The church is both a blessing and a curse. I love her and I hate her, but she’s my mother, and I can’t do anything about it. I think Dicken’s had Sunday in mind when he wrote, “These were the best of times and the worst of times.” Gandhi said of us, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” I get it, and it hurts, but at the end of the day I have to look in the mirror because I am the church, so are you.

They say there are three things Christians do that tick off non-Christians:

1. Judge. I’m not a fan of the word and there are times that we do judge (John 13:35, Matthew 7:16), we have too but the Rabbi told us to get the lumberyard out of our own eyes before we do any kind of major surgery to remove the speck of sawdust in the eyes of others (Matthew 7:5).

2. Be Hypocritical. Not a fan of this word either but I know what people mean. It’s really not that we are hypocritical, we do believe what we say we believe we just fail sometimes to do it. We are a walking contradiction is probably a better way to describe the church. We say we love and we do in theory, practice is where we screw up. I would say to the one that looks at my failure and chooses to “judge” me to put the rock down (John 8:7) - at least I’m trying.

3. We Stink at Friendship. No.1 and No. 2 are probably the reason for No. 3. No one is good enough and I think I’m better than I really am (pride). What I’m saying is we are “perfect” people looking for other “perfect” people, it is then we will give our hearts away to others. Anne of Green Gables was looking for a “bosom friend.” Can we talk? There are not very many “bosom” friends out there. Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all - if you don’t believe me ask Jesus. I read that Jesus was a friend of sinners that He ate and partied with hookers, drunks and people addicted to really bad stuff (Matthew 11:19). He loved these people but most walked away from the friendship. My non-Christian, worldly, big time sinner friends have taught me more about what friendship is than my Christian friends (with a few exceptions), why is that?

Earlier I said I was trying. That’s really the problem. We have to stop trying and start trusting. I read somewhere that I can do No. 1 (stop being critical), No. 2 (stop living a contradictory life) & No. 3 (be a good friend to all) by trusting in Christ (Philippians 4:13). He told me to tell you that.

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Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at kenansell1@gmail.com.