Have you ever been hurt by someone associated with the church? Perhaps a member of the church staff or a person of faith, said or did something offensive or hurtful. Or maybe a church in general shared a message that while perhaps well-intended, left you feeling unloved or unfairly judged? One friend shared that the meanest people she knew as a young person were “workers in the faith”.
Another friend said, “the worst part about Christianity is Christians”. Initially this statement left me confused and even somewhat offended. After letting the idea soak in, it started to make more sense. The church, just like the rest of the world is filled with imperfect people (which includes preachers, teachers, and all other sorts such as myself). We mess it up quite often, we sin, too often we say dumb things on social media, and we are hypocrites. However, that’s why we go to church. We seek reconciliation, truth, love, forgiveness, and purpose.
Regardless of your experience: If you left the church (or never went) because you felt the church failed you, this is a request to give it another chance. Come back. Not because things have improved but because there’s something that often gets overlooked. The donuts? Nope. Good coffee? Maybe at some churches but from experience we’ve still not figured that out.
And I’ll even dare say, don’t go to church to seek happiness because it doesn’t promise it. Happiness is a byproduct or an outcome from something else. If we seek love and relationship, and seek to do things for others that’s when we find the true happiness. My wife is often considered a “happy person”. One reason for her happiness is because she’s constantly seeking to give to other people; her time and effort, kind words, and a contagious smile. That, dear readers, is relationship transformed into joy and happiness.
Back to what is often overlooked: While ministers and priests, etc. are imperfect, Jesus was and is perfect. He never failed and he never will. He lived on this planet as a man (and this is well documented), human yet still God. His words are true. We may not always like the things he says, but we can count on them because of who he was (and was not). When we seek our own truth or try to rely on someone else’s truth for our lives it can (and eventually will) get messed up.
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:27)
Today’s reading: Hebrews 7:15-28