Lately, I’ve read and have heard so many people explain why they’ve stopped going to church. This started coming up before COVID-19, so, that is not a factor. Many of those who have left one church for another, or simply left church altogether, carry a sadness that is almost palpable. And, although I could relate to many of their stories and even had shared experiences, I have learned a secret that I thought to share with you.
It all started when I was meditating on the principles of love. I assumed that I was being led to write about the benefits of practicing love. I had the title and opening sentence already planned when I was reminded that, when it comes to the Holy Spirit, I am to be led and not to lead. So, I got out of the driver’s seat and begin to learn some amazing things.
Many of the reasons we have, give, and hold on to for leaving a church can be categorized in two areas: members and clergy. Think about it, it’s either a sister or brother that said or did something hurtful. Or the pastor, his wife, or staff said or did something hurtful, right? If I say that the pain inflicted is not such a big deal or that we should simply overlook those events, I would be a hypocrite. But more than that, I would be insinuating that this trial can be overcome by our might or power.
That is just not the case. It CANNOT be done in the flesh. Overcoming the struggles of hurt , offense, disappointment, and shame in any church home takes The Holy Spirit of Jehovah God working with the reawakened (reborn) spirit of every believer. And, yes, you already know that it is a process. The process begins when we relinquish our right to act. It sounds simple but this is most difficult when we know we are right.
We were created to have dominion over ourselves and all that we own so, when we encounter injustice against ourselves or what we own, we loose dominance. That is what our anger, fear, tears, and shame is all about. And our natural instinct is to ACT in order to regain dominion. Unfortunately, the fall of man perverted our actions. So, the ways we go about regaining what we lost can be destructive, counterproductive, and at times just plain crazy.
Here’s the secret, you must yield your spirit to God! The Holy Spirit works within our spirit to bring us back into alignment. He brings us in line with God’s way of doing things. It’s in our yielding that He works. And, because He created us to be unique, He knows what works best for each person.
Once you are fully engulfed in this process with Him, EVERYTHING else fades away. Yes, even the church member, pastor, staff, etc. When we yield to Jehovah’s Holy Spirit, there is a shifting: it is no longer about you and the church. It becomes all about you and God. This place, this place is so special because it empowers you to operate in the natural realm without malice, bitterness, or vengeance. You will walk into that church or another church and become a part of that body of Christ. This place is where we “work out our own soul’s salvation with fear and trembling.” This is Christianity.
Growing up, I heard many people say, “going to church does not make you a Christian”. My grandmother, the grammarian, brought it home for me when she explained, “just like standing in a garage does not make you a car: sitting in a church does not make you a Christian.” She must have discerned that I was a visual learner because, when I heard that, I got such a powerful picture in my mind that I wanted to know if going to church didn’t make me a Christian, what did? I believe it was then that I started seeking to know Jehovah God for myself. I’m so glad that He was there waiting for me.
So, what now? What should you do if you’ve already left a church? How do you move forward if you’ve already ACTED in ways that you know were not pleasing to God? Let me remind you that you are a child of God. Start by going back to Him. That is what being a Christian means for us: we can get back to our right minds and go back to our Father.