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I don’t know when or how this became a thing, but I’m so troubled by it. It seems like it’s almost become cool or edgy to bash the Church if you’re a young Christian. I see at least 1 post on here every single day about how the Church is falling short at this or that, and how that is apparently a good enough reason to seperate yourself from churches.
I feel like I’ve heard more types of excuses than I can count. “I’m not comfortable there. The church makes me uncomfortable”.. “I can’t connect with people there. They just dont’ ‘get me’”… “No one there wants to have deep conversations, they just want to go for a ‘good message.’”… “I don’t think the church is doing enough to love people. “..”I’ve not had good experiences with them so I don’t like the idea of trying another one.”
Believe me, I understand ALL of those excuses. I’ve used every one of those throughout my life, and some within the past couple of years, but I’ve also come to realize that not a single one of those is a solid reason to skip out on attending a church.
Comfortabilitty isn’t what church is about. For some, going to church can feel like entering a foreign country. But since when did Christ say, “I’d like you to fellowship with others and go to church, but if that doesn’t feel like your thing or it isn’t really comfortable to you, then you can just skip out on it. It’s cool.” Bad churches can leave their scars. It’s hard to want to put yourself back out into something that’s hurt you before. But It’s not fair to project bad experiences onto a church you’ve yet to attend. If you go in looking for the same issues you previously had, you’ll find some. If you have a bad attitude about it, even if you pretend you don’t, you’ll hate it. You may dislike it at first even if you have a good attitude because it’s hard to overcome the past, but you can’t let that stop you from going. It’s not fair to you and it’s not a solid reason.
Connecting with people who you don’t get and who don’t get you can seem impossible, but it’s not. It’ll be hard, and it may be slow, but true fellowship can happen. What you don’t get about them and what they don’t get about you can be overcome. You’ll never connect with people if you don’t try even when they don’t seem to be.
Deep conversations are something I long for because I value and love them so greatly. It’s true, that often times there aren’t many held within churches. I think it makes sense though. Church isn’t where we come to debate theology or map out doctrins. Church is for fellowship, for worship, to come to receive a good word. The message may not be meaty enough for you, but for someone else it may be just what they need. You have to remember that there are “baby Christians” in the church. Were you ready for deep, theologically challenging messages when you had just come to the faith? Most people need to me fed slowly, and those messages that you feel like you’ve heard over and over may be epiphany type messages for them. That’s why church isn’t meant to be a subsitute for personal Bible studies and small group meetings where you can really dig in to the Word. Church can provide a way to get to know people who are willing to talk more deeply with you even if they’re hard to find.
Churches should radiate love. If a church really isn’t loving others, than consider another church. But the lack of love in some congregations and some within the body of Christ as a whole isn’t a reason to give up on the Church or churches. If there’s a lack of love, why not be the one to go in there and attempt to change that. How can you be angry with those who aren’t actively loving within a church when you’re not willing to get in there and do it yourself?
If you’re angry at the church, harboring bittnerness and resentment, you need to have some serious conversations with God and ask Him to change your heart. The church has it’s problems, we all do, and that includes you. The initial reaction to this type of post is to start defending ourselves. We each think that our situations are just different enough to make these words not apply to us. Somehow we figure out a way to get ourselves off the hook, typically by buying into rational lies, when it comes to needing to address something.
God loves His Bride. He’s crazy about her. If you have ill feelings towards her, think about what that says, what God might feel and think about that.
In Hebrews it says,
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Are your excuses real, solid excuses? Or are they just good enough to fool yourself so you don’t have to deal with the guilt of not dealing with it?
Sounds have become so painful,
Even from once beautiful things,
Ravaging vultures screeching,
Where doves once spread their wings.
The voices that once sang brightly,
And relit the embers of my heart,
Now relentlessly bounce around my brain,
And tear my chest apart.
I weep for those days when laughter brought joy,
And pray they soon return,
Before my life goes up in flames,
And I’m forced to watch it burn.