The other day, I commented on someone else’s blog and lamented that “I would love to be stoked by church, but most weeks I’m happy just to have SURVIVED it!”
It’s one of my pet peeves but the Church of the Living God is, as Tommy Tenney once put it, “somewhat less than advertised.” Rather than being a place where we can be encouraged and inspired to take a Risen Savior to a lost and dying world, it often exists as a rote tedium, a set of necessary rituals. Rather than “have church,” we endure it. You know what I mean.
In G. K. Chesterton’s day, the London Times asked this question: What’s wrong with the world?
His answer was simply [and famously]:
“Dear Editor: What’s wrong with the world? I am. Faithfully yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
His reply applies equally well to the discussion at hand. First and foremost, we need to realize that ALL of the problems within the Church can be be accurately blamed on the fact that they are populated by people. The problem is, we usually tend to blame other people and not ourselves. We justify ourselves. We make excuses. We dissemble. But we make no exceptions for the other guy!
Compare this with Isaiah’s response before a holy God. Before this prophet saw the Lord high and lifted up, he said several times, Woe unto you! But when he was confronted with God Himself, he changed his tune to Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips!
My point is simple. We have to realize 3 things:
1. No one is perfect. Period.
2. But by the grace of God, we’d be at least as bad as the worst person we know. In fact, some of us are honest enough to realize that we’d be much worse! Apart from Christ, the True Vine, we arecapable of nothing but evil. The good we do can only be correctly attributed to Christ working in us and through us. As good as we like to pretend to be, in truth our righteousness apart from Christ has ever been filthy rags. Our righteousness in Christ is not our own. How then can we compare Christ to Christ?
3. Change is not possible is we do not take personal responsibility. When we look to others to make the changes, they usually don’t happen. If you want it to change, you’re gonna have to open your big yap [and it’s about time it was used for something other than mere complain, mockery, back-biting, condemnation or gossip] and what you say won’t be popular with the status quo.
They certainly didn’t like what Jesus had to say.
Read more of the What’s Wrong With Church series!