Church bashing – it’s a thing.
Hurt people – disillusioned people – grace filled people – judgey people
Everyone church bashes.
Which is kinda strange since the Church is the Bride of Christ.
I used to believe it was just the little “c” church – the local church that people complain about. The local church where people get hurt or have other reasons for leaving. Could be something like a mean remark made or not liking the music – maybe the pastor said something you disagree with so you’re out – or it could be something major like abuse. There are many reasons why people leave one church and go to another similar church. The local church struggles because people are messy. We’re broken wounded bitter angry anxious people. So we hurt each other and we disagree with each other and we either bash the church and leave… or we just leave.
Like I said I used to think it was just the little “c” church that people bashed, but now it has turned into the Church that people are bashing.
Which is kind of scary because the Church is the Bride of Christ.
Tolerance is the word now and anything that sounds like or seems to have boundaries is not… tolerated. And it’s scary because love and acceptance is surely a great and wonderful thing. And, not but, and… God is a holy God.
He is absolute Truth and absolute Love.
It seems like people are choosing one or the other. Love or Truth. So people are bashing the Church because they see some only looking at Truth and they bash the Church because they see some only looking at Love, so it gets messy.
So it makes me nervous when people bash the Church – the Bride of Christ.
The Bride of Christ is hard to understand. It seems like a hard thing to grasp in our minds – but it can be pretty simple. If you love Jesus – if you are seeking Him – if you are pursuing Him – if you have chosen Him as the Lord of your life… you are part of His Bride.
You are part of an eternal love affair.
You are part of a love that is deep and so wide, It goes on and on and on.
It’s a mystery that started before time and it won’t end.
Another mystery is why Jesus thought the church would be a good way to live, love and bring others to Him.
I once was in a meeting where a professional coach for church leaders made the statement something like this: “You can’t really grow and live out the Christian life alone.” I get that – it’s easy to not gossip, and to love quirks, and to not get mad at people when you’re not bumping up against each other. It’s a lot tougher to love and accept and have grace and care for people and all our messiness and vulnerabilities when we’re living life together week in and week out.
Read these verses from Colossians 3:12-17; “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
My husband the pastor often has preached something like this: “What if the church could live that out? People would come running to be loved like that, what a witness the church would be”
But it’s hard because we are broken people. But we’re broken people who are seeking God. Seeking the Holy One.
The Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.
The One who is more powerful than all us broken people.
So it makes me nervous when people church bash because the local church is part of the the Church. And it makes me scared when people Church bash because the Church is the Bride of Christ – a mystery that is full of the promise of eternity.
I’ve heard people say I don’t need church. It’s full of hypocrites. True. There is nothing perfect about people who go to church.
Or, I don’t need to go to church to believe. True. A person does not need to go to church to believe in Jesus.
It is also the way Jesus decided to grow His Bride.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24, 25.
The Day is approaching – Jesus is coming to get His Bride.