Some people who look at the Church today get so overwhelmed that they fall into despair and just give up on her. Others become cynical or embittered, especially if they had some bad experiences at the hands of the Church. All they can see is what the Church does wrong rather than the good God is still doing through His people. Some will zero in on and lash out about certain issues in which the Church is compromising. Though well-intentioned, they tend to turn people further away than toward who they should be.
If we aren’t careful, we can become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Do you feel like the church is compromising and want to do something about it? Pray over the following suggestions.
7 Ways to Help a Compromising Church
- Make sure your own house is in order.
We are ultimately accountable before God for how we stand for truth. Inconsistencies in our own lives hamper attempts we make to correct compromises made by others in the Church. Let’s heed Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:5 — “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
- Focus on what you stand for more than what you stand against.
I read that when people are trained to identify counterfeit bills, they study the real thing, not the counterfeit. They don’t focus on what a bill shouldn’t be like but rather what it should be. Who should we be in Christ? What do we have in Him? What should we stand for as believers? Let’s focus on who we should be as the Church more than who we shouldn’t be. Let’s be known for what we stand for not just against. People will tend to listen more when we have a cause, not a rant.
- Be careful not to miss the big picture because you are hung up on specific issues.
We need to keep perspective. Specific issues are usually symptomatic of bigger problems. Deal with the roots and the rest will tend to right itself. Look at the five reasons for compromising given in a previous post. If those core issues aren’t addressed, you are merely engaging in debate about the specifics. People will continue to compromise when the foundations are faulty.
- Speak the truth but do it in love (Eph. 4:15).
We need a Christ-like approach. Yes, Jesus spoke with authority, but He was not an authoritarian (Lk. 4:31-32, 36; Mk. 10:42-45). Jesus came full of both grace AND truth (Jn. 1:14). Failure to speak truth to one another is likely one of the reasons the Church has gotten into such a state of compromising. Truth without grace, however, merely leads to further rebellion, hurts, or people turning a deaf ear.
- Remember that it is the Spirit’s job to convict, convince, and change hearts. (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-8, 13-14; 1 Cor. 2:10-14)
Our responsibility is to plant the seed of Truth and to water it but we must remember that “neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7). It’s not about winning people over to our “side.” That kind of goal is divisive rather than unifying. Read the verses leading up to the one just quoted. When we try to take on a role that belongs to God, we actually can do more harm than good. People usually don’t respond well to those who try to play God in their lives.
- Stand against the schemes of the devil.
The devil is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44), seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). One of the biggest schemes of the devil is to get us to forget that he is the real enemy. But, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:11-12). When we lose sight of this truth we tend to attack people more than help them. We divide the church because of the positions we take rather than become the Church we should be.
- Pray, pray and then pray some more.
Keep praying. Don’t underestimate the role of prayer. Look back through history and you will find that fervent prayer accompanied some of the greatest revivals in the Church. Let’s be praying for pliable and yielded hearts. Speaking truth is not the only way we can be a part of the change process. When people won’t listen or when they get defensive, we don’t need to keep pressing the issue or fall into despair about it. Rather, we can keep praying knowing that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).