When I was in Maryland listening to Nancy Burphy speak about her philosophies, I was able to relate to the third one through past experience and personal challenge. Her third philosophy states: “The problem with the body is the body.”
One of the reasons I love being involved with God of Hope is that it’s not a “church” or church organization. It is independent. God of Hope simply wants to encourage others to bring peace to people now, giving them a hope for the future that can only be found in Jesus.
We don’t need a church or a larger organization holding our hand because we recognize that we have the innate ability to know God ourselves. Through this personal knowledge and relationship, we are able to follow His will and do something.
As a person that grew up in church, this is incredibly renewing. Not that my upbringing or experience was a bad one—it was amazing. It helped shape me into who I am today. But what I realized is I have the ability to grow beyond that. This knowledge would prove incredibly important later in my life.
I was turned off by a church that I attended during college. Without going into details, situations arose and things happened that were the opposite of love. Instead priority was placed on self-preservation and the perception of others. It tore me apart, and aside from Christmas when I went home, I didn’t set foot in a church for nearly six months. I was bitter toward organized religion and those who held leadership roles within the church. But of course, God is bigger than that pain.
Why is it that the hardest people to forgive are those in the family of believers? Why does it hurt so deeply when we are wronged by another Christian, than when it is done by a non-believer, and especially when we are wronged in a church environment? Is it because we are more vulnerable, or feel safer in this setting?
These are all questions that I had to wrestle and come to peace with to move forward and trust other Christians at a deeper level again. I know I am not alone, I have heard similar stories from others.
This is why I get the idea that the Body of Christ can be the biggest problem with the Body of Christ and the mission we hold to share the stories of Jesus. I often wonder, “What if we take all the energy we use to criticize other Christians or to point out faults in those who don’t know Jesus, and instead used it to love others?” What would our churches look like? What would the perception of believers in Jesus look like then?
Can we come together and be our biggest asset instead of our own worst enemy? Can we all equip each other to love better?
Executive Coordinator – God of Hope