I don't want to feel bad
This one is really starting to gain some steam in our culture today. "I will not go to church if they are going to make me feel bad or guilty."
We have recently experienced a rise of "positive" preaching in the world today. Pastors and preachers who have vowed not to say anything negative or condemning from the pulpit or otherwise. Now on the surface this sounds ok. But when you dig a little deeper, it can be very disturbing.
People love to go to church and know that they are not going to "feel" bad about their behavior or actions. No one is going to sit them down and talk to them about their lifestyle. That they are are not going to be rejected for their choices. I can understand this but I want you to keep reading.
First of all, the Bible is full of passages where either by example or command we are told to help each other out. A couple I can think of is in 2 Timothy where Paul writes, " All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," 3:16 and in 4:2 he says "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction."
The Bible talks about us being responsible for each other. To help each other live our faith as Jesus desires us to live. I'm not talking about living up to someone elses standard, I am talking about living up to His will.
Secondly, I am not advocating preaching or teaching that is nothing more than beating you over the head with a Bible. That stuff has never worked and it never will. But I would hope that you desire your pastor (whether it's me or someone else) to have enough backbone to do what Paul also tells Timothy to do, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15.
But what about "feeling" bad? If you have heard a message that challenges your actions and lifestyle. A message that also told you about God's grace and His forgiveness. If you heard a message that challenged you to change your ways and make a commitment to a new life guided by Christ. Then understand this. The Pastor, teacher, worship leader, usher, greeter, nursery worker, youth leader, parking attendant OR ANYBODY ELSE didn't do that. It was GOD who did it!
John 16:8 When he (The Holy Spirit) comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: We don't convict people of their sins, God does!! It is the assumption of these "positive" preachers that the Holy Spirit will convict people anyway - that the Holy Spirit will "work it all out" - and some of them are even saying that everyone will go to heaven regardless of what they have done. Some are now declaring that 1 John 1:9 and Romans 8 were not even written to the church and that we should just ignore them. Are you starting to see where this is going?
Matthew 28:19 tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. But how can we disciple them if we cannot practice 2 Tim. 3:16 and in 4:2? How can we help them mature, as the writer of Hebrews tells us to do in Chapter 5?
Here's the bottom line. If you "feel" bad - it probably isn't someone who did it to you. It's probably God trying to get your attention. Thank Him that He loves you enough to lead you and help you change your life. The purpose of Him doing this is to bring His blessing into your life today and for all of eternity. Thank Him again and again. Then thank the pastor or teacher who loved you enough to help you see that too.