Lately, I've been hit a lot by the truth that many have been burned by "the church." I met someone last night at dinner who had been. I met someone else today who had a rough experience. And I read about it on a blog today. It's everywhere. It's a very sad reality. But the reason I put the term in quotes is because there are so many people who are masquerading as the real thing and there is no transformation going on in their lives. Some people blatantly don't care, and some really have good intentions of following after God, but are misinformed about what that looks like.
At first, I become prideful that I know the real thing. I consider myself a thoughtful Christian, one who has wrestled through different truth claims and have come to understand that the message Jesus Christ is Truth. But when I reflect on the grace imparted to me when I was God's enemy, I begin to be humbled. And I begin to really hurt for people who think they've seen people who have met Christ, and have nothing to do with the claims of Christianity today because they don't want to associate themselves with those "self-righteous jerks."
My heart aches. And I long for the day when the true church of America will shine more brightly and the dividing line between Christian and non-Christian will be much more distinct (more like the other countries of the world). When it isn't easy to associate yourself with the church, because of the persecution that could come from it. I long for that day because then people can take a more honest look at the church and see the people of God for who they really are (and hopefully be attracted to it instead of repulsed). We're normal, screwed people, but who have been transformed by the gospel of Christ. And then conversations can be had about Truth, because no one feels the guilt anymore that comes from the hypocrisy of been associated with the church while at the same time not knowing God at all.
I don't really know how to end this. So, I'll just say my desire is to love people well. I want to be up front with everyone about my short-comings and how I haven't done anything to earn the wonderful gift of salvation.