Give’em Grace

Posted: July 2, 2015 in Blog, Pastor's Corner
Tags: , , , , ,

Complaint, grumbling, and fault-finding, are all part of life.100_1212 Even after you’ve been handed buckets of candy, it is easy to grumble. Some how the sucker in your mouth isn’t sweet enough, as your mother takes pictures. Shockingly, most grumblers, haters, and fault-finders don’t admit to being hateful and judgmental, but veil hatred in differing shades of humor, righteous-indignation, and an all to common statement, ‘I’m just saying’. Fault-finding, grumbling, and ‘hating’ can become a seed bed of discontent in one’s heart, and division in the church.

Grumbling all too often infects the church, as people lament the organizational structures, thinking the sucker will be a little bit sweeter if it was shaped differently. Regardless of shape, the sucker will taste the same. This axiom can also stand for the church; regardless of the organizational shape the church will still be filled with people. To take it a step further; regardless of the services provided the church will always disappoint, because it is filled with people. Those who’ve found fault in the organized church wield the same divisive ideas in step with those who keep shopping for the perfectly organized church. Having no organized structure, as well as desiring perfect organization is problematic, in that neither exist! Seeking either will lead to disappointment, like searching for the lost city of Atlantis. Such mentalities invade the church and can keep people from gathering in the name of Jesus.

The heart beat of church life is gathering. If people are going to gather, simple organizational matters need attended to; such as time, location, and activities during gathering, if these aren’t agreed upon then gathering will not happen. When the church comes together imperfect people gather, and the gathering will be imperfect, which is why we need grace.

There lay the most horrifying part of this movie—‘gathering together’. When people gather they will act like… people! You know sinful, selfish, grumbling, and in need of Jesus, behaving in ways that will lead to offense. Quite frankly, many avoid gatherings, even while claiming to be a member of the church, fearing the social gathering of a community, because being sinned against and disagreements are imminent. People stop attending because the pastor didn’t glad hand at the carry-in, the music leader refused to play their favorite song, or a nursery worker told someone their 10 year old couldn’t stay in the nursery. All reasons people have stopped gathering in the name of Christ.

Some offenses are legitimate, putting obvious and illegitimate complaints aside, grievous violations do occur. Such as the pastor being rude and short with a person because he was in a hurry, or the worship leader avoiding a conversation with a particular person who wants to sing a solo (but can’t carry a tune in a bag), or the nursery worker who singles out a child to teach the parents a lesson on parenting. True grievances need to be voiced, standing in tune with grace. However, these grievances are often grumbling that show graceless attitudes in stereo with the filed injustice. Reconciliation isn’t the goal, but retaliation is sought.

Hear me clearly, each of these complaints are legit, and happen in multitude in the life of any and every church. Nevertheless to what are we called? Violations are legitimate at times. The frustration is understandable, we’ve all experienced such things.  Nevertheless, reality doesn’t warrant reciprocal behavior. Environments of grace, or giving them grace all the more, demands behavior reflexive of Christ. What has God the Father given us by faith in Jesus Christ? Undeserving favor in the midst of our rebellious nature and deeds. This becomes the very foundation of us extending grace, and giving it to them, all the more.

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