Recently one of the pastors at our church, Mat Cotton, gave a message on love. He titled it “A With and For Kind of Love”. Towards the end of his message he raised the question “What if?” Using Caitlyn Jenner as an example he asked, “What if the church was a place for Caitlyn [Jenner] to sit in? What if the church was a safe place for Caitlin [Jenner] to sit in and find identity?”
As soon as I heard this question I was quickly angered. I was angered at myself, and I was angered at the Body of Christ as a whole for not doing it’s job. And the more I pondered the question the more angry and frustrated I grew; almost to the point of tears! “Why is this even a question?!” I asked my self.
And so I pose such a question to you. Why is the idea of the church being a safe haven for the broken, weak, and lost such an abstract idea? Dear readers this should not be.
Matt Chandler, pastor of the village church says it best in the first part of his series entitled “A Beautiful Design” He states, “If the church must be anything, she must be a safe place for the gender confused and sexually broken, and if she is not safe for that, than we do not believe our own message. We are all broken, all in need of salvation, all in need of grace, and to take a particular struggle and to put it outside of the bounds reveals we don’t quite understand what it is that we believe, and we will take other people’s sin more serious than our own sin.”
The underlying problem with the present church is that we take other people’s sins more seriously than our own. This should not be! No one person is more sinful than the next. When we take others sins more seriously than our own we fail to properly love the sinner, and we fail in bringing correction to them because we do not have love. 1 John 4:20 says, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” It is literally impossible for us to not love others (turning them away) and love God simultaneously.
Zach Howard, youth pastor at The Gate Church of The High Desert, explained in one of his messages that we have it backwards by expecting people to change before we can love them, when in reality we should love them in order to bring about change. Pastor Mat states the same in his message. Once we walk withsomeone, and when that someone knows we are for them, their lives will dramatically change.
Church, it is time for us to stop asking the great question “What if?”… The Church as a safe haven for the broken should no longer be just an idea, it must be reality.