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How to not get offended at church

April 12, 2010

It’s difficult sometimes.

There are so many people, for one, that it’s impossible to think everyone will see eye to eye. There are decisions being made that you know nothing about. There are dozens of ministries. Vision can be a tricky thing. The coffee is never fresh enough, or your favorite donut is everyone else’s favorite donut. The CDs take too long. Someone has a crying baby in the sanctuary. Someone in the choir has issues that everyone knows about.

There are a myriad of reasons to get upset or offended on a Sunday morning.

And when that happens, there are a myriad of people available to talk about it.

We know we shouldn’t do it. We know division is bad. But it’s just difficult sometimes.

Sometimes we’re pretty sure we’re right. What then?

I’ve solved it for you. Go ahead and take a deep breath.

I’ve developed a simple mantra that will help all of us overcome the temptation to be offended – and cut off all the garbage that follows. Because really, no one wants that.

So the next time you feel your blood pressure rising on a Sunday morning (or Saturday night, or whenever you gather with your church), try repeating this simple mantra. I’m going to blindly prescribe ten times, at a reasonable pace. If this doesn’t solve it, you’re either right or you have serious issues. Either way, your next step would be to humbly address someone with authority over the thing per Matthew 18.

Here it is, are you ready?

“It’s not about me.”

Let’s practice. Repeat after me:

It’s not …

about …

me …

Good.

Because really, if you’re a mature, or maturing, believer already, you are working with the leadership of your church – even if you don’t have an official role – to engage people who aren’t. There are probably small/home groups and midweek services and other things for you to go deeper with. Weekend services are usually for new people.

So take that annoying thing and try to see it from the perspective of someone who has never been in a church before – or someone who hasn’t been since he was 10. If it suddenly starts to look fun, relaxing, humorous, or cool – without interfering with a person’s path from sin to the cross – then it may suddenly become less offensive to you too. And then everybody’s on board, and everybody’s happy, and everybody wins.

One more time, ready? “It’s not about me.” … Good.

(I’d also suggesting reading Stuff Christians Like on a regular basis. For anyone, really, but especially if you find yourself using the mantra a lot.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Latifa permalink
    May 16, 2010 4:20 pm

    May 16, 2010

    I was offended at church today in a manner I would never have expected.
    I am a non-white woman. Wig-wearing. I ordered this wig and the color was lighter, but I thought it wasn’t too bad. So I worn it to church. As I took my seat in this white church, a man looked at me, leaned over to his wife and started whispering. I happened to take the seat in front of them, but they continued their discussion, about how everybody wants to be blond, and how they (white people) should be so glad they are blond.

    I was shocked and hurt. I got up and left. I did not expect this kind of remark from a church brother and sister. I am not easily offended and have never left any church for any reason, other than relocation. But this blatant mocking really hurts.

    • Lex permalink
      May 16, 2010 9:20 pm

      That’s horrible! I’m so sorry to hear that something like that happened at a church.

      At the same time, I’d still encourage you to talk to that couple about what happened. It would be good for you to address it and obey Matthew 18. It would probably benefit that couple who may not realize how hurtful their comment could me.

      Also consider that – assuming that couple is not in leadership – that their opinions and attitudes don’t necessarily reflect those of the church. Churches can’t really pick and choose who comes in. If you like the pastor and the teaching is good, don’t let one insensitive couple drive you away from a good local church!

  2. Latifa permalink
    May 17, 2010 7:38 pm

    Thanks a lot. Today I feel better and thanks for the good advice.
    I do love the pastor and most of the people at the church, so I am going back.

    • Lex permalink
      May 18, 2010 10:31 am

      Glad to hear it! That simple decision puts the devil back in his place. :)

  3. Marcy permalink
    February 18, 2011 5:49 pm

    Life was happy at church, then the Pastor had to leave due to cancer. In fact, he went home to Jesus not to long after. I was deeply involved with a ministry and lost it with his leaving. I was blindsided as it was not expected. Go to church, set about your duties only to have somebody walk in and say, Oh, btw, you are no longer doing this, so and so is. Hummm, that just sucked the wind right out of the ole sails and caused some tears to fall but ok.

    Continued to go and one day the elder left in charge confronts me saying I have been gossiping and complaining about losing a job I had no to right to assume was mine. None of that was true, no gossip, no complaining and for sure I didn’t think the ministry was mine just because I’d been leading it for about a year at the time. So because he said I was doing these things he informed me I was forbidden to ever lead anything again.

    So, here I sit, knowing IT’S NOT ABOUT ME, IT’S ABOUT JESUS because I am a mature Christian but after a few months decided to leave the church. The new Pastor wants everybody to be happy, church is supposed to be a good thing and it is. New Pastor is fantastic BUT wants all of us to do a job in the church that have been the members when they arrived. Small church so there were about 20-30 of us. So they come to me, want me to do this and that, lead this or that. Then the struggle starts inside, to tell the new Pastor yes means my having to be approved and the head elder/board member and the board has to ok me.

    There is no anger or hate in my heart for this man who false accused me, who robbed the joy of serving at church and then took it apon himself to tell my family members that he had to admonish me and why. He even instructed them “don’t tell anybody you know this”.

    So no, it’s not about me yet I feel like moving on to a new church. There is more to this story, more harmful words hurled at me by this man, this jezabel type spirit with talons deeply imbedded in this church, but this hopefully best explains what has happened. I feel in limbo and not been to services there in 3 weeks. Am hoping that bouncing this off a total stranger, yet a fellow believer, might break up the dam some.

    • Lex permalink
      February 18, 2011 6:00 pm

      Marcy,

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Stories about abuses in the Church are so hurtful.

      It’s encouraging to all the rest of us, though, that you can forgive your accuser. It’s true that it’s not about you, but forgiveness does not mean that you need to voluntarily stay under the abuse either.

      One thing I would encourage you to do, as you continue to lean on the Lord’s guidance, is talk to your Pastor if you decide to start attending another church. (You need to be involved SOMEWHERE. Don’t just quit church altogether!) However he takes it, he needs to know why you’re leaving. Hopefully, he’s an honest man of God who will understand and pray for you, and send you out in peace. Either way, leadership needs to know what is going on.

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