Have you seen yourself lately? | Sin in the church

by You Have My Word

‪It saddens me to see that sin has infiltrated the church. Maybe you’ve noticed it too? What is meant to be a pure bride waiting for Christ – the groom – has been sullied, is unsafe and dysfunctional and watered-down and defensive. This was not God’s original design.

One Sunday after our church service, I was packing up my music equipment when someone approached me and asked, “Is that your stuff on the chair in the front row?” So I said that it was, and this is how they proceeded: “Don’t you know it could be stolen? I know it’s church but don’t be so naïve – you don’t know who comes in here.”

And we wonder why people don’t want to come to church.

You don’t know who comes in here.
You don’t know, who comes in here?
You don’t know who comes in, here.

Their question didn’t insult my ability to look after my stuff, rather it deeply wounded my perception of what the universal church believes and represents. It saddened me because this person was right: I don’t know who comes in here. I don’t know their stories. I don’t know their joys and their pain. I don’t know if they have met God or not.

Jesus knows them. We don’t. I don’t.

We have become so guarded against the possibility of anyone with any messed-up background or circumstance, entering the church because they may upset “our way”. We are terrified of allowing imperfect people (according to our standards) across the threshold of our nicely-decorated, facade-faced church building because it may require us to get dirty. It’s time for us to open the doors a little wider and allow dust to be dropped off soles as the imperfect, like us, tread through.

Why do we assume that the disbelieving feet that walk through our doors bring bad with them? Why do we assume that the rot is not already inside – have you seen yourself lately?

Here I look at myself: I’m just as disbelieving and bad and rotten as those who have not yet been labelled “first-time visitors”. Maybe I’m just better at covering it up. I practice every Sunday, don’t I?

It dawns on me too, that the question, “Don’t you know it could be stolen?” is a reflection of brokenness trying to speak out. Sometime ago, somewhere along the line, something was taken from this person – physically, emotionally, spiritually. Retaliation is natural. Restoration is needed.

I do not have a solution, and I realise that none of us do. I only have Jesus. Just Jesus.