I know that you mean well. And I know that you started off with purity.
Church: A place to go and worship. A place to pray and be in community with other believers. A place where God is in control, Jesus preaches amongst the people, and the Holy Ghost finds every longing soul. It was good.
Then it all changed.
Somewhere along the way, the church lost God and found self-righteousness. It turned into a competition. Who could bring in the most money every week? Who could build the biggest buildings? Who had the coolest stage effects? Who looked like they loved Christ the most? These meaningless things consumed the house of God.
I look around and I see things that make me hate the church: People adding on extensions to an already immaculate building, instead of using that money to help the poor. People racing to be at church on time but don’t make an effort to get to their son’s baseball game. People praying to a God that they don’t even know, hoping it will be enough to get what they want. People wearing their best clothes to church but having the ugliest personality. And people who have doubts that are shattering their faith and their lives, but are too scared to share because of the fear of what others will think.
You see, some people go to church and suddenly they become an expert in all things God. They become judgmental and arrogant as if God loves them more because they go to church every Sunday.
God loves everyone. He loves the lonely. The sick, the poor, the hurt, the grieving. He loves that kid at the end of the bench who never gets in the game and He loves the kid who hits the walk-off home run. He loves the man who lives under the bridge with no money to his name, and he loves the billionaire. He loves the drunkard and He loves the one who has never touched alcohol. He loves the woman laying in bed with cancer and he loves the woman who’s the picture of health. Believe it or not, He loves the man who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day just as much as he loves the boy who stood up to peer pressure and never touched one.
The church doesn’t teach you that. It’s too dirty. Too difficult to explain. So they don’t. It’s a room full of people putting on their best masks so that everyone around them thinks their life is good. Picture perfect even. Because image is everything. Even in the church. Why is that? I’ve heard my whole life that God’s love is made perfect in weakness, yet we are scared to death to show it. I am guilty of it too, but I’m learning not to be.
So this is a plea, church. I know not all of you are like this. Some of you are genuine and pure and beautiful in your brokenness. This is a plea to those of you who are not. It is for the ones who have lost their way: Let yourselves admit that you are weak and in need of help.
Leaders in the church: Show your congregation that you have doubts and questions so they know they are not alone. Don’t talk to me, talk to me. It’s the only way I will experience God’s love.
I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m the farthest thing from it. I sin every day. It is in that sin that God reveals His mercy and grace. Yes, God loves me.
I didn’t need to sit in a pew in my finest clothes to know that. All it took was a kind heart and a genuine love. Now it’s on me to pass it on.