Unabashed Love: The Modern Church is Failing
It’s a broken world. We live in a broken, wretched and evil world. Just today, days after terror attacks in London, I read that a Word of Faith congregation assaulted and tortured a gay man in an attempt to ‘drive out his demons.’
Here in the relative safety of the United States, we are blessed and fortunate to exist peacefully. But we are a small minority. In contrast, the majority of the world lives in uncertainty and pain.
In light of this, I believe people of God should be leading the rest of the world to the rescue in a compassionate charge — through the lens of love, which doesn’t see lines. Sadly, that is not the case. Despite the crux of Christian faith – as exemplified by the death of Jesus, which is to love God and your neighbor – the modern church rejects those who express inner pain and tramples on anyone who shares a different viewpoint.
Let me unpack that: there is no room for doubt or disagreement within the church’s walls. For example, the LGBT community, which research shows and Mental Health America says is “associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide,” is entirely rejected. And that rejection inflicts lasting pain that often drives people away from organized religion altogether. I note this as one example of many; the church levels legalism at many different groups.
It needs to change
During my own faith walk, as a young man, I experience doubt and second-guess my faith often. At times, this doubt has made me hesitate even walking into a church building because of the reaction I might encounter from others. It’s well-founded because of past negative experiences, albeit a lot less confrontational and damaging than others have experienced I’m sure.
This is a terrible reality, and one that needs to change.
In contrast, the Christian church should be a light on a hill; reflecting the love of God indiscriminately and without prejudice.
Early 18th century author Marguerite Perote describes this type of love well in her book “The Mirror of Simple Souls”; a love that’s separate from reason, because it doesn’t need reason in the first place. She writes, “Now (love’s) greatest joy is to have freedom herself from the domain of reason and the other virtues.”
If the church truly followed Jesus’ example it would look a lot different. Jesus loved equally and completely. He did not see lines that starkly divide. Rather, his time was spent among social outcasts, the mentally wounded and the poor in spirit; those who needed God most. His love was not given after passing a test; instead, the only people Jesus cast judgement on were intensely religious.
The church’s mission should be to love with pure God-given love. And in that process, there should be a liberal amount of deep introspection. I wonder how impactful the Christian church could be in furthering love as displayed by Jesus if its congregation embraced Perote’s unabashed perspective.