I Love the Church (Even When We Disagree)

I spent the morning reading about love and wishing I were better at it.

I carried my open pocket Bible all over a crowded Chuck-E-Cheese, because Chuck-E-Cheese is a mindless place and my kids were actually behaving and so why not? I made notes in the margins with a pencil and then stashed the pencil under my left thumb while I used my right to shove a token into the ski ball slot.

I read that way because I’d started and couldn’t stop, because I’d been so confused and frustrated when I came to the text and now, two chapters into my favorite three chapters in John, I was convicted.

I sometimes feel a tension between loving the church and loving the lost. Maybe I’m not alone. I think it’s because sometimes I don’t love the way the church treats the lost.  

But here’s the deal: I want to love the church. I have to love the church. When you hear Jesus saying, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” it’s significant to note that He’s talking brotherly love, family love. Not love-the-sinner love.

Of course there’s tons of love-the-sinner passages in the Bible. But I think sometimes I give the sinner more love than I do my own people.  

Sometimes…

I am full of kindness and gentleness in speaking to the lost, but I’m abrupt when speaking to God’s children.

I believe the best about an outsider’s intentions but immediately question the motivations of my brothers.

I am patient and long-suffering with a Facebook friend who violently disagrees with my  beliefs all the while quickly dismissing the friend whose exact theology and methodology doesn’t mirror mine in one specific way. 

I feel bad (we’re talking physically sick) when we Christians have a public disagreement. But the thing is, I think sometimes we just need to have one. It’s like marriage—sometimes a good old fashion disagreement does a whole lot of good. But I always want to do it in love.

I saw that Facebook meme today, that one that says “I hate you” and “I disagree with you” are not the same thing. I was thinking, “I hope we remember that when we’re dealing with each other.”

I hope we can disagree in a way that shows our unity and our love for one another. Sometimes I’m not so good at it. I want to be better.