Originally published Sunday, 11 March 2012.
Dear Church Despisers,
There is a lot to be irked about when it comes to the Christian Church and the people in it. Somewhere in the line of history, society got this crazy idea that church people had it all together and whenever it appeared they didn't, they got stamped with a big fat "HYPOCRITE" tag. Failure somehow gave society permission to deny the validity of Christianity. The irony, is that the message of Christianity has very little to do with the perfection of people and everything to do with their failure.
Christianity is built on the very premise that mankind fails.
Mankind failed to live up to the standards of holiness set by God. You know the ones: the 10 Commandments. There is only one human being on the face of the earth, in our timeline and in all of history, that has ever lived a perfect life. That man was Jesus. Everyone else failed, multiple times, obviously. Of all people, you would know this because you have probably experienced first hand the failure of church people.
However, the most beautiful and awe-striking thing about Christianity lies not in mere failure, but in the reality that Jesus, died to pay the debt of sin (wrong doing, unrighteousness before God) and then He rose from the dead, conquering even death itself so that we could live life free to fail as we grow and tell the world about this hope for life we have received.
You see, Christianity is not about us. It's not about people becoming better human beings nor is it even about heightening the moral code in the world. It's about the need for a Savior. And as Christians, by claiming that title, we are admitting to you right off the bat that we can't do this life on our own. We need Jesus. We are not perfect.
So on behalf of the Christians who have hurt you, I am apologizing and asking your forgiveness. For that moment in time, they failed to live out what being the Church really means: love. They failed to love you. And for that, I am sorry. But what they did do, is show you that our God is bigger than their sin. God still loves them just as much as He loves you and me. They showed you, through their ignorance or deliberate hurt, that God can redeem even the wrongest of wrongs. He loves us that much.
So maybe try the Church again. But this time, with a new perspective. Walk through those doors knowing that every single person in there needs Jesus. They are not perfect but they are loved.
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**If you're just joining us for this series, welcome! You can catch up on the earlier letters here > Dear Church | Letter One, Dear Church Attenders | Letter Two, Dear Pastors | Letter Three, Dear Pastor's Wives | Letter Four, Dear Church Employees | Letter Five, Dear Families of Church Employees | Letter Six