Betrayal hurts! Walking through a divorce of a close friend confirmed that. The closer the relationship the more severe the harm. It felt personal when a co-worker decided to walk away from our company for a new opportunity. Relational betrayal hurts in all areas of life. Whether it is a co-worker, a friend, or a spouse the leaving the hurt remains long after the departure. However, there is another relationship where a departure can induce hurt…the church!

Someone leaving your church can feel like a betrayal. A place where you’ve experienced warm welcome, love, and encouragement is nothing to scoff at. A group of people who have lived life with, struggled, and even worked through difficult things is a blessing. So when one of those people decides to voluntarily leave your community it can feel personal. It hurts like family.

We aren’t colleagues. We aren’t comrades. We aren’t neighbors. We are family. If we are to understand the nature of the relationship between believers, we don’t need to understand work, politics, or geography. We need to understand family.

Tim Challies

While we may disagree on what the church is or should be, the emotional response to our spiritual community when it is wrecked, harmed, or dismissed may be similar. Why is it when someone chooses to leave our church, with what seems like ease, does it feel closer to betrayal than begrudging life necessity? Tim Challies gives a take on this subject in his article, “When the Great Resignation Comes to Church“. Without giving away the entire article, Challies shares, “To leave a church is more like seceding from a family than resigning a job.”

What about you? Have you had to leave a church? How did you process that? Have you had a beloved friend, confidant, or “family” member depart from your local church family? How did that feel to you? Why do you think that is? I’d love to hear your story, experience, and responses to any of these situations.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Until Next Time…

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash