I believe that the Christian church is full of self-centered, unauthentic, hypocrites. I believe this because I am a part of this. I was raised in it, baptized in it, ran away from it, and returned to it time and time again.
I also believe that pride is humanity’s greatest enemy. The more faults I find during different epochs of history and within the different branches of this diverse body called the church, the more I become aware of my own faults. The more I think I have life figured out, the more I realize how far from this I actually am. The more I learn and grow in my faith, the more I struggle with this very pride I abhor.
I believe that true, enduring hope cannot be found in an organization or in oneself. Rather, it is found in the person of Christ. And it’s this church, with all of its errors and imperfections that is God’s chosen conduit of representing Christ to the world. Although it is an unsatisfactory representation, it is the one that I believe he chose before the beginning of time.
I believe that because of the church’s misrepresentation of the very faith it proclaims, a large part of the world, un-churched and churched alike, has an incorrect view of what biblical Christianity is. I believe that to be a Christian is to accept my own sinfulness and embrace Christ’s perfection. It’s surrendering my will to his, submitting all that I am to all that he is. It’s real, it’s true, and it’s eternal. The Christ that I serve calls the rich and poor, un-educated and scholarly, drunk and sober, healthy and sick, and everyone in between to repent and believe in him. The faith I have in him is rooted and grounded in his never-ending love for me.
I believe that as I continue to witness the myriads of problems within the church, there is hope. There are people all over the world who truly and whole-heartedly love and serve the God I know and trust. I have seen and experienced feeding of the poor, providing shelter to the homeless, counseling the addict, visiting widows, and caring for the elderly. There have been faithful examples of mentors, ministers, friends and strangers in my life who haven’t just espoused their beliefs, but have truly been Christ to the world and to me.
I believe that because of the authentic examples of those who have lived out their faith in my life and throughout history, with Christ’s help, I am able to do the same. Pride, selfishness, lying, adultery, stealing, addiction, murder – whatever the sin may be, I believe that even when man refuses to forgive, Christ freely offers forgiveness to all. I believe that I’m called to love, embrace, and commit to this church – that I am a part of it, and it’s a part of me. And I believe that to be a Christian is to know, understand, and practice what it means to be forgiven.
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