Disappointment with Other Christians

For my Christian readers, have you ever been deeply disappointed by other Christians? I hope you haven’t, but if you haven’t been disappointed by other Christians, then you are probably an exception. I once knew of a person who was involved in Christian ministry but later renounced his faith in Christ. He said that his doubts about the truth of Christianity began when he felt deeply burned by the people at his church.

I have been disappointed more than once with the attitudes and behaviors of other Christians toward me. But I have to admit that in my Christian life and work, other Christians have also expressed their disappointment in me. So what are we to think about the challenge of being a Christian who is at times disappointed by other Christians?

Allow me to offer three points for your consideration:

1. One of the best-supported facts of the Christian faith is that human beings are sinners.

The people who make up Christ’s church are all broken people. That doesn’t excuse bad behavior, and criminal acts of physical or sexual abuse should never be overlooked or tolerated, and least of all condoned. But the biblical doctrine of total depravity (sin has impacted the entire person at their core—see Psalm 51:5 and 58:3) is confirmed every single day in the lives of other people and, more painfully, in our own lives as well (Proverbs 20:9). Christian people are to strive to do the right thing and love their neighbor, but sin has caused brokenness at a fundamental level. So even on my best day, I doubt whether I can truly escape my deep-seated selfishness and love God with my entire being and also love my neighbor as myself.

It is also important to appreciate that other religions and philosophical worldviews don’t have a realistic view of human nature. For example, the Islamic faith says people are born good, without a fallen nature. But Islam has a terrible record of violence and inhumane treatment, often among its own Muslim people. And the naturalistic, evolutionary, atheistic worldview also can’t adequately explain both the goodness and the fallenness of humanity. As apologist Hugh Ross says, human beings are both better and worse than what a secular Darwinist should come to expect from human nature.

I like to tell people that the bad news is that sin is a bigger problem than most people realize (even Christians). Yet the good news is that God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ is also much greater than most people realize (even Christians).

So while it is true that you’ve likely been treated badly by Christian people, those bad experiences are consistent with the Christian worldview that even forgiven sinners (Christians) still sin, and sometimes grievously so. The process of sanctification (whereby God transforms our character) is long and difficult. Unfortunately, in everyday practice it is often one step forward and two steps back.

2. Join a church, but keep your expectations about the sanctification level of other members, like your own, at a realistic level.

If you’re expecting to find a morally perfect church, you’ll forever be disappointed. As the famous bumper sticker says, “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” That’s right. As Christians, we’re all forgiven sinners who still struggle with sin (sins such as anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth). I think that inner selfishness is often the sin that is the most difficult for Christians to avoid.

We have a scriptural obligation to be part of a local congregation (Hebrews 10:25). And we should seek to reconcile with other Christians when we have differences and when offenses have been committed (Matthew 18:15). But sometimes, we also have to set boundaries to ensure that people are respected and protected.

3. Christians may disappoint you, but Jesus Christ will not.

The Triune God of historic Christianity loves you and has forgiven all your sins in Christ (Titus 3:4–7). Christian people may have deeply hurt and disappointed you, but our Lord will not. God’s grace and providential care will meet all your needs. Don’t give up on the Lord because his representatives are still broken and flawed.

If you’ve been hurt by Christian people, then you might want to talk with a skilled and trusted pastor or counselor and work through the pain and sorrow. Everyone at one time or another in their life needs help and guidance from a competent, qualified, and trusted Christian professional. You might also discover that the warmth and care you can receive from your brothers and sisters in Christ can serve to soften and heal the past offenses and hurts.

Reflections: Your Turn

How have you dealt with your disappointments with other Christians?


  One thought on “Disappointment with Other Christians

    • October 11, 2017 at 6:29 am

      Thanks for the link.

      Ken Samples

      • Buff
        February 3, 2020 at 6:57 pm

        Gods no2 man on Earth, Derek Prince was always disapponted with other Christians. Prince often talks about Witchcraft in the church or churches run by Pharisees running get rich quick scams enslaving their congregations to giving church leaders money that goes to their own leisure and pleasure.

  1. Rita
    October 14, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Our family has just experienced a horrible tragedy with the sudden loss of our youngest child from a sudden heart attack, leaving a 4-yr. old son and lovely wife. Some of my Christian friends have been loving us tenderly; some close ones have greatly disappointed me/us with their lack of expressing care, apart from the initial “I’m sorry,” as though all is now well. Even some of my close unbelieving friends have shown more tenderness and love. What the Lord is saying about any disappointment and hurt is that I am to reach out and extend love anway, in spite of any lack on anyone’s part, hold no bitterness against anyone, and expect nothing in return. Just as Jesus did, which I’ve decided to do. What a surprisingly freeing command! Nothing in my heart to weigh me down with negative feelings toward others, freeing them from owing me anything, and having the pleasure and joy of Jesus, in spite of the grief and pain.
    I hate death, I hate the devil, and I’m a bit upset with Adam and Eve for their choice that left us in this condition. Thank you, Lord, that you have given us a way back to You.

    • October 15, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Dear Rita:

      I’ll be praying for you and your family.

      Thank you for expressing your robust affirmation of grace and agape. Your magnanimous approach is indeed the way to avoid the common temptations to give into cynicism and disillusionment.

      Your comments on this blog always reflect grace and wisdom.

      Warm regards in the Triune God as you grieve your love one.

