Church is so many things. A lot of these things have come from human error at best, pure evil at worst.
And yet, the Church is beyond that. It’s Christ’s bride, and it won’t be taken down by the wolves within.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”Matthew 7:21-23
My daughter and I recently learned about the human heart. When most of our organs shut down, our bodies are able to compensate, even when the brain takes leave. But not the heart. When the heart dies, everything dies.
And it’s the same way with our spiritual hearts, the center of everything within us that can’t be explained by science. When our cores begin to darken and everything becomes about us, church included, we take what is holy and true and manipulate it for our own intent. But God isn’t fooled.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.Matthew 7:15-20
There are a few things I’ve come to learn. God has granted me so much grace and mercy that I have to extend this to my brothers and sisters, even the ones who rub me the wrong way. It’s a fact: you’re not going to like everyone at church. But there lies an opportunity to be like Jesus. To not expect accolades or even simple manners. God will deal with this kind of behavior. What we need to do is love them anyway.
Secondly, not everyone’s folly is a simple matter of being rude in the moment. Some people are working for evil whether they know it or not. I think we’ve seen these factions moving through the church, ones that have a progressive bent that is no longer steeped in Scripture. These are the false prophets, the ones focused on division in the name of unity. The ones who don’t know Christ at all.
This is where discernment and prayer come in. This is where God’s Word rules over man’s. Some in the Church have had a long history of using the Bible as a weapon and some Christians have had a long history of idly standing by.
This is where we truly become the Bride of Christ, waiting at the ready for our Groom to return. When we focus on what Church really is, the hands and feet of Jesus, we’ll be more apt to do God’s work than making the Church work for us.