Joshua Breland blogs at “A Return to Faith.”
Right now, there are jaded people among your church body. Some are laypeople, some are deacons, some are perhaps elders or pastors. But know this, there are Christians in your congregation who are hurting and struggling with their faith and their relationship to the church.
Merriam-Webster can help us understand what I mean by “jaded”:
jaded: made dull, apathetic, or cynical by experience
Merriam-Webster accurately describes where I am at in regards to the local church, Christian organizations, and theSouthern Baptist Convention. I do not admit this flippantly but with much fear and trembling. I am aware that the Christian life is not to be marked by jadedness, at least not for long. So, I want to offer some encouragement to the Body of Christ that will hopefully help the jaded church members among us.
We have not always been this way.
No follower of Christ is converted and falls directly into apathy and cynicism. Love, joy, peace, these mark the new Spirit-filled believer (Gal 5:22). But something happened to bring us down. Some significant event(s) or relationship has brought on the disillusionment of the jaded Christian. So, please know, we are not just a Debbie Downer or Pitiful Pete (I just made that one up). No, we have real experiences that are hurting our Christian life. We have not always been this way.
We do not want to stay this way.
The jaded Christian yearns to be in a better spiritual place. The Spirit of God is always at work in God’s people and is always leading us to faith and joy. Taking our eyes off Christ, we jaded Christians have been seduced by the lies of the devil and our own flesh. We do not want to stay in this spiritual rut, so know that deep down we are desperate for the help and ministry of our brothers and sisters in the church.
Our problem is your problem.
The redeemed of Christ, the church, are spoken of in Scripture as Christ’s body (1 Cor 12). We are all various body parts making up the body of Christ here on Earth. This means that the jaded brother or sister sitting next to you in the pew, or preaching from the pulpit, is very important to your collective well-being. To ignore us jaded Christians or to be content with us staying in this dangerous spiritual position just will not do. The Lord expects us to carry each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2) and the jaded Christian in the church has three bags full.
Help those hurting.
There are several ways to help us jaded Christians. One vital way is to have an intentional prayer life for us. If you know of someone who is jaded with the church or faith, add them to your prayer list and plead for their restoration on their behalf.
Another way to help is to tell your elders or church leadership about your hurting brother or sister. It is not always easy to admit you are jaded, especially if you are someone who works in the church or is on a path to lead in the church (seminary students). By letting your church leadership know of the issue, you will help them bring effective ministry to your fellow church member.
A final way to help is to offer sound counsel to the jaded among you. Counseling a fellow believer with biblical truth will not fail (Isa 55:11). The Word of God is powerful and necessary for God’s people. It is likely that the jaded Christian is struggling with Bible intake and receiving biblical truths. Your speaking God’s truths into their life will bless you and them.