What is wrong with the Church today? Why are people so apprehensive to deal with Christians? Why have Christians not gathered the crowds that Christ had? The truth is that these questions would be hard to answer in a whole library of books and articles, but I can speak to one aspect of them. In fact, I am convinced that it is the primary aspect.
What is this aspect? It is the insistence that we are kings among men. To be sure we do not require people to call us “your highness”, but so often we demand that we be acknowledged. We demand the world to see our worth, and heed our rights. We have become rights oriented. Paul exhorts Christians by asking “why not rather be wronged” (1 Corinthians 6:7). It is true that he is specifically speaking to Christians taking lawsuits against other believers to non-believers, but I believe in the context of the whole of chapter 6 we can legitimately ask “why not rather be wronged” or “why not rather be slighted” or maybe we could ask “why not rather suffer insult”? However the truth is we are all to ready with explanations as to why not. “Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves'” (Luke 22:25-26). However, it seems we would rather “lord it over” others than the possibility of having it lorded over us.
We go to church and sing about bowing down to Jesus, and putting our crowns at His feet, yet we turn around and take them back, and stand tall to go back into the world. We have this mistaken concept that we need only “be good” at church. Somehow we have arrested God and shackled Him to our pews. We must begin to realize the falsity in living this way. God is by our side in every moment, and we are to represent Him in all we do. Jesus Christ is not our Lord at Church and our Savior while we are in the world. Jesus is both Lord and Savior at every moment in and after we bow to Him.
This is the main reason that the Church is having such problems. We are seen as trying to be kings among men. Christ has called us to be servants, not kings. We are to follow in His footsteps. So what did Jesus do? Jesus served. Jesus brought hope to those that needed hope. Jesus defended the oppressed. Jesus showed how to love, and how to challenge or fight back. Jesus was hailed as king because He served. Jesus put others rights above His own.
This means that the only way we can represent Christ rightly is to see others as above ourselves. We must be willing to ignore the wrong done to us in order to focus on showing love and mercy to others. We must learn to look beyond our hurt, and to see the Imago Dei within all people. This means to follow Christ, we MUST die to ourselves, we must die to our selfishness. We must find our importance in Christ alone, and rest assured that even when we are disrespected, and our rights are trampled, Christ looks on us with adoration. In these moments He is proud of His Bride. We must put down our crowns at the feet of Christ and leave them there. We must pick up our role as servant, and show the world that Christ came to serve man as the way, the truth and the life. Christ came with an offer, not a demand. Why should we do anything different as His people?
Until next time, may God cause us all to think deeply about our faith and the world we live in, may He cause us to be consumed with Him so much that we become like lanterns glowing with the light of Christ.