- Other Apps
I’ve left churches because of rude people, loud music, boring preaching. And I’m not alone. I know many who’ve walked away for the same reasons or worse. People and pain go hand in hand. And forgiveness? Well, those Christian muscles are hard to flex, especially when the wrong is inflicted by the trusted.
Think about this for a second. How many Christians pay top dollar for that IMAX chance to see a secular blockbuster? What will we tolerate along the way? Forgive?
A shove or cut in the ticket line? What about the person two rows down texting every other scene? The blast of surround sound that makes your head vibrate and ears ring for days? Really...another curse word, and was that a nude behind flashing across the screen? (Quick, cover little Johnny’s eyes.) Oh, I know, the final fight to the death seemed more like the eternal battle of good and evil but hey, the popcorn’s worth it even if the concession stand did run out your favorite candy again.
I can hear the question already. What does she mean by “pay?” Isn’t church free? Well, yes, but Church does have a price, however it's already been paid. It was a lot more than a ticket to Star Wars. Our fee's paid with the blood of Jesus Christ, but we can talk about that another time.
So, what will you blow off to spend time with Him at church? To worship the Almighty, to hear His Word?
A shove on the way into the sanctuary? What about the person two rows up gossiping through the entire service? Or the obnoxious “noise” of the praise band that makes your head vibrate and ears ring for days? Oh, I know, the interminable repeat of the final song or the same ol' hellfire and brimstone from the pulpit which makes church service resemble the eternal battle of good and evil, but hey, the pot lucks are good even if you don’t always find your favorite dessert in the mix.
Do you see what I’m getting at here?
Church isn’t perfect. It’s made up of Christians, the Children of God. People who love the Lord but are imperfect human beings. If you think the body of Christ is incapable of sin, you have grand expectations, especially of yourself.
You will get hurt. It’s bound to happen. And it’s going to happen in Church like it happens at the movie theater and everywhere else in life. Should it? Of course not! But it does.
Should Christians lie, cheat, steal, and gossip? Divorce? Cut in front of people in the ticket line? No. But we do. Should we play perfect songs and sing on pitch? Yes. Always? Have you heard my husband sing?
In the Bible, the word church comes from the word ecclesia, which means a called-out company or assembly. In other words, people. (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/08/28/what-is-the-bible-definition-of-church-what-is-the-biblical-view-of-church/) WE are the Church. Hands, feet, mind, soul. It’s not a building or a place, but the body of Christ.
Do we go to church for the music, the preaching, and fellowship? I’d have to say yes. Will it include sin and pain? I’d love to say no, but I can’t. Every church I’ve ever seen has people in it, but God is there also.
Only with God can a Christian tolerate the imperfections of His people. He can soften your heart, so you can exercise the muscles of forgiveness and live with those who’ve hurt you. He can turn bitterness to love. His strength can support your legs and allow you to stand and sing Sunday after Sunday. Yes, even next to the ones who caused you pain.
God didn’t mean for His children to worship alone, but together whether in a building or on a mountaintop. He longs to be in our presence, lifting us high and dwelling among our praises. His amazing grace gives us the power to love one another amidst our failures and inadequacies.
If you can pay to go to a movie and tolerate all the sin that comes with it, I know you can walk into a church. You can take no matter what may come your way in the parking lot or sanctuary or service this Sunday. Be prepared by asking the Lord to silence any preconceived notions and expectations that whispers in your ear so you can stand with fellow imperfect believers. You may be surprised what you find.
Jesus's blood covers me. I'm washed white as snow. Through Jesus and only Jesus, I am perfect in His sight. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, so are you. Lift your voice this Sunday, and know, by the grace of God, we will one day sing with angels.