Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where I Used to Go to Church

Someone recently reminded me of a story of a man who spent five years isolated on a deserted island. When rescued those rescuing him noticed three straw huts, and asked him what they were. "That first one," he said pointing, "is my house." "The last one over there is where I go to church, and the one in the middle is where I used to go, but we had a split over what the preacher was being paid."

It is sad that Christians will let simple things of likes and dislikes, the opinions of others, or financial disagreements get in the way of their walk with God. There may be a right time to look for a new church home, but too many of us swap churches quicker that we change automobiles. Before we leave a congregation where we invested so much time and energy, we ought to try to get along.

Jesus said the world would know His disciples by their love (Jn 13:35). Leaving in a tiff, does not demonstrate love.

Jesus also taught conflict resolution,
  • "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Mat 5:23-24)
  • "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Mat 18:15-17)
Notice that Jesus teaches that whether I am the offended or the offender that I am the one to make the first step is seeking reconciliation. It is always my turn as God's child to try to work things out.

Take time to study through these verses again, and pray for the strength to put them into practice.



MC said...

This is one thing I miss about the Catholic church. If you disagree with someone, you have to either make up or endure each other. Usually, you can't split. I have had to explain to my mom that the majority of the congregations in the county were not built because of splits.

Scott said...

Yes, most in our county are from rural communities and limited ability to travel.