This last week I was able to hear a very interesting testimony from someone that many Christians might have turned away. In fact, a group of them had already. I got to hear the story of a young man that was raised in a very strong Christian household. This young man was a strong believer in the church and was even a leader in the youth group. Yet he had a secret one that was just bursting to share, though he know that once he did, the church would turn away from him. He even though that his own mother may even turn away from him, and that is what they did, This young men ended up coming out as gay. The moment he came out the church treated him with great shame, say he most get right with God in order to be fixed.
Though this is all hard to hear, what was hardest to me was what he said at the end. The young men told the people listening that they need to go find their own unconditional love, because it wasn’t going to be in the church. For a pastor that was hard to hear, yet stories like this happen everyday. People feel this way everyday. That the Church, a place meant to be the symbol of unconditional love, is rather one of hatred and judgement. yet this is not what we are meant to be. As Christians, it is our job to go out and see the bad in the Church, in order that we might be able to find away to change it. We may never be able to fix everything that is wrong in the Church, but we are able to fix it within ourselves and within our own church. We only need to not only look without, but also look within. So that we can grow to be more Christlike.
I once had a professor tell me something that will stick with me forever. That is, that our calling will be right were our greatest desires and the greatest need meet. Yet, we as Christians have gotten really bad at trying to find where the greatest need may be, even when the people around us are just screaming. They are telling us what they need. For some in may be food or clothing, others it would be to be loved and welcomed unconditionally. Yet in order to figure out what the greatest need around us may be, we only have to ask ourselves two questions. Are we truly listening to God and the world around us? And what are we going to do about it?
~ Pastor Jillian