Ghandi is credited to have said, “I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians so much - they are so unlike your Christ.” Much of our world agrees with this statement, and it has resonated with many who have been mistreated by a local church or church person.
We, however, cannot love Jesus while hating His body - the church is His body.
There are “false brothers” out there, and Paul even considered them dangerous (2 Cor. 11:26). False brothers among the church (The Bible calls them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” – Matthew 7:15) have been warned about since Jesus gave us His precious parables (Matthew 13:24-30)
There are young and weaker brothers out there who are bound to make mistakes that hurt others. Most of us have already done this; and if you haven’t, you will. We are all fighting the good fight, but sometimes, we let our guard down, and the enemy gets a shot in there that hurts not only us, but those that God has entrusted to us as His ambassadors. In anger, we have responded poorly to another person; in jealousy we have embittered another person; in frailty, we have crushed another person; and that person has an opinion of the entire church based on our failure.
Maybe some of us have been hurt like this, by the church. Maybe we are thinking the same thing as Ghandi spoke. Maybe we think we can follow Christ without loving the body of Christ; that we can hold on to this bitterness that we rightfully feel. But, what did Jesus say?
· “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
· “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom. 5:8“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20