During my life I have seen so many human errors that I no longer have faith in humanity. Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior and I’m willing to do everything I should in order to follow His will.  However, I know I’m not perfect either and that I have my own faults, which I ask God to forgive me every time I pray. I really like to read the Bible, but I don’t attend any church…. I don’t want to go to any church either because of the unpleasant experiences I’ve had in those institutions.

Dear Friend,

How very sorry we are to hear about your unpleasant church experiences! What you say explains why so many churches have constant problems. It is because those churches are full of people! Anywhere there are people, there are going to be mistakes and failures.

Most people who go to church don’t claim to be “holy” or “perfect.” On the contrary, many people attend because they know that they are sinful by nature and that only God can help them to not commit so many sins. So they go to learn more about God and the Bible, to be encouraged in their faith, and to meet other people who are on the same journey toward God. Those other people are not perfect either, but most of them are trying to live according to God’s will for their lives. They can understand one another and be a good influence on each other.

Are all church attenders trying to have a closer relationship with God? Of course not! There are those who think of the church as a social club. They go to see their friends, and some even go to show off their new clothes. The Bible lessons, the prayers, and the songs have no meaning to them. Their lives are no different than those who do not attend church. Some lie, cheat, and steal, sometimes hurting other church attenders.

Then there are those who go because it is a tradition for their family. They say that they have always gone to that church and that they always will. They get married in the church and expect their children to do the same. But though they go through the motions of practicing those traditions, it doesn’t come from their hearts. They may be in the church building, but they don’t know God.

It sounds like you have been unfortunate enough to attend churches where the people that you knew did not have a genuine and sincere relationship with Christ. They may have been fulfilling requirements or sacraments of their religion, but sacraments and religion do not change lives. Only a close relationship with Jesus Christ will change a life. That is because Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is the One who laid down His life to pay the penalty for my sin and for yours.

Please read Cases 234 and 591 to see our advice to others who have had undesirable experiences with church people. Like them, you need to search until you find a church of genuine worshippers.

We wish you the best,