Ask someone to go to church, and you are likely to hear an excuse. We should not always be judgmental of the excuses that we hear. Some people possess genuine and deep hurt caused by bad church situations or by people at church. Christians should express understanding and concern to such people.
However, some excuses reveal not so flattering things about the heart of the person making the excuse. I will explain what three of the most common excuses reveal about the person. However, let me make a disclaimer. I am not saying those who have no religion or faith have to go to church. They may by choice do so but they are not obligated. I am addressing people who say they are Christian; yet still do not participate in their local church.
Excuse: There are a lot of hypocrites at church. Really, there are sinners who go to church. That’s shocking! Not really. Christians readily, or at least should readily, admit that they are sinners. It is the main reason that a person needs Christ, becomes a Christian, and goes to church. A church is not a place where perfect people go so that they can be around other perfect people. It is a spiritual hospital where people go to be spiritually healed.
One can easily flip this excuse around. Is this person making it suggesting that he or she cannot be around imperfect people? They cannot go to church because the church has sinners in it. If that is the case, then the person is being holier-than-thou and judgmental. In fact, they become what they claim to hate about those in the church.
Excuse: I have studied the Bible for myself and I don’t need anyone telling me what to believe about it. This excuse also reveals a level of pride and arrogance that the person likely does not realize nor intend. First, it reveals a belief in the perfectness of one’s own intelligence. The person is saying that he or she has perfect understanding and does not need anyone else to help him or her understand more.
First of all, this is illogical. It does not apply in other areas of life. Professionals such as doctors and lawyers have to continue studying and often with the help of others through seminars and special training sessions. Athletes, even the most gifted, need coaches to help them perfect their technique. It does not apply to understanding the Bible either.
The church has roughly twenty centuries of looking at the Bible, debating its meaning, and seeking to come to conclusions. Do people who make this excuse really mean to say that they are the only ones in twenty centuries with perfect knowledge of what the Bible says? I think not, but it does sound that way.
Excuses: They always ask for money. Hopefully, the person has not experienced a church where every Sunday, the sermon is on giving and the offering plate is passed five or six times. What I suppose this means is that the person thinks the church should be able to pay its staff, pay the bills, help the poor, and send missionaries without members contributing anything.
If someone believes the more traditional church with a building and paid staff is a waste of money, then perhaps they should consider a house church. There are many around and an Internet search may help someone find one. Be forewarned. Even house churches still take offerings because helping those in need and doing ministry requires money.
So, what excuse is left? Perhaps you have others.