China Chiristian Daily

- August 24, 2017 -

Church

Reflection from a Sister's Quitting Church: Is Church Still Full of Love?

By CCD contributor: Lin Wanxi
on December 28, 2016 01:12 AM

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She left the church and gave up church ministry. I visited this church only to find that she had left. I was surprised because she used to be so eager to serve regardless of her family's opposition. I contacted her and she told me several disappointing things in the church which discouraged her from staying any longer.

To be swept in a dispute and abandoned by the church

One of the sister's relatives has left the church and others thought that the sister would also leave. Every time the relative contacted the sister, others in the church would look at the sister with such a strange look as if she wanted to leave. Her enthusiasm for serving the church was extinguished by them. She was so determined to take root in the church, but she was misunderstood because the person who had left the church had a relationship with her.

To be envied by others in the church because she was in a romantic relationship

The sister used to have a close friend in the church. However, their relationship has changed subtly since she fell in love with another Christian. A woman in love can not hide her joy. Her close friend was always single so she felt imbalanced. The friend often used some hurtful languages to attack her. Although the sister still smiled, her heart has been hurt again and again.

When she was crossed in love, she was criticized severely.

When the sister was crossed in love, she was ready to open her heart to the church and pour out her feelings. The believers didn't treat her with love or tolerance. They took out the scriptures of the Bible and told her that she was wrong. They asked her to repent and make amends. As a result, she shut up and stopped talking about her pain. People in the secular world can listen to her story and comfort her. Gradually, she rarely came to the church and then left.

Some people say that the mistakes of brothers and sisters should be immediately pointed out so that they won't went to hell. However, we should always remember the words of Jesus. We shall love God with our heart and soul. This is the greatest priority of all the commandments. We should also love others as ourselves. This two pieces of commandments are the general principles of all the law and words of prophets. (Matthew 22: 37-40)

A church should be based on love instead of only commandments. If we only emphasize commandments, we are no different from Pharisees.  If there is no love in the church, the church will lose its attraction. Jesus is the head of the church. If Jesus did not have love, how could he be crucified for us? God is love, so how can we abandon love?

The same story of the sister can also be seen in the church. Believers left with disappointment because they didn't feel love in the church. I have sorted out a few phenomena for reference.

Only remain the contents of serving God without God's presence

Luke 10: 41-42 "Jesus said to Martha that regardless of  all his troubles he should never give up the happiness chosen by God."

Nowadays, many churches emphasize service. They have good bands, equipment and faith courses. They are busy with all kinds of church affairs. However, few of them can feel the presence of God. If the fellow workers can't be touched by God, how can ordinary believers feel the love of God? A group of people with common beliefs have entertainment activities together in the name of serving God.  They could deceive themselves. However, they could never deceive God.

I have attended several prayer meetings in some churches. Believers just listen to leaders' boring and loud prayer words. Ministry without the spirit of God is a failure.

No love or tolerance. Just endless criticism.

When faced with difficulties and pains, we are often very clear what our own mistakes are. However, there seems to be a small child in our heart. We need to be comforted and understood. After we calm down, we will get to understand the words of the Bible.

We went to the church and put away all our camouflages. We want to get help and encouragement which can cheer us up. However, we often hear such words:"This is your own problem. I can not help you. You should ask God." "You have come across such a thing because you have not obeyed the commandments of the Bible. You are a sinner according to the scriptures of the Bible." All the brothers and sisters began to accuse each other of their faults. However, such communication is so cold and lacks the milk of human kindness.

Such a church will split over time. Isn't the church a place to heal the pain and calm down? Next time when someone comes to the church and complains about his life,  we should give him Jesus' love. God tolerated the woman who committed the adultery. She knew that she had gone against the commandment. Others thought the woman should be killed but Jesus chose to comfort and protect her. He told her not to make mistakes again and gave her peace and opportunity finally.

Some pastors pay too much attention to God's justice and ignore the grace of God

Nowadays pastors can choose to preach in the church or on the Internet. No matter where they preach the gospel, they would choose to promote God's grace and blessings at most time. However,  some churches put more emphasis on God's justice and judgment. Therefore, their audience is more accustomed to reviewing and judging others with the teaching and rules of the Bible.The Old Testament is as important as the New Testament. Every word of God is truth.  In God's opinion, love is as important as judgment. The church should be like this too.

The church should be led by Jesus and be human-oriented. The rule is not as important as love itself.

Many years ago when I was still in my senior year,  the church I was in set a rule that brothers and sisters of the church were not allowed to fall in love. They could only fall in love after senior year and they must receive a whole year of biblical study.  If they break the rule, they must break up with each other, or they will be expelled from the church.

At that time, I have graduated from university and studied the Bible for nearly three years. I was in full compliance with the conditions, so I fell in love. A pastor of the church added another rule that the spiritual level of the couple must be equal to each other.My lover had only learned the Bible for one year, so we were forced to break up.

People in love always have extraordinary courage, so I refused to break up. Then three pastors of the church met and decided to drive me out of the church. However, a pastor proposed to change the church rules after three days. The church used to forbid love. According to the new rule, believers could fall in love under the right guidance of the church. Later on, I knew about the matter. I had great respect for the pastor because he gave me tolerance and guidance instead of driving me out.

The church has too many rules, but the disciples of Jesus picked wheat to eat when they are hungry. Jesus said they are not allowed to eat that wheat according to the regulation. However, he still let them eat it. Another rule in the Bible is that the sick are not healed on Sabbath Day. God still treat the sick on that day because God pays attention to humans instead of those regulations.God's love is warm. However, the rule is cold.  People's heart are nourished by God's love.

All above are the problems of the church. However, we ourselves have many shortcomings. If you find a problem in the church, you also need to promptly communicate with the pastor instead of complaining about the church. It is better to take this opportunity to make our hearts stronger and warm the others with our heart.

Revelation also warned us not to lose the original loving heart. Faced with our brothers and sisters, we should be more tolerant and considerate. We should never be a chatterbox who only criticizes others. The characteristic of Christians should be love towards everyone. No matter how evil a person is, God already loves him.

Translated by Emma Ma

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