Quit telling people to go to church, it causes its own problems!

here is a good one. I am a 19 year old youth leader. I dealt with depression for so long. i have been hospitalized 3 times. when i became a Christian i drew over forty kids to Christ within the last 10 months and numerous more were on the way. when kids got to know me..week after week i had kids coming up to me telling how they are and do try to kill themselves. i fought one kid for a knife ..another slashed her wrist in front of me....and others are constantly cutting themselves. i was able to stop numerous things such as self mutilation, alcohol, drugs, etc. but things such as bulimia and depression..have only been hidden and gotten worst. i take a bottle of laxatives in just a few days....seeing kids do this only brought it back on me 100 times stronger than ever before. all the time i am asking and telling people i need help. my youth pastor asked me to actually make an appointment in two weeks. people at church say i want attention... in the mean time i am getting worst. I loved God with all of my heart but feel i am just slowly dying. when i pray i get evil thoughts..like just shoot yourself it is pointless...and i quit church...i go to a church of 400 members... but no one seems to care that i quit. i attended church activities 5 days a week.. I am one of the most known persons in that church. all of my kids within a matter of weeks stopped going... and yet no one cares. I have tried area churches but they are all the same.. it is a cover up by the "christian communities" and if i ever do get a chance to talk to a leader they will tell me to go back to church...but not as a leader...and that was my life... now that i stopped that.. all i have to do is eat and sleep... plus they all think i want attention anyways... when i talk to my mom... she tells me i am insane... or says... you don't love me or you would not put this on me.. I have no dad... i hate myself... all old habits picked right back up...and i cant go back in the hospital... because all the nurses work with my mother and think i am ok...and said that my last time in there which was when i was 18 a year and a half ago.. that if i came in there again i would be shipped to a state ward...for months... and that i would end up on welfare the rest of my life....how am I suppose to face them ... and even tell them I quit school... plus the doctor that was in there last time that treated me is suing me for tons of money that i don't have..so I could not possibly ever have him again. look I am not looking for pity..in fact I will probably never get a response..but I do want you to know you need to quit telling people to go to church...because as you can see... it brings on its own problems also...and if God would send us to hell... then why even preach love...he himself should have the most love and caring heart...he should know how much people hurt... he is suppose to take the hurt for us... but it still hurts... and does not go away

My response is in Green:

Thanks for telling me your story. I won't quit telling people to go to church because I still think it is the right thing to tell people, but at the same time as you prove it is not the most important part of the message.

I was struck by something in your message. That was that it was all about you. How you drew over 40 kids to Christ, how they came to you with their problems, etc... I won't even try to stick up for the way people are at the church you were at. It is wrong that no one cares that you quit coming, but that does not take the problem off your shoulders.

The reason I mentioned about every thing in your message being about you is that your focus was all wrong. To be a Christian is to deny yourself and put Christ first. Now granted I can only judge what happened by what you wrote but I think it shows a lot.

Let me start at the very beginning. Did you ever realize that you are a sinner and that you are under a death sentence by a Holy God who demands death for all sin? If not then there is no way you could really understand who Jesus Christ was or what He had to offer you. If you have ever realized those things then the next question is did you ever ask Him (Jesus Christ) into you heart as your Lord and Savior. Notice I said Lord and Savior not just Savior. It is not enough to want Jesus to save you from hell but now allow Him to lead your life.

Your story reminded me of some things that Jesus said. (Luke 11:24-26 NIV) "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' {25} When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. {26} Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."

I am not trying to say that you had an evil spirit in you, I just think that the principle that Jesus is talking about applies to you. You went to church and were able to stop doing some of the things that you did not like in your life, but maybe you failed to fill that empty space with Christ so that when you fell back it was even worse then before.

Only you can answer the questions I have put in this message, but I will tell you until Jesus Christ is Lord of your life things won't change no matter what church you attend. That is why I said at the beginning that going to church is not the most important thing; Jesus Christ is. Having said that let me quote another verse from the Bible that will show why I think anyone who is a Christian should go to church: (Hebrews 10:25 NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. As you see from this verse we should continue to go to church and we should try to help each other. That is why I said I would not try to defend what the people are your church did or did not do. I don't know the whole story. But first things first, you need to get right with God through Jesus Christ. Until you get that taken care of nothing else matters. Once you get where you should be in your relationship then you should attend a good Bible believing church and one which will not only support you but also hold you accountable before God.

Living a Christian life is no cake walk, it is hard work, but it is worth it. After you get right with God you need to grow and you can only grow by reading His Word and praying. One reason people will often fall back into sin after they accept Christ is that their faith never grows. The Bible tells us how to grow in our faith: (Romans 10:17 NIV) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. What is the word of Christ? It is the Bible.

You said when you pray you get evil thoughts. Okay I can understand that because the last thing Satan wants you to do is pray, that just means that you need to pray even more. Ask God to help you with the thoughts.

You mentioned that you brought a bunch of people to church and to Christ when you were going to church but that when you left the church they all left too. That tells me that they were not following Christ as much as they were following you. You mentioned again all the things that you were able to accomplish. Are you seeing my point, your whole message was about you, not about Christ. Until He is first in your life you will continue to have problems.

You also said something that makes me think you don't really understand salvation. You said if God would send you to hell then why even mention love. Well God won't send you to hell, only you can do that. We are all born into a sinful world as sinners and we are condemned to hell because of that, but God loves us enough that He send Jesus, His Son to die for our sins. If we accept that free gift then we will spend eternity in heaven but if we reject that free gift then we have send ourselves to hell. So you see God does love you and all of us, but He won't force Himself on anyone. If you don't want Him and you don't want to be around Him then He will give you what you want. But you must understand too that part of accepting His free gift of salvation is admitting that you can't save yourself and freely allowing Him to be Lord of your life. He will not share you, not even with you!

All the problems you have, God will help you with, but you have to allow Him to do so. There are no short cuts. Sometimes it is not an easy road. You said your whole life was being a youth leader and you cannot go back to church without being that. Well that shows me that Christ is not first in your life, you are and that is the root of all the problems. I don't pull punches and I don't candy coat anything, but I figure that is what you wanted since you wrote me.

I hope I have not upset you with anything I have said, I have tried to be honest with you. Please take a close look at your relationship with Christ that is the first place to start.

Ralph

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