Today, there is a large chorus of people who verbally attack the Church and its members for being judgmental and unloving. Many recite stories of how they have been hurt by churches or Christian leaders. Perhaps most surprisingly, a large portion of this chorus is made up of Christians who themselves do not feel comfortable around other Christians.
As a Pastor and Leadership Coach who often has the privilege of coaching Christian leaders and others, I am among the first to admit that the Church has many challenges. It is an unrefuted fact that churches and their members are not perfect.
I have heard it said that the only perfect church is the one that has no members. While this is perhaps a clever idiom, the statement is simply not true. If there was such thing as a perfect church, it would have to perfectly execute its mission. Being that the mission is to win and disciple believers, the perfect church must have members, or it is not a church at all.
To progress toward the perfect church requires the opposite approach from our human tendency to duck and cover. We must communicate with one another to work through misunderstandings and pain. We must be willing to constrain our pride and consider other people. We are family and while we may frustrate each other to no end at times, we must learn to come together in love, mercy and forgiveness.
All the above not-withstanding, there is another reason why we may feel uncomfortable around Christian folk – It’s called sin.
All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” (John 3:20-21 NLT)
Keep in mind that John was not writing this in the New York Times or on a Facebook post. He was writing a letter to a church. He was letting people know that sin not only alienates us from God, it also alienates us from each other. When we are not living up to God’s standards or His calling for our life, we don’t feel comfortable being around those who are at least trying to.
The good news, is that the road back to fellowship with God and His children is not a difficult one. The same John that wrote the scripture above, also said, “… if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn 1:9 NIV). Once we have asked, and He has answered, Paul tells us, “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1 NIV) We no longer have to feel uncomfortable or ashamed. The Resurrection is evidence that neither death nor sin can enslave those who kneel at the cross.
Father, I pray that You will bring us all into divine unity with You and all of Your children. Bless our readers today beyond all they can imagine. In Jesus Name, Amen!