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Why Are Church People So Mean!?

I have followed Christ for more than a decade so I'm beyond the honeymoon phase of belonging to the Church. I see other believers (and myself) for who they are and, because I still choose to dwell among them, I know the love of God in my heart is real.

Having said this, I strive to remain un-offendable and I do my best to avoid wallowing in "church hurt." I'm convinced some believers exist to test our character and help us grow in the fruit of the Spirit of patience.

Below are five things I've come to understand about (mean) Christians:

1. Christians tend to forget how much they've been forgiven When God forgets our sins, He puts them out of His mind for eternity. The Lord keeps no record of wrongs. When we forget our own sins, it puts us at risk for becoming hypocrites. Whether we've been walking with the Lord for a day or a hundred years, it's good to remember where we came from. This doesn't mean we should perpetually live with guilt, shame or condemnation since our past sins are under the blood of Jesus. However, it's good to recall the high price He paid to set us free. Sharing our personal testimony will help us remain humble and compassionate especially when dealing with someone else's sins (see Galatians 6:1-5).

2. Piety (spiritual pride) The Scriptures speak for themselves on this issue: "Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourself, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us" (Rom. 12:3). "If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). "Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!" (Rom. 12:16). "If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important (Gal. 6:3). "Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don't argue with them about what they think is right or wrong" (Rom. 14:1).

3. Church attendance I am a bit leery of Christians who smile at me, welcome me, and love on me...and then slowly start to see through me when I don't show up in places they expect me to be. This generation has taken Hebrews 10:25 and beaten it to death, giving no thought to 10:24. We have to stop idolizing and prioritizing buildings and programs above the Person who's leading our movement.

Now, it is my personal conviction to be in church at all the appointed service times without fail. However, I am not wholly committed to attending every single scheduled event on the calendar for the whole year. And yes, sometimes, I show up late. But I'm still saved! When we don't see someone for awhile, let's do less asking, "Where you been?" and more asking, "How you been?" Oh, and then sincerely listen to their response without being critical.

While we should encourage believers to attend family gatherings regularly, we should not expect unbelievers to keep such a commitment. Church attendance is a conviction for the Holy Spirit to work on, it is not a condition of salvation. Also, unless we know for sure our advice is welcomed, we should not assume adults need vocal accountability partners.

4. Some grow in spiritual wisdom but remain emotionally immature I am a living example of this: I know the Scriptures, I have discernment, I get prophetic downloads from the Holy Spirit, but sometimes I cut my eyes at people or ignore them completely. I've walked into church services and proceeded to stroll right past the person I just had lunch with a few Sundays ago. It's possible I may not be in the mood to chat, but I know there are times I let the devil and the flesh remind me of some offensive thing they said or did. This is a spirit of disunity at work!

We all struggle with communicating when we're having a hard time and, at some point or another, we've all shown up with a bad attitude. However, the impact everyone should feel is that church is the best place to be despite what's going on in our lives and in the world. Sometimes, we need to be brave enough to ask for prayer and fellow believers need to be mature enough to respond in kind.

5. The love of Christ hasn't been perfected within The Scribes and Pharisees were the most religiously antagonistic people in Jesus' day. They were so holy, they were too good for God Himself! At any given moment, they were ready to point out and punish the very sins the Lord wanted to forgive. This Pharisee spirit is alive and well in the one who guilt trips those with bad church attendance, the one who keeps reminding that unmarried couple they need to get right with God, the one who knows everyone's business but carefully avoids revealing their own imperfections.

Jesus said, "And why worry about a speck in your brother's eye when you have a log in your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:3, 5). We may think we're doing the right thing by exposing other's faults and nudging them toward the altar for prayer...all the while, it's really our own hearts that need to be checked. Of course, it is good to speak the truth, but it is better to speak the truth in love.

Final thoughts "Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:8). "Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too. You must have the same attitude Christ Jesus had" (Phil. 2:2-5).

"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other" (Rom. 12:9-10).

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