“If you think you have finally found the perfect church, DON’T become a member of it, as it will then no longer be perfect" (Cardinal Dolan)
A few years ago we were driving through Carlisle, England and the sign above caught my eye. I made hubby drive around the block and find a parking space in order that I could take a photograph of it.
The words resonated strongly with me.
The church is there for sinners!
My personal definition of the church is “anybody who believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again in order that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life”.
There are church buildings, and then there is the 'church', made up of people living all over the world.
Some of the loneliest and depressed people are found in a church building. One of my dearest friends who used to live on the streets told me once, that he was initially far lonelier in the church than he had ever been on the streets. He felt that a lot of folks who went to church were hypocrites – because they were Christians they felt they had to pretend that everything was fine in their lives. As though by believing in Jesus Christ they were no longer allowed to be honest and open about their negative emotions! That by admitting they were feeling depressed/angry/hurt/sad/a failure they were basically negating their faith in Christ.
Someone else once said “Christians are not perfect, they are just forgiven and their sin/mistakes/faults are no longer held against them”.
That is my kind of Christianity. Knowing that I live in God’s grace.
Over the centuries some churches have lost sight of God’s commandment “love one another as I have loved you” and are far more interested in the ‘man made’ rules which even churches of different denominations differ on.
Adult water baptism – right or wrong?
Communion - some denominations will not allow somebody from another denomination to take full communion?
Child baptism – a must or not really necessary?
Apartheid – separation of different races – which some churches actually justified by using Biblical scriptures?
Once you accept Jesus as your Saviour and are filled with the Holy Spirit you cannot continue behaving in the same way. You need to strive to be more Christ like, to love others as He has loved you BUT to know that when you “blow it” you have the option of confessing your sin and being forgiven.
I have just read this to my husband and he stated “On the basis of what you have just written I would be put off church for life!”
That is not my intention at all – to put anybody off joining a church! I do, however, believe that in order to be happy and accepted in a church, you need to find a church like the one advertised above.
A church that accepts everybody and strives to love everyone who enters their doors as Christ loves us. That means that the majority of people in the church need to have the same goals and basic belief that everyone is worth loving.
There are always going to be people in the church building that you are not going to agree with and some people who you will just not like, but if the majority of people in the church building invite others in the building into their homes for meals and fellowship, if the majority, who are more financially wealthy, share with those who are in need, if the majority are willing to forgive each other, than I would say that is the church you need to join.
My friend eventually found great healing, acceptance and warmth in the church and learnt to look past the few people who he felt judged him. It is vital to fellowship with other Believers and to have God’s word explained by others who have had a revelation of the Scriptures and are able to teach God’s truth.
And yes, I do belong to a church! In fact, I have been a member of my church, Mowbray Presbyterian Church in Cape Town, South Africa for over 20 years.
My church is filled with all kinds of people – different races, different upbringings, some are selfish, greedy and needy – far from perfect, but they all love the Lord and strive to live their lives sharing Christ's love with others.
Published by Noelene Curry