By: Jon Morgan
This is the second in a series of four blog posts that our church’s elders and elder candidates are writing to remind us of the mission that we have been given by our Lord. They are intended to re-orient us to the things that God has called us to do as a church and as members of the body of Christ, spurring us on to celebrate, confront, clarify, and create. Keep your eye out for the rest of these posts throughout January and into February.
Confronting What is Wrong
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Paul succinctly lays out the mission of the Church in his second letter to the church at Corinth. The Church’s job is to be an ambassador and her role is to work for the reconciliation of sinners to God. It seems simple and straightforward. Yet, we live in a fallen world beset by sin and so to accomplish the task put before us in Scripture, the Church must confront what is wrong.
For us as Christians the past year has given us ample examples of this opportunity. In the last year, we have seen a global pandemic sicken and kill thousands. Not only that, but we have seen it disrupt how many of us make our living, spend our time, and even how we are able to worship. We have witnessed physical, mental, and emotional suffering wreak havoc on our neighbors, families, and ourselves. We have also witnessed our country convulsed by racial tension and strife.
The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd served as catalysts for protests throughout the summer. We saw the hurt, grief, and anger over racial discrimination pour out across the country throughout the summer, ripping cities and communities apart. Just last week we saw an angry mob violently storm the United States Capitol intent on enforcing their will on the government by force. We are constantly bombarded with the bleak news of high divorce rates, drug addictions, rampant pornography, homelessness, abortion, sexual discrimination, and economic disparity. The world is a dark and scary place and this is expressly why the Church must enter in and confront what is wrong.
How do we go about performing this work of reconciliation? Before we can get down to the work of removing the specks in eyes of the world around us, we must look in the mirror and address the logs in our own eyes. We, the Church, must be willing to listen and heed the words of our sisters and brothers when they take us aside and point out our cynicism, divisiveness, pride, apathy, gossiping, anger, or, God forbid, self sufficiency. We must be willing to perform eye surgery on ourselves and let those women and men who see us stumble with these sins operate on us as well. It is only when we can see our individual sin and turn from it in repentance that we can wade into a dark and troubled world and speak the truth of good news we have already received, not as perfect examples of Christian piety but as repentant sinners, reconciled to Christ.
When we remove the logs from our own eyes, we will not look at the brokenness around us and say, “Thank you God that I am not like these adulterers, drug addicts, and racists”. We will instead remember that, like the church at Corinth, we were washed, we were sanctified, we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
What steps then can we take as a church and Christians to confront what is wrong?
We ground our actions in Scripture - the Church must confront what is wrong, to remain silent would be a dereliction of our calling, but we also must remain true to the Word of God. 2 Timothy 4:2, Jude 3
We act in kindness and love - we confront sin and brokenness, but we do so as agents of reconciliation. Harshness and hardness have no place in our speech or actions. If the world will hate us and condemn us, let it be because of our message, not the manner we deliver it. Ephesians 4:15, 1 Corinthians 1:23
We do the work together - while we confront the wrongs we encounter as individuals, we also to the work as ambassadors of Christ, as the church of Christ - together, helping our sisters and our brothers press on as we labor. Galatians 6:1, Hebrews 10:25, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31