2 wrongs

Two wrongs do not make a right

This is a scenario every preacher and elder knows: A family has been missing from worship. When a church leader notes this, he goes to their home to determine if there is anything he can do.

During the visit the family throws a number of accusations at the church. This church “doesn’t feed me,” this church “doesn’t have a good youth program,” someone in the church “said something insensitive,” and, my personal favorite, “there are hypocrites in the church.”

Our visitor leaves their home crestfallen and discouraged. To begin with, he is disappointed because a family he cares about appears to be out of his reach. Secondly, he is aware of his own limitations. He is not perfect. Neither is his congregation. If the family was expecting perfection, he knows, the church had lost them from the start. Like a twenty-foot goal in a basketball game, it was an expectation too high for a church to achieve.

It is interesting that in these interactions, it’s always the church’s fault. The church is too easy a target.

Statistics prove that 100% of churches are comprised of … human beings.

Some are new Christians whose behavior reflects their spiritual immaturity (1 Peter 2:2). Others are Christians who have warmed a pew for a long time but have not matured spiritually as they should have (Hebrews 5:11-14). And, because I know one very well indeed, preachers are not perfect either.

But I have a question that rarely seems to be asked: Is there ever a sufficient reason for leaving Christ and his church?

As it turns out, people who have done wrong have been making excuses for their behavior for a long time. Apparently they believed their extenuating circumstances excused their behavior: Adam blamed Eve for his sin; Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:12,13). Cain was not certain his brother was his responsibility anyway (Genesis 4:9). King Saul believed the pressure of those around him accounted sufficiently for his mistakes (1 Samuel 15:15,21).

What I am getting at, beloved, is there is never a good reason to do a wrong thing; two wrongs still do not make a right. Even when it is someone in the church who fails us, we must still continue to serve God. If everyone left the church because someone disappointed us, mark this, there would be no church left.

Jesus was wronged, historically wronged, yet he did not use this as an excuse for wrong in return (1 Peter 2:23). We can thank God that Jesus did not use our mistakes as his reason for abandoning us.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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2 thoughts on “Two wrongs do not make a right

  1. People often speak of those who have “left the church.” Two aspects of this are seldom given consideration.

    First, the way in which we treat one another as God’s people is the way we are treating the Savior Himself (Matthew 25: 31-46, 1 John 4:20,21). To leave our fellow Christians to fend for themselves is to turn our back on the Savior.

    Second, the church is the bride of Christ ( 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9; 22:7). As Christians we ARE the church. To turn away from our brethren, depart from the way of the Lord is to be an unfaithful bride, committing spiritual adultery.

    Most of all, what Paul writes in Ephesians 5:22-33 throws light on the concept of the church being the bride of Christ. Primarily intended to give instruction in the relationship of husbands and wives,Paul, in vss.29-32, recalls the words of Jesus in Matthew 19:4,5 and applies them to Christ and the church. Reread this passage, give thought to vss. 4,5 and the context.

    In the writer’s humble judgment, “leaving the Lord” is, in actuality, “leaving the Lord.” If we say the latter, this becomes a more serious matter.

    Just a thought…God bless…..Old Hoot

  2. In my previous comment an error was made in the last paragraph. This paragraph should read as follows: “In the writer’s humble judgment, “leaving the church” is, in actuality, “leaving the Lord.” If we say the latter, this becomes a more serious matter.

    Thanks Old Hoot

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