Read Hebrews 10:24-25
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT)
More than once over the years have I heard people say that they have been away from church because they were going through a really hard time. Their reaction to adversity is to withdraw and lick their wounds. Some even say that they don’t want to inflict their misery on others. While some figure that church people have got it all together so misfits like them don’t truly belong.
Which is all sadly mistaken. It seems gathering with other Christians is not seen as a way of working through our hardship and pain. Quite unlike the Twelve Steps programs used by Alcoholics Anonymous and others which see running to your support system as an essential ingredient of conquering adversity.
Our church gatherings need to be places where the broken-hearted are welcomed and cared for. Not places where triumph and success are trumpeted so loudly that anyone who is not experiencing these things feels out of place. Not places where cheap clichés are dispensed but where companions are found for the long and painful journey we are undertaking.
And individual Christians need to overcome any sense of unworthiness if they are finding life hard. Such people are not the exceptions but the rule. The church is at its best when it can both celebrate the overcomers and support the strugglers. It is, after all, a gathering not of those who have got it all together but of those who are desperate for the much needed grace of a merciful God.