Today I would like to discuss a topic which there seem to be two separate camps which both have very different views, so I thought I’d address it. I would like to make it clear that I am not taking sides, nor am I putting anyone down, I just want to try and look at this from both sides.
You’ve probably heard the following phrase, “The church is Jesus’ bride, so how can you love Jesus and not His bride?” Unfortunately, this is often quoted when someone has an issue with a church organisation, but what we have to remember is that the building is not the church, we are. This means that the phrase can be read as, “Christians are Jesus’ bride, so how can you love Jesus and not His bride?” This makes more sense.
I bet we all know someone that has married someone that we don’t like. It is a problem. It doesn’t even have to be someone that we don’t like, even if they marry someone that we don’t like as much as we like our friend, we still may not see them as much as we would have if they were single. Now I know that this is not the same as Jesus’ bride, but we as Christians do have a responsibility not to put people off of God because of our actions. So many people have used this phrase to me whenever I say anything remotely against a church body, and it may be right. It is also right to bear in mind that we are Jesus’ bride, so we need to encourage people to meet with Him, and not put people off by what we do. We have a responsibility. We are in a relationship. People don’t always hear what Jesus says, but they do see what we do. Jesus is judged by what we do.
So what am I saying here? Am I supporting those hurt by churches, or the churches that hurt them? Which group am I in? As I said before I am not here to take sides, besides, I have been in both groups, and I agree with both groups, and I disagree with both groups. Let me explain. If you have been hurt by a church, join the club. Most of us have been. I know this is easier said than done, and it took me a while to get, but I’m going to tell you what to do. Ready? Get over it. You have been hurt, you are upset, your feelings have not been taken into consideration. I know. But how is sitting around feeling sorry for yourself going to help? It isn’t. Find another church, get involved and move on. “But I may get hurt again.” Yes you may, but if you don’t open up to people, you will lose out on more than you do by getting hurt. Trust me. Now, when you are in a church, settled and ‘part of the furniture’, you now have the same responsibility as those who previously hurt you. Make sure you get it right. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You didn’t like being in that situation, so don’t put others through it. If you have an issue with the church (like I did), be the church (as you are) and make sure that others don’t get hurt.
Let’s all just remember that the church is made up of humans, and we all make mistakes. This is not an excuse to get it wrong, but it does mean that from time to time we may well get it wrong. If God can forgive us, surely we can forgive each other.
So I would like to encourage all Christians who have been hurt by a church, to find another one (if you can’t reconcile with the old church) and get involved. Be the Christian who you accused the others of not being. Be what God called us to be. And those of us that have not been hurt, remember that we are Christ’s bride, lets bring people towards Him, and not scare them off.
To God be the glory!