I’ve wrestled for a while with the church. The picture Jesus paints, to me, looks very different from the building we see on each corner of Main Street throughout the Bible Belt. Don’t get me wrong, I love the church. I’ve seen the church do amazing things and it’s comforted me when I have needed it the most. However, unfortunately I’ve seen it in its ugliest form too many times to count.
I’ve wrestled with writing this because I know it’s controversial to post negative things about “God’s house”, but I’ve had to ask myself does it truly belong to God anymore? I’m not referring to every church or a specific church or body of believers. I’m referring to the buildings that protect their name at a greater cost than protecting victims of abuse. I’m referring to the buildings that make every decision based on money rather than faith and prayer. I’m referring to the buildings that divide over the color of a chair. Doesn’t the Bible teach Unity?
Look, I get it. Often times these issues arise because people love the church so much they are willing to fight for what they think is right. But, when did we get so caught up in what we wanted that we forget to recognize what we were created to be? See, the church that I read about in the Bible is beautiful. It’s a place for the broken, for the searching, and the sinner. It’s a place for redemption, grace, love, and mercy. It’s not just a place for the “perfectly holy”. The church that I read about in Scripture, it looks more like the cross than a jury of “believers”.
Church, we have to do a better job. The world mocks and ridicules us because we don’t look like the picture that Jesus modeled throughout Scripture. The world mocks us because they see us more concerned with changing others than changing ourselves. They see orphans and widows with no place to go. They see pastors and leaders who’ve mastered the show. They see a group of people who are more concerned with tradition than what Jesus called us too, The Great Commission. We are not only called to “go” but also to love. To love our neighbor, to love family, to love ourselves, and yes, even our enemy.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not blameless in this. Just like Judas, I’ve accepted coins for a traitorous kiss. I’ve fallen short and done all of these things, hate, anger, and apathy have won more times than I would like to admit. I don’t write this to point fingers or blame anyone, I find myself writing hoping to process what we’ve done. When we choose rules over humble morals and integrity, we have to ask ourselves, are we more like Jesus or more like a Pharisee?