Over the years, I have studied and considered the reasons given by members of the church
who have stopped coming or who are struggling with their faith. Many of these people fall into
a category which might be described as being “offended” for some reason. They have been hurt
or disappointed to the extent that they have stopped attending the assemblies, and terminated any
meaningful involvement in the work of the local church. They may attempt to justify their actions
in any number of ways, and for various reasons. The following are typical of some of the reasons
given for being offended:
1. Loss of position or prestige in the church. Because of some argument or change in
circumstances, they no longer feel a sense of power and control, or are no longer consulted in the
work of the local congregation. They have lost what they formerly enjoyed as a position of
influence and respect. There are many reasons why this can occur, but usually it involves a
change in church leadership, such as a new preacher or a new eldership. The person no longer
feels that they have the same influence they previously had. Maybe the new preacher does not
look to them for guidance or counsel. Maybe an elder or elders have been appointed who do not
value the person’s opinion on every decision. Now the person feels left out, no longer “in the
know” on every important issue in the church. Their feelings are hurt, they are offended, and they
either stop coming or become marginalized and disconnected to the work.
This situation illustrates a danger which can overtake us in our Christian lives. We need to be
careful that we are not attending and actively participating in order to receive the praise and
plaudits of men, (Mt. 6:1; 23:5). If such recognition is what is motivating us, we will struggle
when that recognition ceases. We need to remember that our service is for the Lord, not for men.
We are doing the works in the local congregation not to receive congratulations and praise or
attention from others, but to please our Lord. Our Lord does not change, so why should we give
up our various works just because some members of situations change?
I knew of a man who served as an elder in the church, but was offended at a change in the
congregation. He showed his disapproval by dropping all of the good works he had been doing.
He came the next Sunday for services, along with his wife, but they avoided all of the jobs they
had been doing before. It looked like an “I’ll show you” mindset, which reflected poorly on his
reasons for working in the first place. Again, if we are working for the Lord and Master who does
not change, we will not easily end our service when our feelings get hurt.
2. Some are offended because they have been overwhelmed by personal problems. A child
who departs from the faith, a spouse who becomes unfaithful or who dies, the contracting of a
serious illness, and a myriad of other personal problems, can, if we are not careful, discourage us
from our dedicated work in the church. Because these things are so important to us, we tend to
focus upon them exclusively, and we lose our focus on Jesus Christ. Again, we may forget the
real reason we are attending and are actively involved in the church. We are not coming because
our children are coming. We are not coming because our spouse or friends are coming. If all of
these should go away, our Lord and Master remains. Our reason for serving faithfully in the
church is Jesus Christ, (Mt. 6:33).
3. Some are offended because they did not get their way. I knew a member of one congregation
who did not want the church to relocate when it did. The church had found a better location and
larger facility, so it moved. It sold its old building to a denominational group. This brother did
not agree, so he continued to attend in the same building, with the denomination! When we insist
on having our own way, division is inevitable. When we refuse to yield to the decisions of the
congregation in matters of expediency, unity becomes impossible, and our own soul is in
jeopardy, (cf. Phil. 1:2-3; 1 Cor. 1:10).
If you are offended, think about why. Hopefully this review will be helpful to you. Pause and
seriously consider why you are no longer attending, or actively involved in the work as you once
were. If one of the above reasons describes you, think about the scriptural principles involved.
Ask yourself, “Is such an offense really worth the cost of my soul?”
– by Robert C. Veil, Jr.