“ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
“The Church is that unlikely body of people through whom God chooses to reveal God’s love for us […] believing in Jesus and believing in the Church are two sides of one faith. It is unlikely but divine!” - Henri J. M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom
It’s hard to imagine a more imperfect way for a holy, perfect God to get his message to the world: using broken, messy people! While I wish the Church was a perfect place where no one ever experienced shame or fear or hate, the truth is that many people have and continue to have these negative experiences. If you’ve had hard church experiences, let me start by saying I have too, and I’m so sorry you have. I carry you in my heart. If you haven’t, I pray you are able to continue having positive experiences in your church community.
We are currently living in a world more divided than ever before. It saddens me to see more and more people who choose to reject others on their opinions and choices rather than choosing to listen and look at them with love.
We have to learn to love God’s people, even if we don’t immediately agree or feel like they’re thinking the same way that we are. God has made each of us different and has given us each special gifts and talents that reflect his nature. We have to learn to be good to one another in spite of our differences. Genesis 1 tells us that we are all made in the image of God. We all embody his personality and nature in some way. We must be people who look for and call out the goodness of God in one another.
If you tend to struggle with other Christians around you, whether it’s that you just find them annoying or actually disagree with them on a deep level, I hope these questions help you see those around you in a new light. Together, we are all the body of Christ, called to show his love and goodness to the world.