I’m going out on a limb today and discuss a somewhat touchy subject.
Surfing the internet this week, looking at different church sites, I noticed an interesting trend. Many churches state or imply the reasons many people don’t come to church and learn about Jesus is because they have been disappointed by “church people”.
“If only there were a church that was more accepting of me then I would want to learn about Jesus.”
While I most definitely agree many Christians have done a poor job representing Jesus, I hardly believe this is the biggest reason they won’t come to church. I know countless Christians made to feel guilty because they feel it is their fault people aren’t running to accept Jesus Christ. Yes, many reject the message because of the bad examples they see.
However, I believe it runs much deeper.
The misconception many have of our fallen world is that everyone is jumping at the chance of becoming a Christian…of only we in church would act better. It is a belief that is causing us to completely misunderstand the foundational teachings of human nature, and ironically, miss a great opportunity to bring people into a deep discipleship.
We humans have a sinful nature. Period. We like sin because sin is fun. The fall of man began when mankind set itself up as god over God. In other words we told our Creator that we don’t need him and we can do things ourself. Since then, the world has experienced disastrous consequences; countless wars, famine, disease, not to mention the infinite evil we commit to each other on a daily and hourly basis through our words, thoughts and actions.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites continually rejected God and embraced all types of evil. And these were the people who God was revealing himself to! Fast forward to the days of Jesus and the picture remains the same. Jesus called many people to follow him. Many did. However, most did it for completely selfish reasons: healing, power, you-name-it. In the very end, Christ was left with a handful of disciples. And even they deserted him. Move ahead a few decades and you see the apostles being beaten and killed for preaching the message.
So much for a world yearning for Jesus Christ.
Jesus stated “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. (Matthew 7:13 NIV). Christ would later send out his disciples to places throughout the region. He told them to shake the dust off their feet when coming to a town that rejected the message. Jesus understood human nature.
Most everyone on the planet is interested in something that will bring them peace. As long as it does not require any major change to their thinking or behavior. However, the way of Jesus demands a complete change in our spirit and soul. It is a process that demands my all. And that is something many, if not most, are simply unwilling to do.
Don’t misunderstand me. Yes, we Christians need to be filled with the message of hope and love. We need to be people ready to provide the answer for the hope within us to those searching for truth. We have often acted poorly and that has turned away seekers. But we should never be people with a watered-down idea of discipleship. In fact, we actually do a terrible disservice to humanity when we fail to provide a true foundation for lives earnestly seeking for truth.
The biggest reason most people are not attracted to the gospel is simply because it goes against human nature and desire. God’s Spirit touches many lives each day. Yet, billions refuse to accept the message for one simple reason: they simply don’t want it.
Let us be lights of Christ in a fallen world. May our righteousness shine and give God the glory. May out words be pure and our love for people be genuine.
And may we never forget that the message of God cost Jesus his very life.