Facebook memories. I have a love/hate relationship with them. While I get to enjoy great memories spent with friends and families, sometimes I read posts I made that make me cringe.
For those who have been reading my blog, you are aware that I had a 180 degree change in my life a few years ago. That change led me on a path of discovery. Discovering who God really is and who I am – more importantly, who I am in Him.
One of the things that changed was the hold the institutionalized church had on my life. I discovered what Church really was to God; what His intention with what the Church is. I was set free from the bondage of control, manipulation, indoctrination, and self-righteousness. There was a tremendous amount of freedom I felt.
However, let be honest, real, and raw with you. There was a lot of immaturity at first. I don’t mean to use the work immaturity in a sense of meaning “childish.” I mean the word in the sense of I had learned something new that was freeing, but hadn’t really grasped what it all truly meant from the perspective of God’s heart. My insight and understanding of the Church was immature.
You see, I learned what church wasn’t. I also learned what church was. What I hadn’t quite understood is God’s heart towards what the Church had become in spite of His desires for the Church. Much like we read in the Bible, over and over again man misinterpreted what God was trying to do and created something for their own gain – to make their name great. They took “humanity” out of the equation and made building for “God” to dwell. In the Church’s/Body of Christ’s desire to do the right thing, they followed what their leaders were doing because that’s all they knew to do. They trusted their leadership; not necessarily out of idiocy, but because it’s all they knew to do.
While I still can clearly see the error in the “institution” of Church, I now can see the heart of God towards it; yes, even the institution. Much like every other time man messed up God’s purpose, God does not hate the Church – any of it. And before some get offended at what I just said, I am not referring to the institution, but the people. But make not mistake, God can use the Church Institution to accomplish His purpose. He is the God that can turn ALL things into good for those who love Him.
There are many churches now-a-days, especially in our country, the US. We have extremely large churches to small home churches. God loves them all! Not the church institutions within themselves, but the people who attend them. There are people in every single church that truly desire to honor God and serve Jesus. Only our Father God can know their hearts and judge them.
The more I study theology and come to understand the heart of God towards humanity, the easier it is becoming for me to distinguish the different between THINGS and PEOPLE. While the church institution may have major flaws, we cannot forget that there are people, really good Jesus loving people, in those churches. We also must remember that God is God; He is sovereign. While we may not understand why certain “men and women of God” could attend certain churches, we may be lacking the revelation to comprehend that God may have called them to be in the midst of those churches.
There are times I read things I wrote during my immature years in my facebook memories that make me cringe. Why? Because my immaturity caused me to be very judgmental towards something I did not understand. In my heart I just wanted people to experience the freedom I was experiencing, but I was going about it all the wrong way.
I was critical. I was judgmental.
Much like the institutionalized church leaders I was accusing of being controlling and self-righteous. I read the things I wrote and can sense the self-righteousness in myself.
I recently wrote about, how as a society, we should start sharing more about what we believe than what we don’t believe. The reason I wrote that is because I can see how in my immature stage I was sharing what I don’t believe. I was criticizing and judging those who didn’t believe the same with a tone of “don’t be an idiot.” No one can convince me now that God would be pleased with that. It’s just not His heart.
Sharing what we do believe is a much better way to speak the truth. I’m not saying we deny reality or don’t call out evil things. I’m just saying that it’s one thing to call out evil. It’s another thing to judge and criticize the heart of man – especially whole groups of people. If we truly believe that God has showing us His heart towards something, like the Church body, then the better way to communicate this is to teach and DEMONSTRATE what God has shown us – not criticize and judge everyone who hasn’t yet received the “revelation.” Showing someone what they could experience is way better than criticizing them for being where they’re at.
Take some time to read Romans 14. It talks about this very thing. James 2 is also a great chapter to reach on this.
May we learn to live of a life that demonstrates
MERCY triumphs over judgement