For the past 28 years, I have worked with several different churches. This has given me the opportunity to come to know many people and to be around many, many people. Let me tell you what I have observed over these years.
1. I’ve learned that the majority of these people want to do what is right. I know–not everyone. I do believe that the majority of the people who I have been around, really wanted to do the right thing.
2. I’ve learned that many, many people in these churches are loving people. I’ve received much love from so many people. I am amazed how kind and gracious I have been treated by so many people. I have a manila envelope that I have treasured for many years. In this envelope are letters, cards, and various notes of encouragement. I read these (as I do every four or five years) and think,"I am so blessed."
3. I’ve learned that many people in churches are very serious about their faith-walk with Jesus. Jesus is Lord of their lives. There are others who don’t seem to be even making an attempt to obey Jesus. Yet, they see themselves as good church members. Come once a week and put a little money in the plate and everything is all right. Huh? They may be church members but are they Christ-followers? (In terms of what Jesus had in mind).
4. I’ve learned that there are very, very generous people in churches. These are people for whom the grace of God has created a rich generosity. They give and give.
5. I’ve learned that many, many Christians wrestle with sin, much more than you might think if you were to look at us on a Sunday morning. Some of us live in a bubble, believing that people in churches really don’t struggle with sin. Through the years I’ve talked with people who were alcoholics, druggies, adulterers, thieves, a few who had molested children etc.
6. I’ve learned that many Christians don’t take other sins very seriously.
Lying about others
Gossip about others at church
Slander. Running people down
Deception. Failing to report all of one’s income to the IRS
Stirring up division when we don’t like something at church
Meanness–willing to hurt people–no matter what!
I’ve heard Christians even dismiss sinful behaviors like the above saying, "They are just human."
7. I’ve learned that many people would be very open to living for Jesus if we would just take the time and energy to talk with them, invite them to Life Group or the assembly, etc. I am amazed! Many people are receptive to Jesus if we will just not be timid.
8. I’ve learned that some Christians are very fearful people. They fear not the enemy nor the unbeliever who might be out to hurt them. No–They fear being rejected by people. This cowardice causes them to go to great lengths to placate people and to do anything that will take them away from conflict. They are willing to do anything to keep the peace–no matter what it compromises.
9. I’ve learned that some Christians are such a joy to be around. Yes, they have problems like anyone else. Yet, they have learned to focus on Christ has done for them instead of the circumstances instead of themselves.
10. I’ve learned that many Christians just need encouragement. They want to see someone who will risk, who will step out, and who will refuse to play it safe, if that means moving away from what Jesus wants done.