Are We There Yet?
As a life-long church member, I have struggled with things that happen at church that must make Jesus weep: meanness, fights, majoring in the minors, excluding outsiders. Perhaps you have felt this same way.
Recently I heard someone say that the church has never had a “golden age” so it’s not as if we should look for the church (which is composed of people after all) to behave impeccably. It’s going to make mistakes left and right. This helped me.
Also, as I’ve done lectio through the book of Acts, I’ve noticed Peter, so filled with God that the sick and those “tormented by powerful spirits” who fell within his powerful shadow were healed. In fact, all within that shadow were healed (Acts 5:15). Peter also showed Spirit-infused leadership in the early church by opening it to the Gentiles and associating with them in ways that Jews did not (Acts 10). Yet later he blew it badly. When certain Jews from Jerusalem showed up in Antioch, Peter reversed himself and “began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group” (Gal. 2:12). Even this man of courage (I would never have had enough nerve to get out of that boat and try to walk on water with Jesus!) became a people-pleaser who didn’t listen to God.
How can this be?
I’m beginning to accept that expecting the church to get things right is the same thing as being too upset when I blow it. I must not be surprised when I blow it. I must run immediately to Jesus and confess it and ask for help in moving forward. To dwell on my own sin is to make my spirituality about me. To beat myself up is to give into the enemy. It doesn’t help. Yet I have, I confess, beaten up on the church many times.
So perhaps I am just now making peace with the church of Jesus Christ which is only a poor reflection of this one I love. I ask God’s forgiveness that it is taking me so long—but I know God is not surprised. Just eager to help me move forward..
Grace and peace,
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