Hurting the church
Have you ever done something and it affected other people and you didn't realize it until after you had done it. Maybe it's something small like you ate all the lunch meat your dad needed for his work lunch the next day? Maybe it was you forgot to mail the bills for your spouse and now they are going to be late? Maybe it's a little more serious.
Maybe you did something without asking your parents permission or lied to them only to get caught and got in trouble? Or maybe you said something to hurt someone's feelings or strain a relationship and didn't realize it until it was too late? I think at times we all are guilty of making choices or decisions that are bad and we don't realize how they may affect others.It happens in our churches. People do and say stuff and they don't realize the negative impact they are having on their church family. People get so easily caught up in their own agendas, getting their way, and even sin that they hurt the church.
How many churches do you know about that have a bad or negative reputation? It's not the churches fault, it's the people who go there that give the church that reputation and many times it's more than reputation, it's true.I've been to churches where one person or family ran the church. I've seen churches where a few "loud" complainers hold the church back, and I've witnessed people who only cared about themselves and what they wanted in a church and they didn't think about the entire church body or the potential lost people their church could be reaching.
There are many people out there that simply want church to be "their way" or the way they like it and whether it's intentional or not intential, the church suffers.Our actions and attitudes do affect the church as a whole. We can help or hinder the work of God in the local church. We can support or discourage God's vision for our church. We can bring people in or run them off. We can love people as they are or we can hurt them deeply. I've talked to people over the year's who stopped going to church because of how they were treated by certain christians at a church they were once members.
I know of a church who is basically waiting for one man to die so they can finally make some changes to reach more people. Our country is littered with churches that are held hostage, slowly dying, or wounded because of the members who refuse to cooperate, unite, love, or move out of the way.We must constantly evalute our motives, our efforts, and our attitudes as we serve the local church. We must keep our heart close to the spirit of God and seek His guidance, wisdom, and will. It should be our goal to be a positive part of the local church and help it grow for God's will not ours. We need to support, encourage, and pray for our leaders, ministers, and our church. We need to serve and support things even when it's not our way, our idea, or not what we are used to or comfortable with.
I don't want to hurt the church. I don't want to be responsible for holding the church back or running people off or rebelling against God's will just so I can be in control, get my way, or hold on to some old tradition or feeling. How about you?
"try to excel in gifts that build up the church."
I Corinthians 14:12b(NIV)