Someone once said, “The church would be a great place if it weren’t for all the people.”
Do you ever think that?
When an acquaintance invites you to attend church, you probably expect a warm welcome. Smiles and handshakes are shared. Hugs are given if you are open to such a greeting.
But how long does that warm feeling last? For some, it lasts a lifetime. For others, it wears off faster, and that moment causes great disappointment.
Often, the feeling wears off when Christians' faults show through. You see, many people mistakenly assume Christians are perfect, and they become bewildered when that illusion is shattered. Hope is sometimes lost by thinking, “If that person isn’t without faults, there is no hope for me.”
I was once asked, “If you could change something about most churches around the country, what would it be?” Near the top of the list was the desire to have each church become the safest place.
I am referring to the kind of safety that comes with being accepted as a child of God without fear of being mistreated, or talked about poorly, or judged. The safest place on Earth allows people to raise doubts and questions and be aided in finding answers. Differing opinions are welcomed and understood to be growing points. Each person knows it is OK to agree to disagree and still remain together.
The safest place on Earth is a haven amid absolute insanities plaguing our society, so all could become strengthened emotionally and spiritually for the constant onslaught.
Is this a pipe dream?
I don’t believe so. By removing our pride and ego from the center of our lives and replacing it with Jesus Christ's teachings and healings, it can happen. It will happen.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.