Before continuing, I would like to clarify on what this post is, and what it is not. This is a very “touchy” subject for many people and for many different reasons. The purpose of this post is strictly for understanding. Everything said will mainly be based off of personal experience and opinion, but has been testified to by many other people.
WHAT IT IS NOT:
- This is NOT an anti-church or church bashing post. As a Christian who attends church herself, I both love and respect the House of God and what it stands for.
- This is NOT an encouragement telling anyone to not attend church. Whatever your faith may be or experiences you have faced, attending church is essential… at least in a Christian life.
- This is NOT a post meant to attack, anger, or offend.
WHAT IT IS:
- This is a post discussing the many ways in which the Church (as in, the body of Christ, churchgoers, clergy, etc.) can fail in helping a soul (or person, if you will…) who is in need of it.
- This post will discuss the causes and effects of poorly treating someone in the church.
- This post is meant to be an eye-opener. Please be sure to read and comprehend with an open mind.
Being born into and raised in a Christian family, going to church every Sunday was one of the many things we practiced. For those of us who continued to grow in our Christianity and came to know Jesus for ourselves, this became a practice we took on for our own means. No Christian walk is the same. Every churchgoer was at a different stage or phase of life when they first started going to church, when they joined the church, and where they are right now. The body of Christ continues to rapidly grow every day, taking in new members and believers. There are many beauties and positive things that come with being a member of the church. Restoration, peace, finding one’s self, feelings of love and belonging… the list can really go on.
But what happens when the very church turns its back on you? Like many good things that make us happy in life, there are also times when those very things affect us in a negative way.
The church was meant to be a hospital for those who need and seek help, not a hotel for those who feel as though they have it all together. There have been too many instances of new bodies showing up in church, and instead of being welcomed and fed the word and love of God, they receive distasteful stares, unnecessary commentary being made about them amongst church members, and cold shoulders. And all because they may come to church looking or acting “different” from everyone else. In cases like these, we lose people that could have been saved and added to the body of Christ. There is more than enough judgement and unfair treatment going on in the world around us, and there are many who EXPECT the church to be a place of difference. A place of a loving, more understanding standard. When we show the people of the world that we behave just like those outside, what impression does that give them of the church? What beacon of light or hope do they have left to run to? What does that say about the church?
And if it weren’t bad enough that non-churchgoers receive this kind of treatment, it is even more sad to say that members of the church receive this kind of hurtful treatment from their fellow church members as well. Young people and people who require spiritual help (deliverance) are especially mistreated. There are many good things that can be taught at church, but the church today is more so stuck in the teachings of religion. There is a wide variation of strict laws and beliefs (often times unbiblical) that are used in the church. There are many who try to convince people that the only way for God to be experienced or pleased is by abiding by these rules. This act is known as religion. Therefore, if there is anyone who looks or acts outside of religious beliefs, they are frowned upon or scolded. A person who lives out their Christian life under religious fear, usually lives a life filled with frustration and guilt, wondering if they did enough to earn God’s favor. Is this really what the church was meant to teach?
The church is both the body and bride of Christ. What many people fail to realize is that God hates the perversion of many churches that have added their own rules and standards to His genuine, honest, and simple offer of relationship and salvation. In today’s society, church is generally defined as a gathering of religious people. Personally, I find this is sad to say because that definition is very vague and often times mistaken for the religiosity previously described. God created and purposed for the church for far greater than what it is being portrayed as.
There is a traditional Gospel song that says: “Give me that old-time religion… it’s good enough for me…” In churches today, this is nowhere near the case. As times went on, many things changed. The way people worship, preach, and spread the Gospel have all evolved. Even the very kinds of people that attend church today are different from those who attended years ago. The way people dress for church is different. The thirst and need for God is different. There are only two things that will never change about church: the Word of God and God Himself. When a church refuses to evolve with the times, it can cost them many people. People who leave the church after feeling let down, misunderstood, and betrayed often change their views about church and even God as a whole. It is devastating when people feel they can receive better love, therapy, and understanding from the world than they can in a church. Churches, please take this into consideration… we lose many lives physically and spiritually by doing and focusing on the wrong things. This is spiritual warfare. The mission of churches and the body of Christ as a whole is to win the souls who are lost by introducing them to Jesus. Completing such a task requires so much more than simply telling people about God. It requires loving them, understanding them, and accepting them, no matter who they are. In a world that is taking God out of everything, the church has to stand strong and be a place of refuge.
And above all, the most important thing to remember is that God will never fail you. People and establishments will always be prone to fail, even the ones we look to for help. Stand firm in knowing who God is. Keep persevering.
The Church is the one institution that exists for those outside it.William Tyndale