I'm really mad at the church right now.
I figured I'd just get to the point quickly instead of making a fancy introduction. So here is another one of my lovely rants.
(This is my new "Warning: Rant Ahead" picture. Plus I've been told that I look like Jeremiah. Awkward.)
Now, why, Princess Faith, are you mad at the church?
That is the question. I've always had a love/hate relationship with "the church." (AKA, Christians/believers/church attendees and people of the like.) Why? I don't know exactly. Maybe because the church, or at least my church, has always been hecka cliquey. I get the feeling its not just my church, but that its a wide spread problem among Christians.
It can't be a coincidence that most people feel more accepted at a bar or a concert than at church. The most common place to feel judged is at church. Its the truth that most people feel uncomfortable at church.
At my church, a lot of people say that they feel instantly welcomed when they walk in. Everyone is super friendly and smiling. My best friend came back to our church because she instantly felt like she belonged. But I noticed something.
How it may be that way for some people, if they don't fit a certain mold, they're rejected. They pick and chose who they'll accept into their group and who won't. So if you're one of those lucky people, you get a great church experience. But if you're not, than sorry you have no friends here. I was lucky enough to be someone who had friends, although I'll admit, I didn't always feel like I did. Heck, I was a part of a clique and still felt rejected.
It wasn't just my church, because my brother shared similar thoughts when he came home from college for the summer. He goes to a Christian college and he noticed that the Christians there looked down others, particularly those on the baseball team, who were immediately thought to be the druggies of the school. Now, my brother was on the baseball team; he's a great kid. But because of his membership to a particular group of people, he got judged.
I have countless friends who have said they didn't feel like they belonged at church. Not to mention all the drama, gossip, slandering, judging, and rejection that goes on in that "holy" building. But the best part is, we do all of this and worship God! We give great talks, participate in bible studies, list our hands during worship, volunteer at AWANA clubs; we do it all. Yet my freaking gosh are we horrible. We're nasty to each other. What ever happened to "they'll know we are Christians by our love?"
We read the bible, and when it says "Love one another" we just skip over that. Or we turn it into "love your friends." But want to know what the bible really says?
"Let love be without hypocrisy; Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."-Romans 12:9-10
"Little children, let is not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."-1 John 3:18
"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."-1 John 4:4
"But I tell you, love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you."-Matthew 5:44
There are 19 other instances in the New Testament that say "love one another." Clearly this is a big deal. But one verse really stuck out to me. 1 John 5:3 says "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments..."
The Holy Spirit really spoke to me this week. It brought me to one conclusion about this verse.
If we don't obey God, we cannot claim to love Him.
We can't say we love God and then hate someone. We can't say we love God and then gossip. Because now we're being liars. There. I said it. You don't love God if you reject His children. Its impossible.
But do you know the worst part of it all? The part about all of this that makes my stomach turn from sickness, that makes me want to throw up in utter disgust is that...I am the church.
I reject people. I treat people like crap. I gossip. I ignore that one kid at youth group along with everyone else.
And its disgusting and I hate myself for it.
Guys, church, listen up, we're awful. I've been reading through the book of Acts, about the early church and let me tell you, they had it going on. It says that they worshipped together, they prayed over one another constantly, they shared everything, they loved; and you know what? Their numbers were growing by the thousands daily. My youth group is always at a steady pace of, wait for it....25-30 students. My church on Sunday morning has about 200 I'd say. But the church in Acts had thousands! Not to bash small churches, I love them, but if there is no fruit to your labors then really...what's the point?
I cannot stress this topic enough. I did the talk at my youth group about this topic and its nice to know that everything I said went completely over everyone's heads. It's also nice to know that I'm a total hypocrite. I know I haven't loved God. I feel sick singing worship songs because I know I can't possibly mean what I sing. I've always had a policy that if I don't mean it, I won't say it or even sing it. But we always sing about how we love God and would do anything for Him...but by anything we mean only things inside our comfort zone. We say we'll love everyone, but we really mean everyone...except the gays and the weird boys and that emo kid. Really, we suck. I'm pissed off right now over the state of our sickness. And I know I'm also to blame. I write all these great blog posts and I yell at my siblings and gossip and snap at people. I'm a pro at telling people how to live and ignoring that same advice I give so freely.
So what can be done?
We can change. See, everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to put in the work necessary to accomplish the task. Being a Christian is hard as frick. Loving your enemies? Also hard. Following Christ? Ha. So flipping hard. (That's another rant entirely.) But its worth it. Lucky for us, God is so faithful to forgive us. We need God for this. Because we are in way too deep, we can't get out ourselves. I asked God this week to soften my heart...I should have been prepared for what He would do. Because man did He break me. And I love it. I cried myself to sleep several nights and cried in the day and was constantly troubled over things. But I needed it. God is faithful, He will guide us and answer prayers, we need to just ask.
This cycle needs to end now. We can't keep hating people. Somethings gotta change. I can't change everyone but I know I can start with myself. I don't want to be this anymore.
So what about you?
Are you really ready to love your enemies? Step out of your comfort zone? Admit you've been wrong?
Let's start a revolution.