This article struck a cord in me. I was going to just link to it but I wanted to add my two cents. I have heard it said, “I love church, but what is going on within the inner workings of church is what I do not like.” I think I have said that a time or two also. Church is filled with imperfect people, people who sin, people who need each other. Unfortunately it is within the church walls that I hear more gossip, complaining, and not loving each other that bothers me the most.
“We carry our problems into the church the same way we carry them into a bar—they just react differently in each location. Unfortunately, the sins that exist within the walls of the Church are harder to spot.” (from the article) And when they are discovered often we hear of someone’s sins from several different sources. What happened to keeping a confidence, what happened to being there to pray for a brother and sister and keeping your mouth shut? Often times we “are there for them,” it is the keeping our mouth shut we as Christians struggle with. The only time you should feel the freedom to share something is with your pastor and the item better concern you in some way. If you are just “informing” your pastor, that is gossip.
“It’s to our shame many folks looking for hope find more grace at the local bar than the local church.” (from the article) We look good on the outside, but as soon as we are at a “Christian” party or gathering, I can not tell you how often I have stood by and overheard conversations about other fellow church members. It really makes me angry!! Also it plants seeds of insecurity of turning to fellow church members during a time of need. I am not standing on my soap box pointing fingers and saying I have never fallen into this sin, but sending out a reminder to fellow brothers and sisters.
“Walking the line between the clubs and the Church, I’ve been misunderstood by both sides. I’m sure you’ve felt the same thing: people throw rocks at the things they don’t understand. (AMEN) But it hurts worst when it comes from well-intending brothers and sisters, the folks who are purportedly filled with the love of Christ. Our knee-jerk response is to retaliate, to fight back. And the cycle begins again. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. God will take care of the speck in my neighbor’s eye. The more faith I have in Him and His strong voice, the less I have to yell. The more faith I have in Him, the freer my hands become to serve those around me.” I have found the latter to be true. After experiencing hurt myself, I found personally that the more I was quiet the louder His voice was for me. It was hard to experience, but I found that letting God defend me was so much better than having my own words defend me.
None of us within the church walls are perfect, even leadership. Let our first reaction be love towards an imperfect brother or sister and in return allow them to feel safe coming to you by keeping your mouth shut.
Ok stepping off my soap box….