To my Christian friends…
I have watched with sadness many memes and posts on social media criticising a particular high profile Christian leader, or church, or denomination and pointing out where he/she/it somehow falls short of “true” Christianity (and usually what is meant by a “true Christian” is “one like me”). I get that we must beware of false teachings and what Jesus calls wolves, but I do believe much of the conflict and niggling I see between people with different churchmanship saddens God.
I have looked in the Bible for exhortations to “the church” as a collective group:
- Was the greatest commandment given to “the church”?
- Was the second commandment?
- The great commission?
- The call to take up your cross?
- The call to follow and obey Jesus?
In fact I have struggled to find a command or exhortation given in the Bible to the church as a collective group which wasn’t first given to an individual or isn’t primarily an individual’s responsibility.
So next time we are tempted to blame “the church” for the ills in society, perhaps we should look a little closer to home. And instead of asking people “what kind of church do you go to?”, maybe we should ask “what kind of Christian are YOU?”, “how are YOU laying down YOUR life for the Gospel?”, “how have YOU preferred the needs of another?”, or “have YOU forgiven that person who upset you, like Christ forgave you?”.
Or, better still, maybe we should look in a mirror and ask those questions of ourselves.
The church is not to blame for things going wrong in society. I am, you are.
We also have it in us to right those wrongs, or at least to speak out against them — if we have the courage.