It amazes me the reasons people will give for abandoning things... especially their churches. You know, rough spots come. Things get tough for all of us. Things upset us. Things scare us. We did not get our way... and maybe we were treated badly...but is it so bad as to abandon where you've staked out ground and have awaited your harvest? I've listened to some people I know recently who attended a church where things went wrong and the church ended up closing. They now are attending a church where, by their own words, the church is dry and just about dead. When they were asked why they did not go to another church where they used to attend, they said that because the church that closed was of the same denomination, they will never go back to another church in that denomination. I'm sorry... that is just foolish. That would be like someone walking into a Pizza Hut and having a bad experience in that one restaurant, so they decide they will never eat at another Pizza Hut. A bit of an over-reaction there, don't you think? But this is what this family has done regarding where they attend church. They are suffering and are frustrated for it.
Similarly, I've had people tell me that they were leaving their church because someone in the church offended them. They said their pastors preaching and teaching has helped them to grow, but their feelings where hurt by someone else, so they are leaving. That leaves me scratching my head. Let me illustrate this in another way. We are visiting with my in-laws right now, and twice this week, I've been deeply offended by something that family members have said. How foolish would it be to walk in and tell my wife, "your family has offended me, and while I love you and the past 26 years have been wonderful, I'm leaving because your family member offended me." Pretty silly; right? But this is exactly why these folks want to divorce their church. I just preached a sermon where I talked about standing your ground, even if everyone else ran away and fighting for the ground where you have staked your ground, and planted seed. You can abandon your garden now... or you can fight for it and reap your harvest. Most will run in tough situations. People who understand the value of the harvest will fight for the promise that is theirs... their harvest. In the Bible, one man stayed when an entire city fled. He stood with his sword drawn and fought an entire army for the place where he had planted his seed. While everyone else ran... he stood alone... and and he defeated an entire army and reaped his harvest.
People need to ask themselves is this really so serious that I want a divorce? Am I ready to throw it all away over this? Is my anger or hurt feelings directed at the right place? If this was a marriage, would I divorce over something like this?
I just saw and re-posted something on Facebook this morning which triggered this blog. It said, "Don't do something permanently stupid just because you are temporarily upset." Good words right there!