The church has a bad image in today’s culture. People love Christ, but not His church. Christians are “judgmental”, “hypocrites”, and “loveless”.
Some in the church are taking a stand to show the world that’s not who we are, but there are also those in the church who have excused the church’s actions, saying the church fails because it is human. For that reason, it will not be fixed until Christ’s return. I think this, while true, is entirely the wrong approach.
In school, I played volleyball and basketball. I was an intense, competitive little girl and took quite a few hits. That consequently led to knee surgery my freshman year of high school. The doctor sat me down and, with a straight face, told me to take up table tennis. For the rest of my life, he said, I would not be able to run more than five miles a week.
You had better believe that as soon as I recovered from surgery, I was hitting the streets in new running shoes. I started running five miles a week and was soon racing 5Ks and 10Ks. A year after surgery, I wasn’t just running five miles a week; I was running more than five miles a day.
So what’s the point?
I was told that I was broken and unfixable. I was human, and a broken one, at that, but I wasn’t willing to let that stop me; I knew God has the power to heal. Who am I to limit that?
God is bigger than the brokenness of this world and we are His bride. So then as Christians, shouldn’t we have that overcoming mindset? People tell us that we are broken and messed up, so let’s just leave it be. I’m saying no! We are broken, but Christ died so we could be redeemed. His church may be full of broken humans, but He is Redeemer and Healer and we are His.
I wasn’t running five miles a day because I took up table tennis. I was running five miles a day because I prayed for healing and poured my heart and all my physical strength into fixing my problem, physically and spiritually. With God’s healing, I knew I was unstoppable.
So what does this look like for Christians and the church? We need to shake off this idea that we are broken sinners, and realize we are redeemed and God’s with us. Let’s act like a redeemed church and fix our image in the world’s eyes; let’s get the church body back into top physical shape so we can run the race set before us.
This is no new problem. The early church faced similar issues. They were thought to be cannibals in their time, because they were eating their leader’s flesh and drinking his blood. This looked odd to outsiders. However, the early church didn’t let that idea fly. Instead, apologist Christians such as Justin Martyr set about correcting the misconception, explaining and showing what Christianity was really about.
Sure, the church is human and Christians fail, but we must have the mindset of athletes for Christ. Let’s run this race as the redeemed that we are and show the world what we really are about.