We are Christians, not Christ. The church is imperfect because we live in an imperfect world. Therefore, many people have been hurt by the church. However, we can make an ongoing effort to make the church real. To not hurt, but heal. To love with arms wide open instead of judging with condemnation. To unify instead of separating by denomination. We can deconstruct judgemental stereotypes surrounding Christianity and become the Church He has called us to be. How can we become this Church?
The Church is more than a place. It is built on more than mortar and bricks; it is built on love and grace. In the Old Testament, “church” was a temple. In the New Testament, our bodies are compared to temples. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul proclaims, “do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” Therefore, every physical body is the Church. We are temples of the Spirit, and we can represent the Church through serving others. 1 Corinthians 3:9 also says, “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” We are the mission field everywhere, not only within church walls.
The Church should be a home, not a place for casting stones. In John 8, as Jesus was teaching, the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand in front of the crowd. They exposed the woman’s sin, and told Jesus the law says she should be stoned. Jesus stated, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they left, Jesus did not condemn the woman, but told her to leave her life of sin. As the Church, we are called to embrace, not disgrace. We can be the Church by relating to others instead of judging them. We can share our testimonies of sin and brokenness and offer them freedom through Christ.
The Church should be real. 2 Timothy 4:3 states, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” As the Church, we are not called to share a feel good message of rainbows and butterflies. We are called to address controversial topics with biblical truth, even if people do not want to hear it.
The Church isn’t called to have it all together; the Church is called to come together so it does not fall apart. As the church, we should not be afraid to address trauma and pain. We must be vulnerable and real because by His wounds we are healed. There is power in vulnerability when we lean on Christ for stability. Isaiah 61:1-2 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the Lord’s favor and comfort all who mourn.” We must comfort the mourning and release from darkness the hurting.
It is time to deconstruct the stereotypes surrounding Christianity
and become the Church we are called to be.
More than a place.
Not built on mortar and bricks, but built on love and grace.
A church open to the hurting and broken.
A church who loves others with arms wide open.
Not afraid to address trauma and pain
and depend on the King above all Kings who reigns.
A church who does not practice condemnation
A church who is not separated by denomination.
It is time for the church to be real.
because by His wounds we are healed.
Dear God, I pray you will help us be the Church everyday. Help us be open, loving, and real. Thank you for loving us despite our imperfections. Help us love others in the same way.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.