A recent survey has findings that provide a much-needed slap in the face to me and other Christians. I read of the survey, which was conducted by LifeWay, the research department of the Southern Baptist Church in an article in USA Today.
The survey was conducted among U.S. adults who are “unchurched,” a term they define as someone who has not been to a church, synagogue, or mosque in the last six months.
Check this out —
72% say “God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.” But just as many (72%) also say the church is “full of hypocrites.”
Indeed, 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”
You might be surprised to know that one these negative reactions to the church doesn’t bother me so much. I have no problem with people saying the church is full of hypocrites, because one, that’s true (realizing that most people confuse imperfection with hypocrisy) and two, I can’t think of a better place for hypocrites to be than in church.
The statement that slaps me is that which indicates that a whole lot of people find Christians annoying. More than ever I want to be focused on what Jesus said was most important — loving God and loving people.
May God forgive me for the times when I have made church into a organized religion machine rather than as a refuge for the hurting, a healing center for sinners, a safe place for open and honest fellowship, a hub of vibrant worship, and an outpost of loving interaction with the community. May God help me learn from those who find me and my Christian family annoying.
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6).
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).