Friday, January 7, 2011

Warning: This blog may offend you

"I don't go to church because it's full of hypocrites." ...I've heard variations of this statement for years; decades, really.  It is a primary "excuse" for so many people to not attend church.  
The thing is, the reason churches are "full of hypocrites" is because churches are full of humans.  People.  You and me.  Every single one of us has been hypocritical at some point in our lives, several points, in fact.
There is no such thing as "the perfect church".  If there were, it would no longer be perfect once you or I showed up because we're not perfect.  But, you can't use this as a reason to keep away from church.  It's just another lie the Father of Lies has given for us to remain closed off and distant from others, and from God.  The Bible is very clear about corporate worship.  The New Testament lays out the Church being formed.  
Now, somewhat understandably, this excuse is used by those who have not found the real Jesus, who have not come to know Him, love Him and serve Him.  They have not experienced the love of Christ, so gathering with His church doesn't seem necessary.
What really bothers me are people who say they are followers of Christ, who call themselves by His name, yet will not attend church because of His people.  I've heard from more than one person that they "don't have a problem with God, just with God's people".  Now, I have a real problem with that!  
If I said to you, "I really like you, but I can't stand your kids." How would that make you feel?  How would you react?  Would you want to be around me?  Would you think I actually did care about you?  No!  You would defend your children.  Even if your kids are unruly, even if they don't always listen to you or do what they know is right, you still love them, they are still your children, a part of you, in fact.  If someone insults your family, they are insulting you.  Those "believers" who insult God's children are insulting God.  They do have a problem with God. They are, in fact, being the very hypocrite they claim to hate so much.

Now, please understand, hear my heart.  I am not defending the hypocrisy that goes on within the church.  I am not condoning sin or double-standards for those who call themselves Christians.  This is not my intent whatsoever.  However, as a believer, if I see something in the church that is wrong, I should try to help change it, address the issue, work with others to resolve it.  I shouldn't turn my back on those who are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Would I turn my back on my sister, Karyn, or my brother, Bryon, because they were doing something they shouldn't be doing? Never!  They are my family and I love them, and as such I would try to figure out a way to help them, to work with them through the trial.  
Our relationship with the church should be no different.

Being a believer is dirty work.  You've got to get down in the trenches.  Sometimes you may be called to be on latrine duty.  But, that's what we have to do to be molded into the image of Christ, and to help others do the same.  I can't imagine going through life without the support system of my church family.  God placed these people in my life to minister to me, to pray with me, to teach me...and for me, hopefully, to do the same for them.
Unfortunately, many of us have become too lazy, too complacent to care enough about getting in there and actually working.  We'd rather just quit.  We are not called to be quitters.  "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)  Roll up your sleeves, jump down into the muck, help those who are stuck in it, and come out on the other side a beautiful representation of the love of Christ!

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