I fight cynicism daily. And if anyone makes me cynical, it’s me … not you, not God, not culture, not the church. I want my heart to be alive and celebrating each day. That’s a choice I make with God’s help.
4. The church didn’t cause your unforgiveness.
It’s easy to hold a grudge. Get hurt (and yes, I’ve been hurt by people in the church too) and hang onto it long enough, and grudges will form.
Soon you’ll not want to hear someone’s name, let alone run into them in the supermarket.
Too many people in the church or who walked away from the church carry unforgiveness and blame the church for it.
What are you hanging onto from a bad church experience that you need to let go of?
Forgiveness is the one of most Christian things people can do. Yet it’s what far too many Christians withhold from one another.
I love how Mark Twain phrased it: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
5. The church didn’t make you lose your faith.
I hesitate to write this one. I’m a church leader. I do everything I can to help people find faith in Jesus Christ.
I also realize I’m far from perfect, that our church is not perfect, and that there never will be perfection on this side of heaven.
It breaks my heart when I hear people say, “I went to church but it was so bad/so hypocritical/so shallow I lost my faith.” I realize we don’t always do a good job. In fact, sometimes churches do a terrible job. Sometimes I do a terrible job.
But as you’ve seen throughout this piece, nobody else makes you lose your faith. That was or is a choice you made. It is.
And it’s a choice I make every day. To believe when there are more than a few reasons not to. To love when people don’t love me back. To forgive when it’s easier to hang on to the hurt. To trust when there’s probably a few reasons to stop trusting.
So if you want to believe again … believe again.
Now let me give you a challenge. I realize many of you have been hurt by the church. I realize many of you have grown cynical. And that’s true of people who have left the church and who are in the church.
Here’s the challenge: Be part of the solution. And the solution is not to walk away or be endlessly critical.
The reason I lead a church is because I believe Jesus designed the church to be the hope of the world. Churches are imperfect organizations, but they’re also chosen organizations. We’re on a mission given by Christ. We’re his chosen instrument.
I just want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The world has enough cynics and critics.
We need people and we need leaders who deal hope.
Would you be one of them? Maybe get involved again? Or join a church and decide to work toward a better future? Or start a church of your own? That would be incredible. Really … it would! We need more optimists and more people ready to make the world a better place.
I’d love to hear what you’re taking responsibility for in your life and how you’ve decided to make a difference.