“I love My Church!”
Would Jesus say that? Absolutely! The Bible tells us,
“Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
His Church is comprised of all those living, as well as all those who have already died, who have turned to Christ by faith and surrendered their lives to follow Him.
There can be no doubt that God loves His Church. Most will remember Jesus’ words:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Clearly, if God loves everyone enough to give His One and Only Son, then He loves those who love His One and Only Son.
Again, there is no question that God loves His Church.
Why do so many people not love His Church?
Then, why do so many people not love His Church?
For starters, let me say that some people simply are not in His Church.
They have not been “born again,” “saved,” or surrendered to Him as their Lord. Yes, they may be members of their local church, but are not members of His Church. They may love the feeling they get at church and the friends who also attend their church. They may love the pastor, the music, and may even love being in a position of leadership; but because they have not truly been saved by surrendering their lives to the Head of the Church – Jesus – they don’t truly love The Church.
Another reason people may not love the Church is that they know they will be exposed to truth.
They know they will be reminded that, like everyone else, they are imperfect sinners who must one day give an account to God. They like the part about God being loving, but they don’t care for the fact that God is also holy.
A third basic reason is because they simply have not gotten their way.
Much like membership in a country club, some people think that as church members they are entitled to be served. They expect their local church to cater to their needs. They forget that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church and He purchased her with His own blood. They may be ignorant of the fact that God is the Sovereign King of everything Who sent His Son to this earth on a mission and has given that mission to all who follow His Son. Christ followers can’t go their own way and His way at the same time. The Church exists for God’s glory, not for our whims.
Similarly, some people have not gotten the attention they think they deserve. Generally, they want their church to be about them and, if it doesn’t meet their need, they are either off to another church or they stay away altogether hoping to get sympathy. They find it much easier to blame the church rather than address their own sinful, selfish attitude. As my friend Hal Mayer has been known to say, “It is SO not about you!”
Perhaps they have been let down others.
I am not talking about the pain that comes from hearing the truth of the gospel or not getting one’s way. This final category includes those people who, because of their immaturity, have placed others on a pedestal only to find out they are imperfect. Of course, they were mistaken to think that. Just because someone is sincere and passionate about Christ does not mean that person is perfect. At times, we hold others to an unrealistic standard and show less grace to them than we would want shown to ourselves.
And finally, some people don’t love the Church because a church member has wounded them.
These are not people who are angry because they have not gotten their way. They are not those who are codependent or selfish and have found they could not manipulate their church. They are not those who didn’t like being challenged to be totally surrendered to Christ. These people have been genuinely hurt because others spoke or acted in an unloving and perhaps even a hateful way towards them. If this describes your pain let me humbly say that I understand. As a matter of fact, I think most other pastors understand this kind of hurt as well.
May I share some honest advice?
First, can you simply forgive and overlook the matter? If not, God expects you to go to the person who offended you and humbly, yet honestly, share your concerns. Many times we may be hurt by simple misunderstandings. We think we know the facts, but don’t. Furthermore, when we are hurt and don’t respond properly, our hurt can easily become bitterness that drives a wedge into relationships and ultimately stifles our own intimacy with Christ.
And believe it or not, you have likely hurt others over the course of your life. It may have been unintentional, but it happened. How would you want them to respond to you? You should know that even among genuine believers we are all imperfect and at various levels of spiritual and emotional maturity. In the same way, we should show those who have hurt us the same grace that we would want shown to us when we fail to act like Christ.
Finally, if you feel that no one understands, consider that even Christ was betrayed by one of His closest friends and denied by the very one who appeared to be the most loyal.
Ultimately, we must get our joy from Jesus. If we have been hurt, you may be sure He knows it and He is able to not only heal your broken heart, but also vindicate you.
Remember, Jesus loves His Church. That ought to be enough for us to love her as well.
 Ephesians 5:25b
 John 3:16
 John 3:3, 7
 Matthew 1:21, 18:11; Jn. 3:17
 Romans 10:13
 Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2