“I don’t want you money or your honey,” is the proclamation that one of my favorite pastors says to members and visitors during the altar call. The point he is making is that men can feel safe with their families, specifically wives and daughters, and any financial contributions made to the church that is under this pastor’s leadership. But, why is such a proclamation even necessary in the church. The answer lies in another popular phrase that I first heard from a pulpit, “hurt people, hurt people.” I would say some of the deepest hurt that people carry, than recycle occurs in the church.
Let’s agree so the sake of avoiding a lengthy discussion that pastors and church leaders are more than capable of hurting people. We should also agree that their positions of authority carry a tremendous responsibility for branding or representing what the church should or should not be. Forget about, as we often do that the ‘church’ (lower case “c”) is really the body or entire congregation, and not the physical structure or the leadership. I mean the body of Jesus Christ is the church. Therefore, hurt in our churches can and will come from pastors and leaders, but will also come from the body as a whole.
How do we forgive an entire church, denomination, religious or doctrinal structure? How do we over look perversion or intentional misuse of power from the leadership? How do we get past the imbedded hierarchy that contradicts almost every principle that Jesus Christ taught? How do we over look denial or rejection or abandonment from a church that we have supported with tithes and offerings of all our talents? We begin the process through modeling the nails of grace and mercy and love that bound our pre-risen Savior to a cross.
Forgiveness is a serious matter. And for some of us, we have accrued large debts against the church, which come from all sorts of disappointment. However, now is the time of perpetual jubilee, where all debts are forgiven and all captives are set-free. After all, Jesus Christ paid our debts on the cross, so how can we now hold anyone else hostage for the debts they owe us? We must not be the lender that becomes slave to the debtor through holding grudges. We have the opportunity to for-give grace, mercy, and love. In the process, we can restore the church to a place where a family’s money and honey is never in question.
We look forward to continuing the conversation with you Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7pm CST on Coached 2 Love Radio – 347-237-4648.