I don’t go to church because of the hypocrites. I don’t go to church because most of the people who go there say one thing and then do something different the next day. If you were to invite someone to church in the last decade and they were looking for a good excuse not to join you, you likely heard a response just like that. I don’t go to church because of the hypocrites, either. I go because of God. Jesus is the person who invited me to church. Yes, he may have used someone to deliver that message to me, but ultimately Jesus is the one who put on flesh to come and ask me to be a part of his body of believers.
You’ve Almost Got It:
In John chapter four, Jesus takes his followers directly through Samaria, a region they had been taught to avoid their entire lives. Jesus will often direct us as his followers to go right through those situations we desire to avoid and he stays there with us until we’ve conquered our issues. In this passage, we see people who were prepared to meet Jesus, but those who presumed they knew where Jesus was going and took their own path missed what Jesus did along the way (which was meet those who were waiting for him). However, even those who closely followed Jesus messed up when they had an encounter with a woman who desired to be in Jesus’ presence. His disciples scared this woman away by the disgusted looks on their faces.
Wow! Can you imagine the feeling this woman has. She has just met the Savior of the world, but she feels afraid to be in his presence. She has just heard how Jesus can change her life forever, yet his followers don’t appear to have changed completely. She’s in love with Jesus, but had to move away from him because of his followers. In America when we are hurt by Jesus’ followers, we call that “church hurt.” As a pastor, leader, and fellow Christian, may I extend an apology to you for any of the wrongs that may have occurred to you because of church people. Some of it may have been unintentional, some of it may have been ignorant, some of it may have even been in blatant rebellion and disobedience, but all of it was wrong and none of it deserved to happen to you. I am sorry for any hurt that the church has caused you. Don’t go to church because of the hypocrites, go because of Jesus. Just because his followers may still be growing through their flaws, doesn’t mean that God is. Just because we mess up, does not mean that God has hurt you. God would never hurt you. He loves you and he has given it all to be in a relationship with you. I’m sorry for any pain that we may have caused in your life, but please never ever allow that to stop you from having a relationship with the perfect God who will always be all you could ever need.
Getting Beyond It:
The good news for his followers is that Jesus didn’t leave them there to deal with their issues on their own. Jesus sat right there with them and did not continue forward on his journey until he could empower them to overcome their flaws. No matter what Jesus will not leave you in your life. As his people, though, we have been empowered by his Holy Spirit to overcome the issues within our life. We should become more like Jesus today than we’ve ever been in our past because his mercies are new every day. Refuse to contribute to someone’s church hurt. Dare to go through the areas in your life that you’ve wanted to avoid that Jesus may use you to reach those who are prepared to meet him.
Pastor Zac Breckenridge