Some said Church is a hospital. It may not fully represent what church is but it does tell us about what we can expect from it. Church is where sick people come. Jesus said he came for the sick, not for the healthy. So church is for sick people, not for healthy people. If you think you are healthy, you don’t need Jesus. But the truth of the matter is everyone needs Jesus. It is because we all carry issues. Some have issues more glaring than the other but everyone struggles with something. Even pastors and leaders do.
That is why often church feels messy. I understand those who get disappointed by church. Church is supposed to be loving. Church is supposed to be welcoming. I fully agree. However, as much as we strive to make church healthier, we cannot expect church to be perfect because it is made up of imperfect people. When sick people are gathered, complaints and conflicts often arise.
The way I see church is that church is not where perfect people are gathered, but where imperfect people receive acceptance and grow. What sustains church even through its imperfections is forgiveness.
Relationship is all about extending forgiveness to others and receiving forgiveness from others. Avoiding others is never an option if we believe that we are called to grow to love people just like Jesus did.
So expect to be offended, agitated, frustrated in the church. Especially in house church, messiness is our realistic expectation. But we don’t remain in our mess for too long. Because we have a perfect mess-cleaner in Jesus, who have reconciled to us to God and who will also help us to reconcile with one another. And his grace shines ever brighter in our failures and messiness. We trust him and he has trusted us to build his church together.
If you are already a Christian, when church feels messy, you should feel as much responsible to make it healthier because we are the church. All those who have received Christ have become part of the body of Christ, which is his church. That is why if you criticize church when you are part of the church, you are in fact criticizing yourself. That is self-infliction. When conflicts arise, it is often God’s invitation for us to forgive and do something about the mess, not blaming or running away from it.