BLOG––Trying-On Sunday

Is Guilt Keeping You from Church?

Posted by Crystal Hammon on

Is guilt keeping you from church?

If you don’t attend church regularly, you’re part of a majority. Sixty percent of Americans choose not to worship at church, according to the Hartford Institute of Religion Research. For a variety of reasons, our nation’s faith in religious institutions has been waning for decades.

Despite the declining number of churchgoers, there’s an abundance of research that suggests many people who are unaffiliated with a church still consider themselves religious, and they pray regularly. In other words, they’re still seeking a relationship with God.

That once described me perfectly. I believed in God, but I was turned off by organized religion. Having been on the other side, I’m familiar with the thinking that causes people to turn their backs on churches. 

Like many people mentioned in the Atlantic Monthly article above, I eventually saw the need to become an active part of a church. Over time, I’ve increased my involvement and grown in faith. 

God is not done with me yet, but he’s strengthened me enough that I can easily explain why I think you should consider making church part of your life. Today is the first installment in a series for people who, for a multitude of reasons, lack interest in attending church, starting with this common objection:

I feel guilty, unworthy or otherwise out of place at church. If you feel guilty or unworthy because of something in your past or something that’s wrong in your life now, then a church is your kind of place. Christ lived and died to rescue people who have issues that would otherwise separate them from enjoying a relationship with God. That includes everyone.

No matter how well-constructed church-goers may look to you, we all have one thing in common—we’re spiritually broken in some way. Without the broken body of Christ, we would all be hopelessly cut off from our Creator. Yet God is so pleased with every one of us that he essentially throws a party in heaven every time one of us says, “Sign me up. Please erase that mistake and make me part of your family. Teach me how to live better. Help me avoid that mistake in the future.” We may remember the mistake, but he doesn’t. We may still face the consequences of the sin here on earth, but it can’t keep us from God any longer. Read the fifteenth chapter of the book of Luke and you’ll see what I mean.

God designed the church to strengthen members of his adopted family, the people he will treasure and love through eternity. The more problems you have, the more reasons you have to draw near God and work as a member of Christ’s risen body—the church.

The church will be stronger and God’s kingdom will be more complete with you in it. Don’t let your feelings of unworthiness prevent you from claiming your place as a member of God’s family. Please come and visit North Central Church of Christ. Whether you come to check us out, to seek spiritual guidance or to learn more about repairing your relationship with Christ, you will be welcomed with open arms.

If you know someone who would benefit from hearing these words of encouragement, please share this post. Coming up soon: a post for people who don’t attend church because they doubt there is a God.

 

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