Burned by the Church but You Still Love Jesus
Over the past several weeks, we have explored the spiritual discipline of community. To read previous posts on this topic click the below links:
Community 3.0, Community 3.1, Community 3.2
The discipline of community evokes a fluttering in my stomach and a race of my pulse. The affection I feel towards the church is fierce. I have experienced the sweetness that comes from people bound together with a love for Jesus. Yet, I’ve also experienced the unpleasant–the criticism and hurt brought on by these same people. So, when I ascribe a grit and messiness to the Church, I do so from a place of experience.
What about you? Have you been hurt by the Church? Is the “messy” just a bit too messy for you? Are you done?
I believe there is a path for you (and me) to discover a tenderness towards the Church. In order to uncover this path,however, we must first approach community with a clear understanding of just exactly what God originally planned for His people.
Every Believer is a Member with a Function that has Already Been Predetermined.
God did not create any person, you, the gossipy woman or even that handsy old man and ask Himself, “Hmmm, well, I’ve got this one made, now what am I going to do with him/her?”
No, God has a plan and He created each person with that plan in mind. Each member of the body has a function to carry out. Yes, the gossipy woman, the quirky teenager, even the overly affectionate old man have a function in God’s Kingdom.
[Tweet “God has a plan and He created each person with that plan in mind”]
God’s plan takes into consideration our imperfection. He wired each of us uniquely. With our unique compositions come strengths and weaknesses. When we come to understand that every believer is at their own distinct stage of sanctification (becoming more like Jesus), we begin to recognize the Church as a training facility not a museum of completed works.
Maybe that’s why you’re reading this post–you realize you haven’t spiritually arrived. Your hope is to go beyond your current level of intimacy with God. Your sanctification is a process and so is every other believer’s.
[Tweet “Your sanctification is a process and so is every other believer’s.”]
The discipline of community requires an acknowledgement and respect for the process of sanctification.
As we struggle with the rough edges surrounding the Church we need to recognize the distinct function of every believer is still being honed. And regardless of the Church’s countless flaws, every believer is a benefit to the Kingdom–even in their present state. God isn’t done with any of us. (Philippians 1:6)
When we turn the mirror around to examine ourselves, we likely will discover there are some who question our function in God’s plan. You may have a trait someone finds offensive. You are in the process of sanctification. If you don’t have it all together then you are a perfect fit for God’s Church.
[Tweet “If you don’t have it all together then you are a perfect fit for God’s Church.”]
There will always be people whom we prefer and others we don’t. Suck it up. The Christian community is made of people, people with sin–YOU with sin. The difference in the Christian community and a secular community is the sins of the believer have been redeemed. We are a community of grace–grace we offer freely because it has been freely given to us.
Question: How have you found the Christian community hard to deal with? Have you given up (or at least wanted to) on the Church?
4 comments found
Thanks Bobby Ann — that’s where I am right now. Hurt, and confused. Confused because I am trying to find what God has for me right now; things going really well then boom! and everything is upside down. It has me wondering where I might fit — thought I knew but I think God is pushing me somewhere else. Hurt because people I thought were along side me are now very critical. Are they right?? or am I just hyper sensitive — or just too proud to accept criticism. Confused, sick at heart, and praying a lot, but sure that God is working all things for his glory.
I totally get it, Sandy. I’m there with you as well. Still processing through hurts and intense pain caused by those I thought I could trust. Thankfully, God isn’t through with me or the person(s) who hurt me. They are not my enemy. My Enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual forces of a dark world.
I think God is about to do some major changes in the way we are equipped to “do church”, and Satan is opposing it. I think we are about to go from mega church back to small communities who are brothers and sisters and are true families gathered together to bring about His kingdom. I feel a great pull in my life toward that; Having small groups of ladies at my home to disciple and love on. God has put me thru a lot in 72 years and I feel the need to share that with women I see hurting and hungry. But it’s so difficult sometimes under the “tight organization of the business of church.” When did church become a business??Anyway thank you so much for sharing — I am glad I am not alone in my thinking — will be praying for you and Jared.
My first thought was that I’ve never been burned by the church, but then I thought about how in high school, I became disgusted by what I heard from my peers and refused to go to Sunday School until about a year later. Still, I didn’t feel like this really fit the topic presented here. Then, God reminded me of another situation. Once, when we were led to leave a church, there were rumors about why we left and where we went. It was hurtful, but God also reminded me of some advice that a spiritual mentor has shared more than once. The advice is that sometimes the best response is silence. Don’t directly address the person or the issue. If you are living under God’s direction, continue along that path. Let your life speak rather than your words. Those interested in the truth will come to you and see by your actions what the truth is. If you refuse to dignify the rumor and or speak hatefully or vengefully about the other person, then they will be able to see where the truth lies. The other night as I was mulling this over, God also revealed a couple verses to me. One is a favorite of yours, Bobi Ann, Isaiah 26:3 (You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.) The others were Romans 12:19 (Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord), and Proverbs 20:3 (It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.).