Those who no longer attend Church are quick to point out its flaws and place blame. I have heard everything from “the Church hurt me,” to “they are all hypocrites,” to “I am no longer a part because of what was said to me there.”
I wholeheartedly agree that some bad things have happened in the Church. However, I also have to spend a few minutes clarifying the issue. First, there is no such thing as a “Church in general.” There is no unspecific group of no-named people who cluster together with equal parts forming a whole. No, the Church is a group of individuals that form a contributing community.
Usually, when I hear statements about “the Church,” I want to clarify who it was that hurt you. Most likely, it was one person, a couple of people, or a tiny group. It is extremely rare that people have problems with everyone in the community of believers. It is always a few individuals who caused the problem.
Here is the harsh truth: it is easy to walk away from the Church and blame the whole group for your current situation. The hard work is to handle the issue constructively.
It is tough to confront the sins of another person. When you point out their flaws and failures, they are rarely happy about it. It is even more complicated when they refuse to listen, and you have to go to the leaders and talk through the difficulties. It will be ugly and messy and will push the limits of your faith in God along with your trust in people.
It is incredibly challenging when you might have to forgive someone. After confronting them, they may see their mistake, and they might need forgiveness. That would mean trusting God in a whole new way.
To confront and then forgive is unnerving. To be confronted and then ask for forgiveness is humbling. To deal with the seen and unseen issues is a path few are willing to walk. It is tough and painful to live in a right relationship with God and others. It is much less complex to walk away and blame those left behind. Remaining a part of the group will push and grow you in every way. Unfortunately, resistance is what it takes to build muscle both physically and spiritually.