I have been thinking a lot about the service I went to the other night and I so appreciate the fact that a minister talked about the things people go through on a daily basis, in real life. He didn't try to give a formula for success, but he talked about real problems people face and what to do about them. People do have problems and just pretending that they don't doesn't make them go away. I went to a church where you had to keep up the appearance that everything was always great in your life. If you didn't, you were "not in faith." We just pushed things under the rug to keep up an image, but the real issues were never dealt with.
In controlling churches, how things look on the outside is so much more important than the people on the inside. Image is everything. The better the image, the more successful you are. You are taught that how you look is what really matters. You are told - dress nice, dress your kids nice, don't chew gum, keep your cars clean, hang out with wealthy people, and don't get to-go boxes at restaurants. What is all of that about? It's about image and it makes people feel that they are not accepted for who they are. I just don't think God cares about things that some make such a big deal about. The image is not what God places the importance on. The people are what really matter to God!
People have real problems, and churches, of all places, should realize that. When people are told they can't come for counseling, but instead they need to sit in church for their answers, real help and compassion should be offered in the services. The answer is not always to give more money. The ministers talk about their increase and their great anointing. They tell the people they need to follow them and rise to their level. I think some ministers have forgotten where they came from when they first started. They shouldn't point people to themselves, they should point people to Jesus.
I'm sorry if I sound a bit punchy today, but I talked to a friend this morning who is struggling because of being in a church like this. I'm upset that these churches have caused so many people to feel like they have no one to trust. I realized something today - I have been talking about how free I am, but she hasn't reached that place yet because of all the hard questions she still has. I don't want to be so caught up in my own life that I forget about the ones who are still having a tough time. These things should never be taken lightly - peoples lives are involved.
I never want it to come across like I'm down on the church (the body of Christ). The kind of church I am referring to above is a controlling, abusive church. I have found a new church that my family really likes and it has shown me that there are people and ministers out there who love God and love people. I also never want it to appear that I'm downplaying faith, because the Bible tells us to live by faith. I have just realized that faith is not a formula. Faith is not pretending you don't have problems. Faith is believing in a person - Jesus Christ. Faith is trusting in the truthfulness of God's Word and His love for us. I know that He will never roll His eyes or sigh if I bring my questions and problems to Him. He welcomes all of us with open arms and He will counsel us as much as we need it.
My prayer is that my friend, who I talked to today, will find all the answers she is looking for. If there was anything I could do to help and take the hurt away, I would do it. I want the very best for her and her entire family.