We are a people of extremes. It’s very rare we find ourselves in the middle of something.
I think of the presidential candidates who try to work both sides of the aisle in Congress as one of the more startling examples of trying to be in the middle. It’s not going to work. At the end of the day, for the most part, we are opinionated people who love taking sides. And that’s not a bad thing necessarily.
As I’ve reflected on what I’ve written over the last couple months, I’ve noticed a pattern. I’m very critical of the Church. I’m very critical of people in the Church. I examined my heart.
Sometimes I hate the Church.
Sometimes I hate Christians.
And that’s never good.
As much as I write about giving grace and love to people on this blog, I very seldom do it to the Christians. Not just on this blog, but in my heart. And I’m sorry.
I won’t apologize for thinking critically about the Church or even being critical of the Church. There aren’t enough Christians who are willing to take a step back and look at ourselves, our people, and point out what we’re missing, how we’re failing at keeping the commands of Christ. I’ll keep doing that.
Initially, the reason for me doing that was wanting to see the Church change, was wanting to see us become a people who give the grace and love of Jesus not only to the world but to each other. I wanted to see us become more like Christ. And I think there’s part of me that still wants that.
But if I can be honest with you, there’s also part of me now that doesn’t want it to change. If it changes for the better, I would have less to write about and I don’t have as much of a platform to stand on anymore. Not that there’s a platform I stand on anyways – I have, on average, about maybe 15-20 visitors to this blog a day. That’s not much.
But this is a very vital part of my life. I pour out my heart on this blog. I’m sharing things I’m thinking through. What I write is very closely entwined with what I’m thinking. And I’m afraid that I’ve showed my hand on my strong dislike, sometimes hatred, for the body of Christ.
What is it that Jesus said to His disciples? “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). If someone looked at my blog, would they be able to tell I am a Christian? I don’t know. I hope so. But I can’t say for sure. They might look at it and simply be like, “Well, that Zach guy, he sure is critical.”
Perhaps in my attempt to stop being so judgmental about the world I’ve become super judgmental of Christians. And that’s not honoring to God. That’s not honoring to Jesus. That’s not giving the grace that I would want for myself and that I know God desires for the world to receive, even though most reject it and miss out on eternity with Him because of that rejection.
So here’s to a change, hopefully. I’ll still be critical of the Church if I feel the need to. But hopefully I’ll grow in giving grace to my brothers and sisters in Christ. God gives grace to me. I hope I can reflect Him.
I appreciate the humility here. I’ve encountered Christians who are quick to throw fellow believers under the bus in order to defend some point or stand or whatever. The church is a mess sometimes, and there were times when I must admit I hated it or I was hurt by it, but yeah… love starts at home.
Thanks for your comment, Ivane. I’ve definitely been that Christian before, and I’m seeing that even as part of my life now. God’s conviction is sweet, in a way. But you’re right, we’ve got to start but loving those we’re closest too.
Thanks Zachary for this post. One of my most popular posts is Why I Stopped Going To Church. The most common comment I received was people visited thinking I hated church only to discover it was about reaching out to other struggling believers. We are most critical to those closest to us and that is not good.
Thanks for reading and commenting Edmond! It’s not good to be critical to those closest to us. Those are the people who need our love and grace the most! And I admit that I suck at it the majority of the time, especially recently.
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