She is beautiful yet broken.
Precious, but often full of problems.
Awesome in so many ways, and yet still awkward at times.
She is often daring but sometimes defective.
Brave, but busted.
Mighty in her impact over the years, but messed up, nonetheless.
She is perfect (in her position), but still imperfect (in her practice).
Perhaps, you’ve figured out that I’m speaking about the Bride of Christ—also known as the Church.
She is special, loved, and of course—far from perfect—but priceless to God because Jesus died for her. His sacrifice is why the Church is so valuable to God.
I have been an active part of the Church for over sixty years, nearly forty of those as a pastor.
I grew up a PK (i.e., preacher’s kid). We belonged to Missionary churches, a Baptist church, a Pentecostal church, a non-denominational church, and at least one church that is hard to categorize.
I’ve started churches, been on staff at two mega-churches, and I’ve pastored churches as small as thirty and as large as thirteen hundred.
All of that to say, I haven’t just dated the Church, I’ve been extremely and profoundly a part of her for a long, long time.
So, I can say this with some authority—the Church is messed up in so many ways. Yes, she is the Bride and Body of Christ, but she is comprised of humans (soiled saints).
And the Church is, without question, the fellowship of the fractured.
In her book, Almost Everything, Anne Lamott says, “Almost everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, and yet designed for joy.” For the record, I don’t consider Anne an expert on the Church, but she is experienced when it comes to the human race. And she is right. We. Are. Broken.
In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a shock to Jesus. He knows that our flesh is weak.
I know that my flesh is weak.
But that is not the end of our story. As others have so eloquently said, “God puts a comma where we tend to put a period.”
In other words, failure is never fatal.
When you fail as a human, repent, and keep growing.
When you fail as a spouse, own it, and show yourself the same mercy and grace God does.
Maybe the last time you showed up for church or your small group, you looked around and said to yourself, “What a bunch of losers!” And you’re right. We are.
Screwed up. Broken. Clingy. Scared (that someone will see the raw and real us).
And yet we truly are designed for joy because God will never give up on you or me, and He finishes what He starts.
Perhaps our humanness becoming holiness is awesomeness, and we just haven’t figured that one out yet.
As Christ-followers, we are in process. Theologians call this sanctification. I call it becoming because we are becoming who we are, even though we stumble and flat out fail regularly.
It’s okay. You are okay. Just keep your heart tender. Keep moving forward. Keep repenting.
I love what Timothy Keller says, “Repentance is not just the way into salvation; it is the way of salvation.”
And always remember, God’s not mad at you, He’s mad about you.
Seriously. You are His delight.
How would your view of the Church—and your view of yourself, for that matter—change if you understood that Jesus enjoys His bride . . . and you?
No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Kurt Bubna