Last week, I talked about the Gospel. It has really weighed on my heart lately to share this message more often. Also along those lines, I want to talk about the Church. How do you define church? What has your experience been? Please, share, and consider this, as well…
We are all complete hypocrites. Not a single person is without sin, from gossip and drunkenness, to theft and murder, there are a million ways we all “mess up” every single day. And while it can be easy to say, “well sure, but I’m not THAT bad,” what really makes one thing that much worse than another? We sin constantly.
It is because of this that “the church” has such a broken and shameful 2000-year history. Many tragic events have occurred throughout history in the name of Christ. It’s terrible, and while I had no part of that, it is something I recognize and apologize for, regardless. Even today, we make mistakes and hurt people day in and day out, yet many of us go about our business and to church on Sunday, put on a smile, and pretend to be great. It is this hypocrisy that often turns away non-believers. Many people I love dearly say, “Why should I go to church when the guy in the front row was out drunk last night? And the next family over treats each other terribly? What’s the point?” And really, who can blame them for feeling this way?
The point is that we are all human. Your preacher, your neighbor, your child – they all make mistakes. The beauty of faith in Christ is knowing that we can seek forgiveness, even on the darkest days. Even when we look at God and say, “I did it again, even when I told you I wouldn’t. I messed up.” He looks back at us and says, “I know, and I forgive you, and I love you.”
He forgives us. (!!!!!!!)
I don’t try to sin. I don’t think to myself, “you know what I’m going to do today? Gossip and drink too much wine and envy my friends who make more money than I do.” But I still do it, and a lot more than just that. Sometimes, I recognize it immediately. Other times, it may take quite a while for me to confront what I know to be true.
If you have left a church, or avoided them altogether, due to our tumultuous Christian history or because of your own experiences, I urge you to know that “church,” as we know it, is an organization made of humans. Measly little humans, always making mistakes. But The Church is a much larger idea. The Church is described in the bible as “the wife,” where Christ is “the husband.” WE are the church – not some building we visit on Sundays – and so we are supposed to be in relationship with Christ, just as a husband and wife are in relationship with each other. Yes, a church is a community where we share our faith, hope, struggles, and relationships. And it can take time to find a physical church that suits you and your family’s needs. But THE CHURCH is so much greater than that.
If you don’t go to church, whether it’s because of your past with a church or your view of church-goers, I encourage you to think more about it. Read about it. Spend time visiting many churches to see what they have going on. But most of all, remember that we, as people of faith, ARE the church, and the building is simply a place to be in community with others just like us.
And as I mentioned last week, a few times, please do not forget that you are loved.