It has become popular today in some circles to say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the church.”
I’ve actually heard words to that effect on more than one occasion. Would it surprise you to hear that I cringe at that statement? I have to tell you that I cannot agree with the sentiment.
In the first place, let’s consider two images of the church that are found in the New Testament. Paul calls the church, “the body of Christ.” Imagine this scenario: I tell my wife, “I really love you, but I can’t stand your body.” No, let’s rethink that. In fact, don’t imagine it at all, because it is not going to happen. But when you say that you do not love the church, you are speaking in a derogative fashion about God’s body.
And then there is the image of the church as “the bride of Christ.” This comes from the writings of John in the book of the Revelation. So again, we imagine this conversation: Someone says to me, “I really like you, but I don’t care for your wife at all.” Let me assure you that I will not include that person on my Christmas-card list. I love my wife. She is precious to me. And so the church of Jesus Christ is precious to him. He loves us.
I know that the church, as it currently stands, is far from perfect. There are many reasons for that. I happen to be one of the problems at my own church. It’s not that I cause problems and stir up trouble, but the fact remains that I am sinful.
I am not perfect, and the fact that I am a member makes it certain that my church will not be perfect.
And yet, I believe, with all my heart, in this: The church is a marvelous, wonderful organization that is at the heart of God’s mission and purpose in this world. God loves the church and is using the church to spread his love to others.
None of our churches is perfect, but God has chosen to work through us, anyway.
Are you an active member in a church? If you are a Christian, I believe that you should use your time, gifts, talents and resources to serve the Lord in his church. I would encourage you to make that commitment, if you have not already.
Find your place in church Sunday morning. You won’t find a perfect church, but you will find a place where you can serve the Lord. Both you and your church will benefit as you do, and the kingdom of God will be that much closer as a result.