I have noticed the world seems to judge God’s love by looking at the church. As a Christian, it feels like a lot of responsibility.
I was raised to believe that within the walls of a church building the lost should be found and the lonely comforted. I developed a sense of expectation that the needs of those that are lost and broken are met by the loving church members.
To be honest, it is not the truth. The church is filled with imperfect people. Those that have committed their life to Christ continue to have problems and flaws they must work through with the Lord.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6
Listening to the radio recently, I was drawn to the song Truth Be Told by Matthew West.
Lie number one you’re supposed to have it all together
And when they ask how you’re doing
Just smile and tell them, “Never better”
Lie number 2 everybody’s life is perfect except yours
So keep your messes and your wounds
And your secrets safe with you behind closed doors….
I say I’m fine, yeah I’m fine oh I’m fine, hey I’m fine but I’m not
And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control but it’s not…
The lyrics remind me of what I have experienced for years within the church. Each Sunday someone greets me with a smile and a question, “how are you today?” Regardless of how I am, the response is, “I’m fine.” It is the standard greeting within our culture. The question is not intended to find out how you are, and it’s usually asked the same within the church walls.
There’s a dance we church folks do, and the song plays it clearly. We say we’re fine and act like we have it all together. We see the perfection in the lives of others and long so much for it in our own.
I have been walking with the Lord for over three decades, and let me tell you I’m not always fine. When I go to church with like-minded believers I want to know I’m in a safe place, but there is some truth in the songs lyrics.
There’s a sign on the door, says, “Come as you are” but I doubt it
Too many times I’ve looked to people for acceptance only to be rejected. I’ve asked for prayer and my needs were questioned, discussed, and I was only offered advice of what I was doing wrong. It didn’t help. It hurt.
The truth is I am going to experience hurts from others, and I am also going to be the cause of someone else’s pain. At some time we all try too hard to show we have it all together, and our efforts inadvertently tear someone else down. Life is messy like that.
Only God’s love is perfect. That is a clear statement throughout scripture. Our worth should not be found in the church or anything else. Our worth is in Christ. Our identity must be found in Him or we will never be fulfilled.
When scripture speaks of how man should love, it is given as instruction. We have to set aside how this broken world has taught us, and learn Godly love. It is only then that the world can see Christ in us.
We cannot let hurts isolate us from the body of Christ. Left unchecked, pain will lead to anger, and anger to hard-heartedness. Stop doing the church dance and comparing yourself to others. I’ll tell you a secret. Those people that look perfect and have it all together are just as messed up as you and me. They are just better at hiding it.
It’s okay not to be fine, but be honest about it. Get honest with God. Take your hurt, pain, and sin to Him. Only God’s love is perfect. We must use His standard for our lives, and not that of this world.
When the world judges God by looking at the church, I hope they see truth. Our brokenness and testimonies of redemption are so much more powerful than the mask we try to wear. It is a true reflection of God’s love.
Read what other members of the Review Crew are sharing this month about God’s love and other topics.