Question: How should we respond when someone says that they don’t want to come to church because a Christian has hurt them?
The two statements I’ve heard most often from those who will not attend church are, “I don’t trust Christians, I’ve been hurt by too many of them,” and “There are too many hypocrites in church.” My usual response is, “I agree, and it’s a down right shame.” This predictably brings about an unusual reaction. Most cannot believe I’d agree so readily.
I don’t stop there, however, and neither should you. You see it’s equally important to point out that the church does not belong to Christians, or hypocrites, or those who just act like a “Christian-Wanna-Be” – the Church belongs to Christ!
I recommend that we point out that the church is not a museum for saints, but it is a hospital for sinners.
Matthew 9:12-13 (KJV) “But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Emphasis Added).
“The church should be a safe place for sinners without being a safe place for sin.” –Justin Taylor
It is important to remind them that it wasn’t God who hurt them it was another human being with flaws just like they have. I encourage those who state that “Christians” should not be acting in an offensive manner to come to church and help others know how they should act by setting the example themselves.
It is a curiosity to me how many who use these excuses continue to work alongside those who are offensive or hypocritical. They continue to shop with hypocrites, purchase items they desire or need from hypocrites, they hunt or fish with hypocrites, they attend sporting events or play sports with hypocrites, they vacation with hypocrites …I think you get my point!
There is one more very important item we should share with them – the concept of forgiveness.
Everyone has failed or hurt someone else in his or her lifetime – including the one raises this objection.
We must share the truth that Christ did relative to forgiveness…
Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV) “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Emphasis Added).
Luke 6:37 (KJV) “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (Emphasis Added).
Let us remind them they are not responsible for the actions of others they will answer to God for their own!