How many reasons come to your mind as to why people leave the church? In my last post, I talked about why we need to go to church. If you need to leave the church because of life changes, find a Bible teaching, missions/service-oriented, God worshiping church. Remember, no church is perfect because people are not perfect. So why do people leave the church and never return?
The Number One Reason People Leave the Church Is Being Offended.
Have you been offended by someone or something in the church? What was your natural response when you became offended? Most offended people simply leave the church and lose their faith, which is Satan’s goal for all of us. Like I said in my last post, people are messy, and so is the church. Jesus said in Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
We know that sin separates us from God. And we all know Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That is true, but that is not the final word. If that is all there is, then we will live defeated lives. Romans 3:24-25 explains the remedy for our messy sin, “And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” We receive the gift of redemption (which is salvation from sin and God’s wrath) by the grace of God through faith. “And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 3:8-10).” A work in progress is not perfect, nor is it pretty, so we need to be patient with each other and encourage one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
How Should We React to Offensive People?
We need to see each other as saved sinners who are being made holy as God is Holy. Hebrews 12:14 states, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” When we become offended, we often become depressed or contentious, then bitter. Note that verse 14 says that no one will see the Lord without holiness. Becoming holy is the process of transforming sinful thinking with the truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:2). This is why you need to stay in church, so you can practice being holy and transform your sinful thoughts, not only with your church family but also with your family at home.
Being holy is living an obedient life that strives to please God, knowing we will stand before Him to give an account of our actions. 2Corinthians 5:9-10 states, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
We won’t live holy lives all the time, because inevitably, we will react from our sinful nature and offend someone from time to time. Being offended by other Christians is nothing new. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church about what to do when they became offended. Colossians 3:13-15 states, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Peace and thankfulness go a long way. Being forgiving and thankful saved my marriage many times because you can’t be offended when you choose to live in love and peace by forgiving and being thankful. Does the peace of God rule in your heart? If not, you may have a past offense that needs to be forgiven. My book on my website helps you work through the many offenses in our hearts.
Excuses Why People Get Offended and Leave The Church
People do not want to tithe.
Don’t like the worship.
Don’t like the Pastor’s wife.
The pastor or music director had an affair.
Don’t like the changes.
The Pastor is boring (sometimes valid).
The people in the church are hypocrites.
The church doesn’t use King James Version.
The Pastor didn’t come to visit me when I missed one Sunday.
The list can be a lot longer, but you get the idea. Notice that being offended is focusing on the things you do not like and can’t control. I have to confess that I left several churches because the music was too loud, and I felt like I was at a rock concert. To me, that is not worship. Some people are drawn to that kind of worship, don’t know why. I can’t imagine God rocking out (just dated myself).
My point is that there are many different kinds of churches with various worship styles, ministries, and preaching styles. My second husband and I changed churches so our sons could go to a robust youth group with a dynamic youth pastor. We were their youth leaders, and we were failing. I have known families leave the church because of a change in the mission statement. If a family leaves the church, I recommend checking on them to see if they found another church home. Encourage those who leave for whatever reason to persevere in their faith and remind them that they will stand before God. Encourage them in their salvation and the need to nurture a holy life so they will spend eternity with God.
John 3:36 states, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
And, Romans 6:22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.“
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