I awoke last night, from a sound sleep, asking myself a question, “How do I love the church?” Is it that I only love it when everything is going smoothly in the way that I desire? Is it that I require people to believe my way is always the best for all? Do I love the church more when people seem to be listening to my views and decisions are in a direction I prefer? What do I think of the church when it works or decides things in a way that I find unacceptable…does it impact my love and forgiveness? If I am a follower of Jesus, what was His model for loving the church? Did He only love those who agreed with His decisions and did things His way? Hmm?
Ephesians 5:25 challenges my behavior; “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” The church was, is, and will always be an imperfect and sinful body of believers…and Jesus knew this as He continued to support it, even to a cross! If any of us are waiting for a perfect group of Christians to gather in the name of Christ before we will sacrifice our time, our money, our personal ambitions, and our service then we have a long wait! Denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, repeatedly questioned, and condemned by religious leadership, Jesus knew what it was to see sinful men.
Yet, he loved the church. How do I love the church? “Unconditional Love” is my goal but it won’t be easy! How will you love the church?