Is the Church Only a Stage for Happiness?

Psalm 55: 12-14 – Now it is not an enemy who insults me—
otherwise I could bear it; it is not a foe who rises up against me—otherwise I could hide from him.  But it is you, a man who is my peer, my companion and good friend! We used to have close fellowship; we walked with the crowd into the house of God. (HCSB)

Matthew 7:1-3 – “Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? (HCSB)

stage of happinessMy friends and I are sipping coffee and talking about this and that, life in general, and the burdens of our hearts.  We are all wives and moms, so “the burdens of our hearts” is actually just a phrase that means “our families”.  As I’m listening to my friends talk, I hear statements like “I don’t want anyone in our church family to know about this” or “I don’t talk about this in our Sunday School class”.  As they share, I hear voices and see faces from the past expressing the same concerns.  Lord, I am so sad!  When did the body of Christ start pounding with a gavel of judgment rather than protecting with the grace of Jesus?  When did the church stop being a sanctuary for the hurting and become only a stage for the happy?  When did abandonment and maliciousness replace allegiance and mercy?  When did the people who should be our protectors become our prosecutors?  Lord, I see in Psalm 55:12-14 that David had these same experiences.  It was his close friend and fellow church member who was attacking him.  We call ourselves “the body of Christ”, and we know that as with our human bodies, if one part hurts it affects the entire body. 1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that is also true of the church body.  Matthew 7:3 asks us how we can see someone else’s sin so clearly but not see that we too have sin.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to build each other up with encouragement. Romans 3:23 says that none of us is without sin, and both Jesus (Matthew 7) and Paul (Romans 2) tell us that we have no right to judge.  We give testimony of grace. We ask for grace. We expect grace.  How can we then not extend grace?

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