The message that the bible propagates is so perfect that it raises the moral bar for those who believe in Jesus. When Jesus again spoke of building a church that no gates of hell shall prevail against, the moral bar by default was raised for the church.
The bar has been extraordinarily high for men of the cloth and disciples of Jesus Christ.
What the world fails to recognise is that the religious leaders and their congregations are still imperfect and as broken as the thief who was crucified besides Jesus at Golgotha but pleaded for mercy for him to allowed in his kingdom. The flaws are made more visible for the bearers of the good news that promises heaven on earth. Human flaws cannot be extinguished even in a congreagation where everyone confesses Christ as Lord and savior.
Here are a few facts about the church of Jesus:
The church isn’t perfect
Some people will gossip behind your back, others will betray you, others would try to con you even in your vulnerability, yet Christ still wants us to be part of his imperfectly perfect church. There are wolves in the church, who come preying on the sheep. Sometimes we are naive and we don’t really know what to do. When we fall prey to their tactics, we shouldn’t run away from the church.
From those hurts, you can learn great lessons. The good news is this; Christ is the balm of Gilead. He will bind every broken heart and heal every wound. How you handle the pain determines whether you grow or not. Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal off his crime. It has everything do with relieving oneself off the Burden of being a victim; letting go of the pain and transforming yourself from being a victim to becoming a victor.
Read the Bible for yourself
When the curtain was torn, God allowed us to access the Holy of holies. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can now read the living word and understand it. It’s illuminative power will light our paths and transform us when we interact with the biblke directly. As a believer, its important to listen to your earthly shepherd but it doesnt mean that you entirely depend on them to interpret scriptures for you especially in the era of heresy and false doctrines.
The Bible is accessible to anybody who wants to read it. Your pastor has no direct access to God more than you. He is just an authority, given a special gift to Shepherd God’s children but that doesn’t mean that he is the only one who has access to God.
When you read the bible, you will realize that God has no gender. He is neither male or female. He is spirit. Man, as represented in the Bible, refers to the human race and not the male gender. Yes, some people have used it to perpetuate patriarchal views that have marginalized women but that’s not God’s agenda. He considers us equal before him. male and female are both made in his image and likeness.
Isolation will lead to desolation
The church as a body is full of broken people, yet God wants us to be part of it so that he can show us his perfect love towards an imperfect and adulterous people. Like Hosea was instructed by God to love a prostitute regardless, God wants us to demonstrate his unconditional love towards each other.
When we walk alone, it’s a sign of pride that we can make it on our way. It’s alos a lie from the devil because it’s easier to destroy a loner than to destroy a group of believers. Well, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Look for a church that emphasizes on the power of scripture. The whole scripture and not just a portion of it. You will be amazed at how much God can use them to speak to you.
God is good
Regardless of who hurt you. It is heartbreaking when a shepherd takes advantage of a sheep. It is painful if you were abused by a worship leader or an usher raped you. Yes, someone in the church might have committed the most atrocious behavior towards you yet it doesn’t nullify the nature of God. He is sovereign and holy. He doesn’t derive his identity from any mortal being. His plans for you are still yea and amen. His thoughts towards you are excellent without any blemish.
He already gave his only begotten son to die for you. What could he possibly deny you when he has already given you the best?
Those men and women who have wronged you are also just as fallen as you are. Should we excuse their mistakes simply because they are in the church? Heck no. Take action then forgive and hand it over to God. Those people represent a fallen world. And that’s why Christ died for us so that one day, we can join him in the new Jerusalem where he will wipe away every tear from our eyes and neither shall there be mourning nor pain for the former things will all be made new.
The Bible has been misused to marginalize people.
Yes, the Bible has been twisted to favor the agenda of some selfish people. Some racists misused it to advance slavery, racial superiority, colonization and such evil actions. The key word however is that they misrepresented it to justify their selfish and evil motives.
Some have used it to marginalize women, advance patriarchy, offend the minority, judge sinners, condemn the weak etc. Yes, the Bible has even been used to rob, rape, disillusion, condition, control, divide, manipulate the weak and take advantage of the vulnerable people.
Yet the Bible advocates for equality and equity. In the eyes of God, there is no one who is superior, God did not create lesser human beings to serve the superior ones. His works are perfect because he is a master designer. Jesus came to the world to bridge the gaps that existed. He came to break down all walls of prejudice, hatred and self-righteousness. He came to remind us of the eternal agenda.
Jesus died for all genders, races, tribes, ethnicities, yes even those who have rejected him. His love transcends gender.
Rebellion is sinful
I know that the natural reaction to a person who has been hurt is to flee, quit church, backslide, close in, and respond aggressively towards the pain that the hurt caused you, there is no option of rebelling against the God. While I feel your pain, I’ve been there before. But scriptures are supreme.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Saul rejected the word of the LORD, and he paid the ultimate price of being rejected as king.
Regardless of who has hurt you.
Regardless of the extent of damage that they caused you.
Regardless of what has happened in the church, you can not rebel against God and his commands that includes not neglecting fellowship. You might quit going to a specific building but you can’t quit the church. You can’t quit being part of the universal body of Christ that is not bound by borders, race, age and all the walls that we have built to divide us.
But if you renounce Christ, he will renounce you.
Christ loves you
Yes, I can feel your pain. I can see that you have gone through frustrations with the church. You are on the verge of giving up. You aren’t alone, Martin Luther King felt the same too. The puritan’s felt the same too. Many believers who didn’t feel like their needs were met in the church eventually opened their ministries.
From your deepest pain, Christ can birth the most beautiful ministry ever.
Don’t run away from the redemptive power of Calvary. In Christ alone is our hope found. Where would we go to hide away from his presence yet he even went to the pits of hell for your sake.
Don’t worship men of God
“Human beings by their very nature are worshipers. Worship is not something we do; it defines who we are. You cannot divide human beings into those who worship and those who don’t. Everybody worships; it’s just a matter of what, or whom, we serve,” says Paul David Tripp
Since time in memorial, the human species have always worshiped. Sometimes, we worship our fellow creatures who are just like us. Because maybe they have resources that makes them attractive to us. The cult syndrome has been an issue in the church.
While you need to respect men of God, it’s perfectly also okay to interrogate the advises that they give you. Don’t swallow hook and line their advices. They are men and women of God but still mortal, feeble and in need of redemption just like you. Respect them but don’t worship them.
Finally, I will leave you with the words of Philippians 4:7:
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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