      Ken Samples

  2. Russell W. Aubrey
    October 30, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Mr. Samples, how does one go about finding a competent, qualified, and trusted Christian professional, should the search be outside one’s own church or general area? It seems like a difficult task, assuming one is acting on possible recommendations, which is, I suppose, the only way to proceed. Is it better to narrow down the search by first expressing what the subject to be discussed entails? How does one trust another’s suggestion? It seems like there are nuances to finding help that might lead one down a rabbit hole or two. In short, how does one get a “hit” and not a “miss” on the first or second try? I’m not trying to be vague, only interested in not wasting my time or that of another.

    • October 31, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Hello, Russell.

      Thank you for your important inquiry.

      I think first defining the kind of professional counsel needed would be very helpful (spiritual, theological, psychological, educational).

      You could consider asking the people you already respect for recommendations. Christian churches, denominations, schools, and radio-podcast programs often have a recommended list of professionals in various fields.

      Finding two reliable sources that highly recommend the same given Christian professional can serve as a helpful confirmation.

      Best regards.

      Ken Samples

    • November 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Thanks for the link.

      Ken Samples

  3. February 20, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for this timely reminder Ken. (I know I am late reading it, but I’m catching up.)

    I am reminded of an incident that occurred after years of me faithfully playing drums at church. I’d stepped down for a while to give myself space for dealing with a personal spiritual crisis.

    Over time the entire worship team I’d played with was changed out with kids rising up from the youth group (which is actually really great, in and of itself), but many of the older musicians were treated poorly, and some left the church, wounded. Good musicians, every one, and faithful servants giving their time and talent, it was communicated that they were not “good enough”. Of course, they never missed a practice or a service for which they were scheduled.

    There came a point, much later, when I noticed that the band was having problems keeping the role of drummer filled and I thought I’d step up and offer to fill in as needed, even though I am only of average skill, not nearly as good as some of the kids who had been playing.

    Well, I was asked to come after rehearsal and “try out”. By that time I was a little rusty; I arrived after a stressful 12 hour day; as I sat down the sound guy left; I was given no time to warm up; there was no sound mix on stage to speak of — it was a muddy mess of sound and I was unable to hear the instruments of the two guys who were “interviewing” me; and I was asked to play songs I’d never played before. Long story short, it was a musical “disatrophy” that ended with the proverbial, “thanks for coming, don’t call us, we’ll call you”.

    I could have walked away wounded, with my pride hurt, after what is possibly the most “rigged for failure” session imaginable, but my recent reformation of my faith allowed me the grace to recognize I was offering to serve, and it was perfectly okay with me if my services weren’t needed.

    As a musician (of sorts 🙂 I’ve seen other musos terribly treated at the hands of church leaders; I watched two of the most talented young worship leaders kicked to the curb by an incoming pastor because he wanted to purge the old staff; a couple, her a brilliant, beautify singer; him a solid guitar player and perhaps the most humble leader I’ve ever had the pleasure to serve with. And then had to watch a dear friend step up into the roll of worship leader, pull the band together, and bring the band to a really great place, again in humility and a spirit of servanthood, only to be booted in turn because, well, I never did work out why on that one.

    And in the end, what can we say but “there but by the grace of God would I also go”. We are all sinners, every last one; grace is all the more precious because it’s given in pain, I guess.

    • February 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      Hello, Lawrence.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your poignant story. I can tell that this experience impacted you deeply.

      As I read your words I thought to myself that when Christians impact us for good that positive influence is significant. But when Christians impact us for bad that negative influence is also significant.

      But we must continually remind ourselves that Christians are forgiven sinners and that the road of sanctification is long and incomplete in this life. And through circumstances some of us have more brokenness than others.

      I tell people that because of my brokenness I may let them down. But Jesus will not let them down.

      Best regards to you, Lawrence.

      P.S. As a drummer, how would you rate Ringo’s ability?

  4. realcrowe
    July 31, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I looked for friends among Christians for years in churches. They never had the time. Where I live, if you are not in the clique, you are not invited in. I gave up. They want a specific type of person and that’s it. I’m not that so was pretty much left in the cold for decades. I gave up. Now, I have NO judgement, no sitting by myself at the country club (church) and talk to God more than I ever did. I’m not bitter, but I am not wasting my time going to another one hear them talk about how much they love everyone and then rebuff you when you ask them for anything. Been burned by Christians, pastors, and other leaders. Not getting burned again.

    • July 31, 2019 at 8:10 am



      I understand your experience and I’m sorry you were treated that way.

      The church is a hospital for broken people but many don’t understand their own brokenness.

      I pray the Lord guides you in your life.

      Best regards in Jesus.

      Ken Samples

      • realcrowe
        July 31, 2019 at 2:44 pm


        A hospital for broken people? I was a broken person and they couldn’t care less about me. In the last few months, I had two reach out to me and I opened up to them, against my better judgement, and they were too lazy to even write back. It makes me wonder what kind of screw up God is since I’m done that way time and time again. Well, it’s the last time for me. Not wasting my time with another one.

      • July 31, 2019 at 4:08 pm


        I’ve also had challenging times with the churches I’ve attended. So I can relate.

        But as I say in my article above, Christian people are broken people and not yet fully sanctified by God’s grace. The Bible teaches this truth.

        But while Christians will disappoint you, and we can even be disappointed with ourselves, I know Jesus will not disappoint you.

        I pray God’s grace will heal you and guide you in your relationship with him.


        Ken Samples

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