Why should we love a broken church?
The church is a broken place full of broken people, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve been hurt by them ourselves. I know what the pain feels like when one has been humiliated and condemned by a church. It’s the worst kind of hurt. But Jesus commanded us to love these very people. Why?
Loving and forgiving a church who has hurt you is hard. It took me months to get to that point of forgiveness for this church who hurt us. But love goes further than the positive feelings one might have. You don’t feel warm and positive towards your enemies and the ones who hurt you, yet Christ tells us to love those very people anyway. That’s quite a challenge. A challenge maybe most don’t want to take.
I think in times like these we use our pain as an excuse to hate. We focus on our own pain instead of Christ’s. The difference between the two is that Christ’s is out of love and anguish for those who have hurt Him, while ours is mostly out of humiliation and broken pride.
It’s certain that no church is perfect, and it never will be. As long as the church consists of people, it’s doomed to fall every time. But maybe we can look past that. Maybe we can look to the churches groom instead. Should we accept the church’s fault and go along as if nothing’s wrong? Of course not, but maybe we can help it. Maybe we can change it for the better. If we love and reveal Jesus in our words and actions, maybe they will do the same.
However, there’s a difference between loving and accepting. If a church keeps hurting you, it might be a good idea to quietly leave. Jesus never said we should accept our enemy’s faults and sins as ok and as though it’s the norm, but He told us to love them despite of those faults, and in doing so hopefully opening the way to change, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
The church is a fallen business if seen as such. But while the church may see itself as a business, Jesus only sees His people. People who are hurt. People who are lost. People who are confused. People who are broken. You and I and everyone else. A body of broken people who the One whom is without blemish lives in. And as a result, a flawless creation in His arms. Yet we always see ourselves and others as the opposite. And maybe because of that, we are.
So why would anyone want to love a broken church, that we all see as a hopeless cause? I don’t know, but when I look at myself, I’m thankful Jesus does.