We’ve all been hurt…find another way

I’ve read so many posts from well-meaning persons. Posts written by persons unhappy with the Church and church people. They all seem to know all the various reasons why people are leaving the Church or why people don’t bother to join the Church.

The Church is not focused enough on your needs, church people are too judgemental, they are just pretentious because we don’t know what they are doing etc. It makes my head and heart hurt.

What I can gather, if anything is that people are leaving or not joining because as a people we are selfish, hard to please and socially informed but biblically incompetent.

I love the Church!!! I love its purpose.   So when you choose to publicly express your outrage against the Church/church people I am most upset.  But let me explain why it hurts so much.

The Church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus died for the church. He loves Her, and gave Himself up for HER.  Don’t pretend to love Jesus, but damage the Church. You can’t love Jesus but hate on the Church.

I know, you don’t think what you are doing is damaging the Church, but that’s where you’re wrong. It’s not that your points aren’t right or valid. You’re wrong because you believe that going on and on about all the flaws of the church will make it better. By making public all your grouses, you hurt those who love the Church.

You wound those sweet, saintly persons who are fervently praying that the church benches will be filled. Those person  who aren’t silenced by those who curse the Church/church people.  Those who show up and serve with you in mind no matter what. They do it because once upon a time someone did it for them. They do it because they desperately want to connect so they serve the way they know how. It’s easy to love and serve the Church that is flawless. But to love and serve a struggling one, that’s another level of Christ-likeness.

If you want to build community or grow in intimacy, just show up. Squeeze their hands. See their hearts. Pray for them. Ask about their stories. Hear the countless ways their hearts have been broken by the world and healed by God as they have walked with Jesus longer than some of us have  been alive.

 

Maybe you hope that your words will help the Church, but here’s the thing, the Church’s existence doesn’t depend on your how many shares your post gets. The Church has been preserved all these years by the grace and good pleasure of Jesus Christ. He sustains her. The Church’s challenges are not new. Believe it or not, generations have felt all your frustrations before. She has been abusive. She has been wrong. She has been biased. She has been devious, and yet He sustains Her.

Is the Church broken?  Sure. Can the Church improve? Without a doubt. But the One who sustains also refines.

I won’t tell you that what you feel isn’t valid or important. It is, but you don’t need a million shares on social media to know that. We believe our opinions deserve breath and life. We will share them in the name of transparency, but transparency is not a license to hurt. There are many more productive things our generation could do and be known for.

I would love to see our generation become the one that cheers most loudly for the Church. The generation that sees her flaws but believes the best about Her. The generation that praises Her heart! The generation that says my faithfulness to the Church mirrors my faithfulness to Jesus Christ. The generation that loves not just the flawless church but also the struggling church. The generation that champions the Church. The generation that stops complaining and starts changing-our hearts, our churches and our culture.

Your struggle is real. Your solution is wrong. As you struggle, pray. Ask the Lord to start a revival in your church. Talk with your leadership. Reach out to those in your local body. And stay. Stay close. Stay connected. Stay hopeful.

Our best days are ahead because the days are getting darker. And the Bride of Christ is radiant. Even on her worst days, She still shines.

 

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