You walk into the church and quietly find a place to sit. You purpose not to make eye contact with anyone because you really don’t want to make meaningless small talk, nor do you want to get into any kind of in depth conversation. You just want to be left alone. The fact that you even showed up today feels like a big accomplishment.
Life has been so hard lately and you feel like no one has been there for you.
Sitting quietly, you observe others as they make their way down the aisle. One by one they find a place to sit and settle in for the church service. One by one, as you see them walk by, you are reminded of the ways you have been let down. Thoughts begin to fill your mind and take away the desire to even be in church at all!
- You look to your left and you see someone who used to be your friend but who has moved on. There was a misunderstanding that was never resolved. Now you two never talk. You feel hurt and misunderstood.
- You notice a woman sitting off to the side. You have been going to this church for 5 years and she has never once reached out to you, even when you were the new person.
- Looking towards the front you see the person that you tried to talk with last week. The person who minimized your trials by telling you to be grateful for your blessings and then brushed you off.
- To the right you observe a group of young people sitting together. They are greeting each other, hugging, laughing and talking. This very group who has talked badly about your daughter and never includes her in anything.
- And finally you glance to your right, only to see a person you have longed to get to know. She is so self confident and has so many friends that you feel like you probably have nothing to offer her.
If it wasn’t time for the service to start, and the kids weren’t settled, you would just get up and go home. You are so discouraged. You expected more from this church. You expected more from the Church.
The Church. It can be a confusing place at times. You walk through the front doors expecting people to somehow be different than the outside world. You expect loyalty, friendship, sensitivity, and an extended hand. You expect compassion, fellowship, support and to feel included rather than excluded.
You expect more than what you are experiencing. You feel like walking away.
But what if everyone chose to walk away just because they are disappointed and disillusioned with the Church? What if everyone gave up. There would be no one left. And you know what? If that happened, there would probably be at least one person (if not more than one!) who walked away because they felt disappointed by YOU! Yes. You. Because as much as we want to believe we don’t act like “those hypocrites in the Church”, we do. I do. We have all let someone down in one way or another. It can’t be avoided.
So what do we do?
Stop expecting more. BE more.
It must begin somewhere. And when we decide that we are going to stop sitting there reminding ourselves of all the ways we’ve been let down, and choose to be MORE than what we see. MORE than what we’ve been. Then we will begin to see the people, who we feel have let us down, through eyes of grace. We will begin to see how we have also let others down. And we will begin to purpose to look for ways to strengthen the Church.
Stop expecting more. BE more.
How can you reach out and strengthen the Church today?