We’ve all had those moments, where we get so angry about a situation and we take to social media to let it out. Don’t worry, this isn’t a post of chastisement concerning that practice – I’m guilty of doing it myself. We know we shouldn’t do it, but we do anyways. It makes us feel better and it helps us to see who is “for us” and “against us” on particular issues. However, I do think we need to have better conversations that create dialogue rather than dissension, and we need to find better outlets to deal with our frustrations about politics, the check-out person, drivers, dog owners, relatives, neighbors, and Christians.
Since I’m friends with a lot of Christians, I see numerous posts about other Christians and the church in general. It’s usually split evenly between positive and negative posts. Though lately, I’ve been seeing a lot more negative posts about Christians, and thus too many people “giving up” on the church.
I totally understand were people are coming from. Christians are frustrating. The church is filled with hypocritical and selfish people. Often churches are closed-minded and too opinionated. Often things are “more show” than relational driven. After 2,000 years, you’d think we’d have our act together by now, but we don’t. The church is messy. I’m messy and do stupid things. And so do you.
However, “hating” Christians and “giving up” on the church isn’t really possible for you and me. Together, we are a part of a family, called the Church, otherwise known as the Body of Christ. We belong to something (Someone) larger than ourselves. And if Christ loves the church and refuses to give up on her, than so must those who make up this seemingly dysfunctional family.
This doesn’t mean that we roll over and allow people to walk all over us and keep silent when people do stupid things. There is a time to speak, a time to listen, and also a time to stay quiet and trust in the One holding this body together. When situations arise, we need the Spirit to help us discern the time.
We also need to make sure we’re doing our part. Not blogging, tweeting, or Facebooking our rants, but actually doing our part in helping the Church be who God has called us to be. And this is going to take work, time, patience, and being filled with the Spirit – daily.
When Paul addressed the churches in the New Testament, he did so by calling them “brothers and sisters.” Here’s what my bible says about this, “the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated ‘brothers’) refers to siblings in a family. In the New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church.” I’m the oldest of seven kids. I don’t always agree with what my siblings do, but my love for them remains the same. They are my brothers and sisters, and nothing will ever change that. The same goes for those who call themselves Christians, who make up the Body of Christ. We may disagree on different points, and we may have different worship traditions. However, we are family, united by the blood and Person of Jesus Christ, and nothing is going to change this.
If we majored on the things that bonded us together, instead of the things that divided us, I wonder how much more we could be effective in this world?
When people see us bickering back and forth, when they see us “giving up” or saying, “I love Jesus but not the church,” we trample upon the message and work of Christ. If we claim to follow Christ, we are automatically apart of His Body (i.e. the church). We cannot separate ourselves from one without also separating ourselves from the other. Yes, some things are worth going to bat over, but not everything. And when we do have a disagreement, may we do so in the manner of love and not self-righteousness. These words of Paul are just as important today:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift …
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:1-16)