I love the Church. I’m often very saddened by horrible stories of condemnation, abuse, hypocrisy, and so on that come out of the church. The bible describes the church as the bride of Christ. This is a wonderful mystery that I often can’t quite wrap my brain around. I choose to believe and embrace that Jesus loves the church and gave his life up for her. People often tell me that they love Jesus, but hate the church. Every single time I hear these words, my soul cringes. I usually offer a sincere apology to the person who received wounds from the church. But, in the same breath I offer an apology to Jesus for his bride not representing who he truly is, what he desires for individuals, and what he desires for the world.
To be clear, when people say they love Jesus but hate the church it is like someone walking up to Chad and saying, “Man, I really like you. You’re funny, wise, a great communicator. You’ve given me so much help in my life. But, let me tell ya, I really hate your wife. Angel is just a pitiful excuse for a wife!” Can you imagine? It’s absurd! Chad wouldn’t be ok with it! In the same way, I’m convinced Jesus wants to love and defend his bride, even in all our sin and stupidity.
If you are not a follower of Jesus and you’ve had ugly experiences with the church, I am truly sorry. My only excuse is that humans make mistakes...often. Please don’t hold your experiences against Jesus anymore. Please give Jesus and a different church another chance. I’m willing to help you find a place to learn and worship in your area. But, to be involved in a church takes participation and commitment in order to feel connected. If you are offended, don’t hold it in. Speak up in a loving way and make sure you aren’t just looking to be offended. If they won’t listen to you, I would love to have a conversation with you.
If you are a follower of Jesus that is still angry at the church, it might be time to work towards forgiveness. Some of you have wounds that may be incredibly deep and may need to be scrapped out in order to find proper healing. Not to be offensive, but in the spirit of authenticity, some of your hurts may just be surface scratches. It’s time to forgive the way Christ forgave you. Ouch. I know. But, let’s just be real. Talk to a leader in the church. I pray whoever you choose to talk to is wise and humble, and that your wounds towards the church will be healed.
For the church bashing followers of Jesus out there... stop bashing and hating the bride of Christ! It’s just time to stop it. Be part of the solution! You will not find a group of perfect people. It does not exist. Commit yourself to a body of like-minded followers of Jesus and affect change! Jesus desires to use communities of faith to do his work. Yes, he can use individuals. But, the Bible says over and over that he will bring redemption to the world through Jesus, through the church, to the glory of God the Father.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.