Most people, pastors and laypeople alike, become disappointed with their church.
People are flawed, and since churches are made up of people, churches are flawed. If we’re not careful, though, this disappointment can turn into discouragement, frustration and anger.
So if disappointment is inevitable, how do we avoid the awful emotional turmoil that often follows?
One word: expectations.
The reason we become discouraged is due to the mental expectations we set for people in church.
Let me ask you a question: In the deepest recesses of your heart, what do you expect from the people in your church?
Do you expect them to behave properly all the time?
Do you expect them to always act spiritually mature?
Do you expect them to never offend others?
If we’re honest, we often set higher standards for others than we do for ourselves. We give ourselves leeway because we judge ourselves by our motives, but we judge others by their actions.
I was recently telling a friend about a person in my church who disappointed me. I took it very personally and was becoming discouraged.
Then my friend asked me, “Is the church a gathering of saintly people, or a hospital for the spiritually sick?” That question frankly reminded me that my expectations of church people are sometimes unrealistic.