I had the parent of a former student approach me recently concerned about the spiritual health of their adult child. The child was a former student of mine in youth group, but was now grown, married, and starting a family. The former student stilled lived in the area with their now family, and was not connected to a church community. When the subject of church attendance was brought up to the student, they proceeded to tell their parents, “I can’t go back to church there because Charles will not be happy with the decisions I’ve made or how things have turned out.” This response has stewed with me for months and it has prompted me to write this in hopes that many former students can engage my heart on this matter.
/// COME BACK HOME ///
I say this with all conviction…
It breaks my heart when I see former students leave the church and not return due to a fear that is perpetuated to them by Satan himself. We have a choice to live a sanctified life before the Lord, and the foundation of sanctification starts with repentance towards redemption. God is in the business of redemption, and he desires that for all of us…myself included. Whatever decisions you have made, they do not bear enough weight to keep you from God’s good graces. Therefore, we should not choose to abandon Christ-centered community for fear of what others might perceive.
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!
10 For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.Galatians 1:6-10 [CSB]
Many of us our believing a false Gospel, that Jesus and the church cannot actively forgive us of our unrighteousness or sin. We have convinced ourselves that our sin is to great for forgiveness and cleansing; therefore, we turn our head down as it comes to our faith, allowing shame and guilt to define the new Gospel of our life: “I’m unworthy of the love of Jesus, and I am unclean for the church.”
COME HOME. If you have a desire to live a right life before the Lord and lead your family into Christ Centered Community, then please find you a church home. The church exists to edify, encourage, love, and disciple all believers as they pursue a relationship with Jesus. Stop believing that you are unworthy of that community, and come home.