The church is the bride of Christ, but she is not always that attractive. Church is the one organization where you have to admit you are a failure in order to become a member. It’s how we start our faith journey by crying out, acknowledging we are a sinner and we need a Savior. They say friendships start when you raise your hand and say, “me too.”
Each of us is a work in progress; God’s not finished with us yet, can I get an amen! If we are honest, we know we are not perfect, and therefore we should cut other people who are not perfect some slack. You know what they say: there are only two perfect people in the world, you and me, and I’m not so sure about you.
Almost everybody likes Jesus, but not everyone is a fan of the church. I think it was Gandhi that said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” The methodist church has tried to address the perception the church has with people, as they expressed to the public they were a place with, “Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Hearts.” High five to them!
Jesus talked about cutting people slack when the “church” people brought a woman to the Rabbi who was guilty of enjoying the company of the opposite sex (John 8:1-11). Let’s not forget that she was guilty of what they accused her of, but so was the man she had been with. They wanted to throw rocks at this woman, but grace was there in the form of the Rabbi.
Do you remember what Jesus said to the crowd that day? He told them to slow their roll. What is it that makes us want to point fingers and throw rocks at other people? I think it’s pride. Ha, pride and short memories.
I was not very good at algebra when I was in school. After my third try, I finally passed — praise the Lord — or I would be the world’s oldest high school senior. I was not always nice to my algebra teacher, and years later I was embarrassed when I ran into her at a class reunion.
Towards the end of the evening, I got up some courage, and I finally went up to say hello. As we discussed where life had taken me, she asked me what I did as a vocation. It was hard to tell her I was a pastor, and so I apologized before I answered her question.
Do you know what she said? She said, “Ken, that’s great!” Do you know what I heard her say? “Me too.” We have been friends ever since. It’s amazing what forgiveness, love, humility, mercy, grace and honesty can do for us. That, and no rocks. He told me to tell you that.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.