Most often we reward hypocrisy in the church, but we punish repentance. This is truly a sinful and damning reality that has cost the church its ability to truly love hurting and broken people.
Within the church it has become less acceptable or reasonable to struggle with sin! In fact, it is such a problem that everyone who struggles with sin is condemned to a life of shame, guilt and lying to hide their struggles. We reinforce this unhealthy and damaging practice by celebrating the assumed and false absence of struggling with sin. We promote a place where being okay is expected, and not being okay is not okay. Even in the many churches who claim the opposite, when the messiness of sin appears, they go into action to fix, repair and even hide the mess! This is a sad reality of the church today, and has been for a very long time.
I can speak from experience. For many years I struggled with an addiction to pornography as a minister within the local church. The church should have been the place where I would find hope, healing and help. Instead, I had to live in fear, worry and shame that anyone would ever know that I had a struggle with sin. I know for fact that had I shared my struggle, I would have been fired and even publicly damned for my issues. This reality caused me to spend years hiding my sin, and not confronting it. The energy that I spent hiding my sin could have been used to help change lives, not protect my brokenness. This is a far too common occurrence in the church these days.
The outside world sees this very clearly. They watch every time the church condemns and “shoots their wounded”. Why would the world around us want to be part of a place where love looks like this? Why would they want to risk being shot for being real? Why do we think broken people believe the church can offer them hope when the people within the church have no freedom to be broken?
I never want the church to turn a blind eye to sin. I don’t want the church to abuse grace. Truly, we must recognize our sin for what it is...and be willing to confront it and love each other through it.
But Paul in his brokenness (Romans 7) shared and powerful truth.... “There is therefor now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:1)
If this is true, then why do we continue to condemn each other? It is time for the Church to make a change! Will you be part of that change????