My heart breaks for you. It’s very hard to love Jesus and not know where to go to find him. It’s hard feeling confused by all the different denominations when one of the last things Jesus said was to be one as he and the Father are one. It’s hard to deal with the harsh judgment, the hypocrisy, and the theatrical displays of prayer and piety.
Which version of Jesus is true? Which denomination is correct? Is Jesus one of many acceptable paths to God? Why do I feel like church is just a big show? What is wrong with me? Am I some evil person?
If you are asking these sorts of questions, you are not alone.
If you are asking these sorts of questions, this might be a good thing.
If you are asking these sorts of questions, the best thing you can do is call out to Jesus and ask him to lead you to the truth.
The above are just some of the reasons many who love Jesus do not love church and begin to feel very confused by it all. I cannot speak to all of the reasons, but I can speak to my own experiences.
The things I write above are the very same kinds of thoughts I had mid 2014. I was very lost, very confused, and worried about my soul. I thought I might be evil because anytime I went to church it made me kind of sick to my stomach. It felt fake. I did not know which denomination was right, or if Jesus was the only true way. I asked for the Lord to show me the way, and he answered.
I do not have all of the answers, but the Lord has shown me a lot over the past few years (and I’ve had a lot of help from others along the way). There are some things I want to share with you.
Much is corrupt within the Christianity of today, but Jesus is real. He is alive. He will make himself known to all who seek him in sincerity with their whole heart. The Jesus I know does not always line up with the one taught in all churches, but we agree on many things.
He died for our sins. He raised himself from the dead. He is merciful, gracious, and quick to forgive so much if we repent. He is also God, and who can know the mind of God? Who can search out His ways and the depths of His wisdom, love for His children, and His perfect timing and will?
God is complex. The teaching of Jesus can be complex. Many doctrines can seem complex and it can be hard to understand the Bible and take all things into consideration. There are disputes for good reason, and God is merciful to much misunderstanding. He will come one day and set it all right. For now, we wait patiently in love and in faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus.
We might wonder why God allowed all the division and all the differing ideas about Jesus. We might wonder why He allows so much oppression and abuse within the body of Christ. We can speculate, but all we really know is that this is part of His will and plan for raising His children. We have to trust that, and instead of focusing too much on what is wrong with this world, it is better to focus on what is right. What is true. What is profitable for our own soul and salvation.
Jesus had much to say. His disciples had much to say. The apostles had much to say. There is much we can learn from the Bible about what the gospel means and the affects of salvation on our daily lives. These should be our focus. Focusing on all the confusion leads to confusion. Focusing on the corruption leads to our own corruption. I’ve seen it happen, and I fight such corruption within myself. Let me explain.
There are many out there who take advantage of the corruption of Christianity and its churches. There are many false prophets, online especially, who draw in people just like you. They make you feel like you are something special because you know the Truth and the others are blind. They make you proud. They cause you to divide yourself from the brethren. They cause you to fuel conflict and forget mercy. They cause you to accuse other Christians as being fake or worshipers of Lucifer. It goes on and on. Many even cause you to bow before them, accepting them as some great prophet or other great leader. Such as these are dangerous. Do not allow your need for truth or the pains of past abuse from Christians to cause you to fall into such ministries.
Once Jesus opens your eyes to what is true, it is so easy to begin to feel alone. It is so easy to begin to judge other Christians as fake. It is so easy to become angry because of the corruption. It is so easy to be consumed by zeal and want to fight it all. That is not the way. Love is the way. Living in truth is the way. Having faith in Jesus and his righteous judgment that will one day lay low the proud and raise up the humble is the way.
Sometimes we have to make a stand, but first, we need to make sure we are standing steadfast in the commandments of Jesus. We need to stand in righteous judgment, mercy, and faith. This is not a stand for those who are young in the faith. It is not a stand I myself am mature enough to make wisely all of the time. I still make mistakes. I still lose focus and get angry. I still forget the patience and mercy of the Lord that is leading me to repentance.
Should you go to church? I cannot answer that question for you. Seek Jesus with all your heart and trust in him. It is good to fellowship with other Christians, even if we disagree on much. It is hard to meet sincere Christians who do not belong to the persecuting and accusing groups I mentioned before unless you go to church. Be careful with online fellowship. It is better to go to church then to fall prey to an online church or other organization given over to an accusing spirit. Of course there are great online ministries too. If you’re unsure of one, I will try to help you decide if this is trustworthy or not. I have some measure of experience in this.
We can never judge the intents and hearts of people. Many who go to church are sincere. It is good that people want to dedicate time to the Lord. Many who we might think are hypocritical are just struggling to live the kind of upright life they want to live. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We have all been hateful, hypocritical, liars, vain, and the like. We all need Jesus, and we all need to seek to our own salvation instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing wrong.
I do not go to church. I still have a hard time listening to teachings that are not fully true or those that are completely untrue. I have a hard time listening to teaching that leads people into captivity, either captivity to sin or legalism, or some other form of oppression. Maybe one day I will be able to deal with it for the sake of the few who are on the sidelines. The few who are there but aren’t really feeling it. The few who know something is off about this. For now, I write and I make myself available to others who are confused like I once was. I seek out what is true and do my best to live a good Christian life.
I am here to help all who are sincere about Jesus. I love all believers of all brands of Christianity who have a healthy respect for the Lord and their salvation. I never want anyone to feel alone in this, and if you are like I once was, then you probably feel very alone. You are not alone. There are many like you. If you need a listening ear, if you have questions about the faith, or if you just want to know there is someone out there who is for you, then I hope to be of some support.
No sinner is too far gone for Jesus. No life is too lost, too dark, too confused. Call on him. Keep seeking. And know there are people who love you and who would do whatever it takes to defend you in the faith.