“Thousands of people in this world profess to be happy without God. But if we could be truly happy and moral without Jesus, then why did He come? He came because that kind of happiness and peace is only superficial. Jesus Christ came to “bring…a sword” through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.”-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest
I have seen it with my own eyes. There are thousands, maybe millions, who profess to be happy without God. Tragically, many of them were raised in the church, in Christian professing homes, and yet, they have exited the institution and many have severed their relationships with family and church family.
It is tragic, but I get it. There’s no judgement here, only grace.
These same individuals have often times been deeply wounded and severely disappointed by the men and women who taught them The Way. Again tragically, faith, hope, and love found only in the Person of Jesus Christ, have been overshadowed by doctrinal differences, corporate mentalities, and human power struggles within “the church“. In fact, some churches have wandered so far from the red letters that they should start selling tickets for admission for the entertainment factor alone.
While churches continue to come up with more and more programs and strategies to bring people in the doors, there are generations of people walking away from a faith that they now consider a fraud.
First, I want to say to those individuals who have been deeply wounded and severely disappointed by man and/or woman of the church, “I’m sorry this was your experience. I’m sorry you’ve been hurt by those you once trusted.”
Yet my question for those individuals is this: If you could strip away all your negative experiences with “the church”, let go of all your expectations of the institution, and agree that “the church” (not as Jesus ordained it, but as mankind has invented it) is flawed, then, when all that negativity is neutralized . . . what about Jesus?
What do you do with Jesus? What do you do with the red letters and the cross and the empty tomb?
Matthew 10:32-34 in the Amplified Bible (which gives an amplified definition of the original Greek) says, “Therefore, the one who confesses and acknowledges Me before men [as Lord and Savior, affirming a state of oneness with Me], that one I will also confess and acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven. But the one who denies and rejects Me before men, that one I will also deny and reject before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace on the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword [of division between belief and unbelief].”
To those who have walked away, I would ask, was your faith in man, or in Jesus? Man will always disappoint. So then, what about Jesus?
As Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Jesus Christ came to ‘bring…a sword’ through every kind of peace that is not based on a personal relationship with Himself.” The question is not church or no church, doctrine or no doctrine, it’s a question of belief or non-belief.
In Mark 8:29 (ESV) Jesus asked his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
I know this could become a two year long conversation with lots of counseling in between, so all I ask is that we start the conversation.
And remember there’s no judgement here, only grace.