Many things have changed over the last few years for the church. Some good and some appear not so good. Some of these changes make me wonder what Jesus really thinks about His body, the church, today. I now speak to more people on line than I do in the pews on Sunday morning. More people than ever before have access to the Gospel message than ever before. What a great thing. So, not every change caused by COVID or other social trends are bad but let me speak to three changes that should disturb us all.
Suddenly, it seems, Christians got mean. Church people on social media feel free to say mean and disturbing things to one another and even to strangers who post a different opinion. We must always remember, as Christians, the only witness of Jesus’ love and grace is our lives and words. We are called to be light to the world about Jesus and his love for all people. Members of the Body of Christ, your unchurched friends are watching, listening and reading what you say. What you are saying is awful.
With this negative witness comes a sense that Christians are angry people. What’s up with that? Have we not heard of the new covenant. The new covenant is focused on love, grace, forgiveness, restoration, and gentleness. Our witness for most of the world is that we are ticked off people with extremely judgmental attitudes. Have we not read 1 John 4:7-8
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
My third observation is that the church is about drawing people to the Kingdom of God. However, we seem to be more interested in politics and political theories than we are in sharing the “good news.” Jesus did not come to promote a political party or a candidate. Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God had broken into the world through his birth, death, and resurrection. His invitation was not to join the world but to deny this world and follow him in the new thing we now call the church.
We need to take a step back and ask ourselves, de we look, live, and sound like Jesus meant and even commanded us to be?
People need Jesus not your politics, anger, and judgmentalism. We must ask for forgiveness because we look more like the world than we look like Jesus. We must deal with anger by the transformation of our hearts and minds through the work of the Holy Spirit. We must go into the world with a refreshed determination to look, live and sound like Jesus.
The writer is the senior pastor at Sidney First United Methodist Church, Sidney.