I had a recent conversation that has left me with some questions and thoughts.
The comment or question was raised out of concern for a fellow christian. 'Should we be concerned and say something if a family continues to make commitments that take them away from church activities?'
My answer was 'Yes.' In the past eight years of youth ministry we have seen a definite pattern in church attendance. Almost without exception when a family starts making commitments that take them away from church activities it is just one step in several that lead them away from the Lord. Whether that activity be work, school, sports, drama, music, whatever. So when I see the pattern starting my radar goes up and I beleive as 'family' we should hold eachother accountable.
This did not go over well with those in the conversation. I was surprised to hear that I was being leagaistic and judgmental. So I went home prayed, talked to my husband, and meditated on the thing. Was I being judgmental? Was this leagalistic?
Let me say that I do not think it a sin to miss church. It is not a sin to miss mid-week acitivities at church. I don't think it sinful to not be at church everytime the church doors are open. I think it is a condition of the heart. Sometimes we are eager to sing 'I Surrender All' and then say 'I am too tired to go to church', or 'I need a break'. These are not valid reasons. We are called as God's people to die to ourselves. Our selfish desires. I am talking to myself just as much as anyone else. Although my selfishness may not be visible like not attending a church service. It comes out otherways. Like being upset because I can't do something I want. Not wanting to get up in the middle of the night with a crying baby. Not wanting to prepare dinner. Not wanting to match socks. Not wanting to work in the nursery. Not wanting to teach a class. The list goes on... My selfishness may not be outward because although I don't want to do something most of the time I do it anyway. I still cook dinner, get up with the baby and etc. Sometimes my heart is not in it. I think that as long as what IS in my heart is although I don't want to, I will do it because I choose to obey the Lord. And I need to pray that my heart will meet my actions. I think this is part of the sactification process.
No I can not judge anothers actions. No I can not require something that is not required in scripture. I do think a tactful question about what is going on might be appropriate though. Not out of judgment, but concern. A genuine concern for a fellow brother and sister to not fall away, but press on.
The world is inticing and intoxicating in what it offers. I truly believe that we are in a fight for our families. Satan would like nothing more than to draw us away from the Lord. That may start with small decisions that are in themselves not bad or sinful.