to leave when everything went online.
Possibly, we have some old wounds that are surfacing in our emotional life and we don’t really think church is the place to help fix anything, so we cocoon into safety, choosing a random television show for entertainment instead of researching a pastor’s website for the latest archived message.
Or…you’re a Law Enforcement Officer and you’ve experienced a fair amount of ugliness within the walls of a church during your career.
As an officer you may have a solid skepticism regarding church because you’ve most likely arrested staff/volunteers after they've molested a child or committed another crime that doesn’t suit someone in their capacity. You believe they are held in high regard in the eyes of their community, leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth. You wonder how many times it has happened before and was quietly swept under the rug? With your experience, you’ve no doubt formed a strong opinion regarding church and church staff/volunteers that doesn’t shed a good light on the people of God.
Maybe you’ve been to the home of a pastor because their child is a mess, on the streets and stealing from their parents. Oh, and bonus, they have a Mercedes sitting in their driveway, so you decide that they are skimming church tithes and completely dismiss the idea of ever attending a church. It seems reasonable for you to make a judgement call regarding all pastors because you’ve seen these circumstances all too many times.
Fast forward to today, your church mentioned a cultural/political pain point within their message that doesn’t align with the Bible and seemed to “take a side” with a blind eye and a lack of true information regarding the current situation. So, basically, you’ve surmised that the congregation is against you and vow to never return again.
Hey, you’re not wrong. I apologize if you’ve been hurt by anyone who calls themselves a “Christian” or is part of the church leadership. May I also apologize for any church you’ve attended that has not been a place of refuge for you?
People make mistakes. Christians are people, which means they make mistakes just like anyone else and churches do the same. Mistakes that hurt. Short sidedness that injures. Ignorance that loses attenders. I am so sorry.
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
Rest assured, God is aware of your struggle, and He cares. Please talk openly with your spouse about how you feel. Work together towards an onramp that leads you back to church eventually. You may want to choose a bible study (online or search for a study at christianbook.com), a book (search authors through focusonthefamily.com) or a weekly, online message from a local church - prepping you for attendance when everything is open again. Or simply, find one or two couples who are on the same page of Christianity as you, and choose a book of the Bible to read through together, in person, and glean the wisdom of other believers, while inviting in the voice of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you into the obedience of the Word of God which is ripe for the picking and food for the soul.
The community of believers is not a perfected group of people, on the contrary, we're a group of people who need Jesus and go to the church for bandaging, just like walking into a hospital for sinners. We are with you and for you!
Grace and peace, Linda
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