When my husband and I were raising our three children, we had certain expectations for ourselves in raising them, and also, expectations for our children to obey. With rules comes expectations of either good or bad consequences, depending on choices. If not, why even have rules?
Three times I have survived a church split. As I grow older, I have become even less tolerant of the body of Christ being attacked and split. In among all these years, I’m seeing where the church is looking more like the secular world, and it’s very disconcerting. If I hear one more time from a church brethren, “Darlene, you shouldn’t be surprised with the way people act in church,” or “the church is made up of broken people; you need to stop being shocked,” or “the church is a body of the walking wounded.” …<sigh!>…. Does it sound to anyone else like one big copout?! “Broken people”, “walking wounded”, where is the healing in God’s word?! If we must lower our expectations of how a Christian ought be or interact with fellow brethren, why even bother with church at all? Can we not receive the same ill treatment outside of church?
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
Romans 16:17 I appeal you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.
By these three verses alone, I understand there is an expectation for the congregation’s obedience to The Lord’s word….rules. How is there correction and accountability when excuses are readily available for the offender? From raising three children, I knew that none of my precious angels really hung a halo but I still had my expectations for their obedience and respect for others. Did it disappoint me and sometimes “shock” me when they acted-out? YES, yes it did! Do you think Jesus may also have this same viewpoint when he sees his children acting out in contradiction of his laws or against one another? I think he does. To say “you shouldn’t be surprised with the way people act in church” or “the church is made up of broken people, you need to stop being shocked,” is the wrong answer! It has been my experience that when I have been told this, it is usually by an individual who is dealing out the harm. I’m not saying this is everyone but quite a few. We are living in times where there are individuals whose whole purpose in coming to church is to work for the enemy, creating division and breaking the body of Christ!
Many a lost souls have not darkened a church doorway because of “the walking wounded” treating the downcast with distain. I’m going to say something that I know may not set well but it needs to be said. There are those who prefer to continue to pick at their own wounds (“the walking wounded”), rather than to look outside of themselves to see there are always someone worse off, needing a kind word of encouragement or a healing touch. Look to Jesus, The ONE person who had truly a valid reason for being the “walking wounded” but chose a better way! Amen.