This is part 1 of a 3-part, weekly series:
I am a Christian. I go to church. I know other Christians. We talk. We mingle. But from what I see of myself, in other Christians, and especially in the churches, it would appear there is a genuine lack of relative goodness to be found. We do our outreach and we feed the homeless around the holidays, but I feel as though I am not experiencing that earth-shaking love and compassion He commanded of us.
Where did I go wrong? I am supposed to be light in a dark and lonely world. I am supposed to be what the lost and dying can look up to, to find reasonable hope in. I am supposed to be the eternal love of God Himself in the physical form. But I’m not. And I am not alone. Many Christians have moved so far away from that. It saddens me, and causes me to walk with a heavy heart. I see hordes flock from our churches to join congregations listening to a message of nothing but love, acceptance and vague descriptions of salvation being preached. But why? Why do they feel the need to flee for “greener” pastures? Within my weighted heart, I sincerely believe it’s because they feel as if we “saints” of the church don’t love or lead them, and we no longer show them examples of His grace.
I wish I could say my own sect of belief was different, that we were the exceptions to a brutal new rule, but, honestly, we just may be the worst. I’m Pentecostal, and in today’s religious community, we are seen as the most snobbish and stuck up—and for justifiable reasons.
But it’s more than that. It’s more than simply our fault. Those of us who are saved seem to have forgotten what it was like to be that filthy sinner, crawling on his hands and knees, begging for a holy mercy and redemption. What happened to the lovely grace the church was to provide to the wayward sinner? When did the norm become looking down on someone simply because they weren’t raised in Biblical truth? I can choose to admonish against these things because I am the worst of the lot. I’ve judged those who didn’t behave like I thought they should when my own miserable life was wrought with sin. I doubt there’s good left in our churches because we have fallen from compassion, instead becoming those who stare down from our perches of self-anointed deity and mock those who would dare enter His sanctuary while reeking of sin. Would the One we follow commit such heresy? No. He’d kick us out of our own church before He allowed that to happen. And it weakens my will to realize that we of the church think we are “good” enough to get away with it.
In truth, a change is needed within the four walls of our churches, and the time for that change is now. How are we to do His work of reaching the lost, caring for them, feeding them, clothing them, when we possess such a surly attitude toward those who do not follow our same faith? We are called to love others. To love them. We cannot begin to love something we’ve chosen to despise. It’s time for us to fall from our wickedly high horses and live a life like the Savior did, loving the masses of unwashed, sin-filled travelers. We were once a part of that beggar’s lot. Only by the grace of God are we where we are now. But we’ve chosen to take advantage of that favored position. If we can break free from the restrictions of a building’s four walls, them we can go to the unsaved wherever they may be. It’s not the preacher’s or the deacons’ or the choir leader’s responsibility to reach the lost. It’s mine and it’s yours.
The truth is, we can be better. It’s in our Christ-led heart to be compassionate and faithful in our giving to others, to give of ourselves and to love, love, love the sinner—no matter how distasteful that may feel to our sensitive nature. We were given the gift of salvation, not to hoard to ourselves, but to share with any and all we meet. How many of us can say we truly do just that? I can’t. But I can be better about it. I can learn from past mistakes of pious judgment and begin to love the sinner as God loved me, to show mercy and grace to them as He so wonderfully showed me. We can put goodness back in our churches. But to do so, a change must be made in us and in our approach to the very fabric of our own Christianity.
We are His chosen servants to help and to serve. It’s time we started behaving as such.
(Note: You can follow me on Twitter at @Cory_Copeland. Thank you for reading. It means the world to me.)