Have you ever been hurt by the church?
I have. Many times actually. I’ve been hurt by the leadership of the church and friends in the church. I’ve been a part of church splits, seen Pastors lie and old ladies run the thing with their cane and checkbook. The church is sinful.
If not for God, then the sin of the church is all there is to it. It would just be a hypocritical and invalid “business.”
But God has decided to back the church with his very name. Every bride takes the name of her husband. Because of this, the story of the church doesn’t end with her sin and failure. It ends with purity, victory and Jesus– and for all eternity.
Until that end, we get to promote a holy God’s abundant grace. We get to stop pretending, and collectively as a church family, humble ourselves and proclaim our need for Jesus. This is freedom!
This is the only way we (I) can forgive the people of the church that hurt us. Not just forgive, but love and serve them with our lives. Jesus gives us the ability to do this, because it was never about us in the first place. We love because He first loved us. We serve the church and those around us as a response to Him. If we loved and served based off other people’s treatment of us, who would there be left to serve? There is more to Christianity than just me–all my desires, my feelings, my history, my future. Loving and serving the church is not about any of us. Forgiveness is not about any of us. It’s about God and who He is–Master and Creator, Lord and King, Savior and Redeemer of our souls. We forgive and extend grace because that is what God does for us.
It is in the mess that we have a wonderful opportunity to model Jesus to the world.
That is beautiful.
“What we must remember, especially when it gets really messy, is that no amount of mess will ever invalidate the church’s place as the principal context for service to God and one another. God calls us to serve regardless of the mess. He uses our service to address not only the mess, but messed up people” (Nate Palmer, Servanthood As Worship).