It’s the season of Thanksgiving. I wonder how many of us are thankful for our churches.
I’ve seen signs on people’s property that say, “I Love My Church”. I like my church and maybe even love it. But I will confess that over the years I have said negative things about “church”.
More Reflections: Ability to see colors proof that God exists
Warm feelings: The Bible talks about all kinds of love, including true love
I’m not alone. I’ve heard many people talk badly about their church. That’s why I was intrigued with an article in DesiringGod.org.
David Mathis wrote, “Do You Insult Your Savior’s Bride? What Jesus Thinks of His Church.”
Mathis began by writing, “’The church’ this. ‘The church’ that.”
If you ever hear those words, walk away. What’s said won’t enrich you. I know because I’ve said, “The church” this. “The church” that.
I was complaining. Not enriching.
Mathias talked about “professing” Christians dumping on “the church.”
“They might speak flippantly of what ‘the church’ doesn’t get. Or what ‘the church’ does wrong. Or the problem with ‘the church’ in our day.”
He said people claim to know better.
“If only they could fix ‘the church,’” he added.
He said people become careless in what they say about “the church,” especially with what Jesus said about “the church,” His church.
“Make no mistake, the church is his bride,” said Mathias. “How startling that Christ himself would risk such an image?”
Jesus even called Himself “the bridegroom.”
If I admire a man, would I talk carelessly about his wife? I don’t think so. Yet I have talked carelessly about “the church.”
He added, “What does Jesus think of his church? What does Christ feel toward her? How does he talk about her?”
A lot differently than I talk.
I realize that the church is made up of people, all sorts of people, all types of people. Some of them may get under my skin. But I also remember what Jesus said about His people, His disciples, His church.
Jesus had a lot to say about how we should treat other Christians.
In John 13:34 Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
And then He added in the next verse, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In Romans 13:8 Paul wrote, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
Paul called it a continuing debt of love, one toward another.
People like to know what they need to do to pass a test. Paul told us how to fulfill the law, “love one another.”
And it’s not just putting up with someone, or saying “I may love them, but I don’t have to like them.”
Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
That’s not an “I don’t have to like them” kind of love.
But how many times have we said that or indicated that.
If you are wondering about a loophole, read 1 John. It won’t take long and may help you to let Jesus save your soul.
Five times John told Christians to love one another. And I’m going to use all five verses. I need to remember this. I need to digest this. I need to love one another.
In 1 John 3:11 he wrote, “For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
In 1 John3:23 he wrote, “And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”
In 1 John 4:7, John wrote, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”
In 1 John 4:11 he wrote, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
And finally, if we have any doubt remaining about how to care for one another we have 1 John 4:12, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”
I don’t know about you but loving this way doesn’t seem natural. And I guess that’s the thing, it’s not. We need someone to teach us to love this way.
We have the perfect example: Jesus. To not love this way disowns Him.
I need to rely on His love.
I don’t want to ever talk negatively about His bride again.
Rick Reed is a columnist for The Daily Commercial, to reach Rick, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you can’t get enough Rick Reed, read his blog at rickreed.co.
This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: Talking poorly about your church might not sit well with Jesus