How to Respond to Selfishness Within the Church
- Cliff Young, Debbie Holloway
- 2012 9 Aug
EDITOR'S NOTE: he said-she said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view.
QUESTION: I am 26 Years old. I am heavily involved within my church as the head youth leader, member of the worship team, and leader of a bible study group. I also help in the process of connecting new people to the church.
I really struggle with the fact that all the other young adults (married and unmarried) in my church are so selfish. If a new person comes to church they are very cliquey and just don’t talk to them. The unmarried ones think they have it rough because they are single, and they also try to set me up with guys I’m not interested in! Sometimes I feel as if I am the only caring one in our young adults group. How do I stop feelings of judgment and jealousy?
As an active member of your church, I am confident you are using the gifts God has given you, built incredible relationships, and received some amazing blessings along the way. These are the by-products of serving with an open heart. However, a negative side effect can be feelings of exclusion or exclusivity.
When I was in a relatively similar situation, I had to force myself to step back once in awhile and reevaluate my heart and the reasons why I was doing what I was doing. I concluded my actions had nothing to do with or was the concern of anyone outside of those whom I was accountable to or served. I was called to a distinct role at that certain time and place, and was responsible for being obedient to His calling.
When I fully comprehended that, what someone else did or did not do in or for God’s kingdom became no concern of mine, nor should be judged by me. We are all called to a specific purpose at a precise time when we are ready. It is not my role to evaluate, monitor, control, scrutinize or determine what another person’s ministry or timeframe should be.
We are only accountable for ourselves, each of us having a unique function and responsibility.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body....Those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 1 Corinthians 12:12
Since we live in a broken world within a society which places more emphasis on being self-made rather than self-less, we will always encounter those who seem to be living only for themselves. However, we don’t know what another person may be doing beyond what we see and have no right to judge someone else’s heart.
Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
You find yourself in a rough situation, and I commend you for a few things. First, your work in that church is clearly valuable. I’m sure you are such a blessing to the teams on which you serve, and especially to the visiting young adults.
I also want to encourage you, because you are trying to work out your own heart and actions as opposed to simply trying to change the people around you. You have discovered what most people take a lifetime to realize: you can only change yourself, not others.
So now, your question: How do I stop feelings of judgment and jealousy?
Try to remind yourself that everyone has a story, a reason, a motivation. You may not buy into the phrase “to know all is to forgive all” but we must remember that our Heavenly Father truly does forgive all! So we should strive to as well. Perhaps some of these less-than-courteous young people in your church are introverted and unobservant, and do not realize that they ostracize visitors. Perhaps they simply suffer from a typical case of Me-centeredness and do not have the servant’s conviction which you have cultivated. Whatever their reason for behaving this way, know that your continued godly example is still important. Your standard of conduct is high, because you serve a Holy, Good God.
After all, “though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it!” –Ephesians 5:8
Have you ever discussed these problems with the people who bother you? We weren’t created to be mind-readers. Talking things out can be sticky and uncomfortable - and is certainly not always appropriate… But if you are cultivating bitterness inside and neither the responsible parties nor your fellow leaders know of it, that could lead to some pretty nasty backlash.
Keep in mind Jesus’ command that in order to be right with God, Matthew 5:23. If you feel jealousy and judgment swelling in your heart, know that God’s love and light are within you. You have the amazing opportunity to be that light to others. I hope that’s encouraging…even if it seems sometimes that you’re the only one.
HE is … cliff young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Debbie Wright, Assistant Editor for Family Content at Crosswalk. She lives in Glen Allen, Virginia and is an avid writer, reader, and participant in local community theatre.
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately (we think they sound eerily similar sometimes, too!).
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Publication date: August 9, 2012