I decided to take a break from serving so much. I thought it best to take a step back, maybe visit other churches and just do my own version of sitting back and watching, like those who I had become so angry with - of course, that didn't help much, maybe just put a band-aid on a gaping wound. However, during that time I stepped out of the center of it all, I still desired something more; I still desired God's will for my life and I still do today. That time has made me realize something major; I think I had an epiphany.
I started to think about the church I had spent most of my life in. All churches have their issues and I'm sure they're all basically caused by the same thing - people. If I think back from the1980's, when my family started attending the church I grew up in, through today, I can pinpoint relationship issues, people issues, that had a detrimental effect on the church as a whole. All of the people within the church may not have all been involved, nor did they always even know there was something going on. As I look back though, I can see people leaving, people getting upset, people getting bitter about something someone said to them or something someone did to them or something someone didn't say to them or something someone didn't do to them, etc. Lots of hurt feeling, lots of emotions, many relationships ruined and many people leaving the church - not just this church, but the church in general. It's sad. I've seen this my whole life, so honestly it's nothing new to me & it's probably not new to you.
Here's where it gets interesting. I recently had an "aha" moment, an epiphany if you will. Some of you have probably realized this long ago, but please, humor me. What if one of those times people didn't leave the church, or this church? What if instead of getting angry or bitter, we realized that it's not about what someone did or didn't do; what if we realized that all of this drama is caused by the enemy? What if one day we all realized that all along, Satan has been at work, trying to destroy the potential of this church?! What if we realized we are all in this together - really, I mean we all say the words, but what if we really acted as if we are family? Can you imagine how we could squash Satan, instead of letting him continually squash the work of our Lord?
I'm going to start looking at people differently. It's hard, but if we just drop our expectations of how we should be treated and just start really loving people - including forgiving and really forgetting - we would be surprised and in awe of the amazing things our Lord has in store for us, as well as for His church.