By Luther Blackmon
There are many excuses offered for quitting the church, but none that God will accept I am sure. Not many people are honest enough just to face up to reality and admit that they have quit. They are just femporarily absent for a few month or years (as if the Lord had given them a furlough or leave of absence) and they “are just as good Christians as ever-they just haven’t been coming.” If this were not so tragic it would be laughable. Such people have lied to themselves so long and blamed other people for their spiritual lethargy (hat they have actually come to believe these excuses (lies) themselves. But if you want to see such a person wake up to the fact that he has been lying about his unfaithfulness, just let him have a check-up and discover that he has a only a few months or weeks to live. Right away he forgets all about those time-worn, frazzled out and motheaten excuses he has been leaning on. And-most likely he will come to worship the next Sunday and make confession of unfaithfulness. He has forgotten the complaint that some member of the church didn’t treat him right or the church was not friendly or somebody criticized the way he (or she) was dressed or laughed at his accent or colloquialisms. These are not important any more. They never were really important. They just offered a smoke screen to a fellow who loved his pride and his job and his recreation and nearly everything else above the Lord. Now he can see these little hypocritical alibis for what they really are. But it may be too late. Now he can never be sure that he is coming back because he really wants to do right or because he is afraid o~’ what awaits unfaithful Christians. He knows down in his heart that if he had not discovered that he was going to die pretty soon, he would have gone on perhaps indefinitely, with his lame excuses.
There are things along the way that discourage all of us from time to time. Sometimes people can be very cruel in their remarks. I could name quite a few instances in my life as a Christian when things were said and done that hurt me deeply. But it wasn’t the Lord (hat hurt me, so why should I QUIT THE LORD because SOME MAN insulted me? Let us not kid ourselves as to why we are not attending worship. We are not deceiving the Lord, that’s certain.
Truth Magazine XX: 41, p. 653
October 14, 1976