I had the opportunity to take in Catalyst West Conference in Irvine, California. So many things to share from there, but something that's been on my mind that Perry Noble brought up: people who say they love Jesus, but hate the church.
I call these people Jesus'-Wife Beaters. Now, stick with me...there are plenty of people that I know who say they love Jesus, but have this deep-seeded angst with the (His) church. They love to sit and critque. They complain. They vent. They disrespect. They dishonor.
I have a beautiful wife, Brett (yes, she's a girl.) There's no way I deserve to be with her, but obviously I have her fooled. Fortunately my son looks more like her than me! I love Brett exponentially more than any other person.
Now, let's say you're hanging out with me, we're drinking some americanos, shooting the breeze and you feel the need to start trashing Brett - what you dislike about her, what bugs you about her, that you think she's ugly...well, I'm not just going to sit there and let you critique, vent about, disrespect, and dishonor my wife. I'M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT! (at least that's what I'd want to do)
You catching this?
The Church is Jesus' wife, his bride...you dig? So when you sit back all smug, arms-crossed and start trashing Jesus' wife - how do you think he feels about this? Does he think: "boy, I'm so glad you felt the need to share these things with me - but how do you really feel?" hmmmm.
If you say you love Jesus, it follows that you should love the things he loves...one of those being his wife, his Church.
Now, I know there are faults in the Church, things that have gotten skewed. But that does not diminish the fact that I am called to love it - dang, I am it; we are it. It's a heart thing.
I know how easy it is to find these faults, some of them are glaringly apparent. But, what are you doing to improve them? What are you doing to be the Church we are called to be? You think you're so smart because you have pointed out all the major flaws in the church? Wow, congratulations! You deserve a prize, or at least a punch in the throat (figuratively of course.)
I believe there can be constructive criticism - but that has to be done in love. And if you're not willing to own up to your role in these flaws and be willing to have a role in the solution - SHUT UP! If you don't humble yourself in this - that's not love, don't delude yourself. Any moron can complain, that means nothing. But, who's willing to stand up and take ownership?
Does it grieve you how the Church has gone off-course in some areas? I believe it grieves Jesus too. Is this grief because you know how much more we could be? Or is it out of pride?
I'm sick of hearing it if you don't want to have anything to do with fixing it in love. So, let's together take an honest look at the Church and bring it back to Jesus.
...or you can continue to beat Jesus' Wife...