Friday, October 2, 2009

Why do people get upset at church?

I've been in church work for 20 years and the one of many things that baffles me (emphasis many, I'm easily baffled) is how get people in the church, who are to display faith, hope, and love, can get so upset and over emotional with each other. Why is that?

I've heard many reasons why. One of them is Christianity is something that is close to one's heart and thus can blossom into a very strong emotional issue. I can understand that. After all, the cliche' says it's the one's closest to you that hurts the most.

I beleive James, the brother of Jesus, has a more accurate answer. He writes, "Jas 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? Jas 4:2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. Jas 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."

So many times we look to the people inthe church to give us what we want. We expect church people to "act' a certain way and when they don't we get upset and mad. James here says we do not have because we do not ask God. Wow! What a condemning statement. In other words we need to be patient and wait on the Lord to provide for us and not expect the church to meet all our needs. This desire to have the church act in a certain gets in the way of faith. As a minister I have seen this time and time again. Many people drop out of church because the church did not act like like they thought it should. Also, as a minister I have to remind myself of this time and time again.

As the minister of the church I have expectations I want our congregation to live up to. I strongly desire to see people working out their salvation and when I don't see this happening it really breaks my heart. The issue is whether I let this dissappointment change how I treat my brothers and sisters in Christ. Do I let my anger get in the way of communicating with that person? Do I let my disappointed hope lower my standards for me and others?

True, the church is called to care for each other and we should obey that command. That is obvious. But the moment we look to the church to meet our needs and not God then I believe we are making a mistake. Humans will fail us, God will not. Paul writes in Colossians 3:2, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."

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