Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Take My Wife

This is a bit of a follow on from my previous post - looking at how we react to, treat and view people who don't believe in Jesus, and how they view us because of that. A friend sent me this email a while ago, but I just happened to stumble across it again this morning while I was looking for something else. I was amazed at how it spoke on some of the stuff I'm thinking about at the moment... so thought I'd post it up here too.

It's an article written by John Fischer, Sernior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals.

"Take My Wife?"
by John Fischer
I heard a joke the other day referring to the church as the Bride ofChrist: "I like Jesus, it's just his wife I can't stand."
We laugh along with this, but at the same time, it is painful because we know, to a certain extent, it is true. Many people use their bad impression of Christians as the main reason why they don't want to become one, and unfortunately we have given this bad impression some legitimacy. I believe if our fellowship was as it should be, we could at least eliminate one popular excuse people have for not accepting Christ.
Fellowship is not a club, or a special interest group, or a lobbying effort, or a neighborhood crime watch. Essentially, fellowship is a bunch of sinners who can't believe they got saved enjoying together the fruits of God's amazing grace. As Robert Capon has defined it, the church is "a community of astonished hearts." I can't help but think that if our fellowship were more like this, more people would want to join up.
For one thing, they would feel welcome. The emphasis would not be on the sin that keeps them out, but the forgiveness that welcomes them in.
They would feel acceptance and worth, much like a person feels at an A.A. meeting when they discover they are not alone in their struggle. And finally, they would not feel judged, which is one of the biggest reasons why people stay away from church. It makes them feel guilty being around all those good people. Well if that's the case, I don't think those "good people" are telling the whole story about themselves. Essential fellowship means telling the truth all the time.
In my experience, one of the most exasperating reasons people give for not wanting to become a Christian is the fact that they are not good enough. Think about that ? not good enough for a gospel that welcomes sinners (the worse they are, the better). Something isn't adding up here.
Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples by our love for each other, not by our being holier than everyone else. And that love is a love that takes into account the worst about us. Look at the disciples: such a ragtag group of ruffians, crooks and fishermen. And they all managed to love each other. Is this a mutual admiration society? No, it's more like a "pinch-me-this-can't-be-true" bride reveling in the love of her groom and wondering why he would ever pick her.
Isn't that the way it should be for His bride?

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