Sometimes I have just had it up to here with the Church. I’m not talking specifically about my home church (little “c”) but rather the big “C” Church. You know, the “Family of Believers,” “Christians.” Some days I feel that we’re more like the “Bride of Frankenstein” than the “Bride of Christ.” We sure can get snarky. A while ago I had a conversation with a Christian who was just plain mean. Intolerant. Uncompassionate. Smug. Self-satisfied. Blech. It made me mad because that kind of attitude is so unlike Jesus and it can give such an inaccurate picture of Christ. Jesus is loving and compassionate and funny and caring and just AWESOME. But then I hear some of my friends refer to Christians as judgmental or mean and I think WHAT??? There’s been a disconnect somewhere, and I’ve seen some Jesus-loving friends wash their hands of the whole group. Jesus? YES. Love Him. Christians? Hmmm … well.
But you know, we shouldn’t be surprised that Christians can be jerks. It even kind of makes sense if you think about it. We are, every one of us, pretty messed up.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:3-5
Jesus came BECAUSE we’re all messed up. We might be able to hide it for a while, but deep down we humans are plagued by insecurities and desires and self-centeredness so it’s no wonder that the nastiness comes out sometimes. I mean, Christians are not perfect. We don’t really claim to be (although, God knows, we sometimes pretend to be), and I don’t know why I expect that of myself and everyone else who wears the name. We’re in process, hopefully becoming more like Jesus every day as we get to know Him better. So I’ve decided I’m not going to wash my hands of the whole messed up bunch of us, myself included. One reason is because if Jesus can forgive us when we’re acting like jerks, I think He can help me forgive, too. And the second reason is because, well, sometimes the Church is FANTASTIC.
I know, I know, you didn’t see it coming. You all have whiplash now and I’m very sorry.
Today I spent some time with a friend who loves Jesus. We were talking about all sorts of stuff like our families and our jobs and patio furniture and I don’t know what all else. But you know, God came up an awful lot, too. It’s kind of like being in love for the first time … you know that time right after you fall in love when you think about that person all the time and no matter who you’re talking to suddenly you can’t shut up about HIM because HE IS SO WONDERFUL SO EVERYONE ELSE MUST THINK HE IS WONDERFUL TOO. Yes, that’s exactly it. We can’t shut up about Him. And the more we talked about God the more we both remembered how faithful He is and how fun He is to hang out with and all the cool stuff He does to show us that He loves us. It was like pressing the reset button. Life feels pretty heavy sometimes. But that conversation brought to the forefront all the stuff I know is true but had kind of shifted to the back burner: God loves me. He loves me no matter what I do or say. He cares about the things that concern me. He’s got this.
My whole outlook had changed. That’s the Bride of Christ in action. I think that’s why God tells us not to give up on meeting together. He knows we’re going to tick each other off, but He also knows that we’re going to reel each other back in.
We’re a pretty motley crew. But I think I’m willing to forgive the Bride of Frankenstein, because I am absolutely smitten with the Bride of Christ. She is so beautiful.