Billy and his mom are walking alongside the stores in the mall, which has a landscaped display in the middle separating the shops on either side.
Billy: Thanks for the ice cream, Mom; this is great!
Mom: You’re welcome.
Billy: Hey isn’t that Mr. Watkins, my old Sunday School teacher?
Mom (grabbing Billy’s hand): Why don’t we walk down the other side?
Billy: But I wanna say hi to Mr. Watkins.
Mom: He doesn’t go to our church anymore, Billy.
Billy: Oh. He’s not a Christian now?
Why do we do this?
It’s a problem that seems to be rampant in the church, especially small to medium ones where the departure of a particular individual or family is more noticeable. You might as well have died. What message does this send to our kids? To the world at large?
I got an e-mail this week from someone who expressed this frustration.
Not one person has contacted me to find out why I have not been there… A terrible place to call a church home…
The church is the body of Christ. It’s much larger than any one house of worship; so much bigger than any single faith family. Why do we not see this?
Luke 10: 31 NIV A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
If we’re to love our enemies; if we’re to regard the Samaritans — the people who the audience hearing the parable would think of as “the despised” — as our neighbors, how much more should we have love for people who have chosen to attach themselves to a different congregation?
Is leaving a church really a sin?
UPDATE: I realized many hours later how related this post is that I wrote a few days ago at Christianity 201.