Thursday, March 3, 2011

Church People

A friend recently made this statement to me:

Church people are just people.

I've been chewing on that sentence for several weeks. I, like so many others, have expected folks in the church to be nothing less than perfect, and at one time, myself included. Just because people go to church and claim the name of Jesus, we have somehow come to expect them to be always kind, considerate, forgiving, full of grace. But the truth is, they're just people. And people sin.

Yes, as Christians we have the fruit of the Spirit and are to be set apart. But that doesn't mean we won't succumb to fleshly desires, i.e., sin. Sometimes the desires manifest themselves as jealousy, unforgiveness, gossip, unkind words and actions, among countless others, including the "big" sins.

I've been on both sides of the coin. I've been the one to claim the name of Jesus all while suffocating myself and those around me with my sin. I've been the one who is afraid to walk into church for fear of condemnation. But the truth is, I'm a redeemed child of God who must ask daily for repentance of sins, "big" and "small." I'm far from perfect, as are all church people. Still, we try because we know what's expected of us. So when one of us fails, we often use the smear campaign or the sweep-it-under-the-rug tactic, often validating the stereotype of church people.

But, please understand...we're just people.

And, no, I'm not excusing sin. I'm simply saying that I've put church people on a pedestal, expecting them (and sometimes myself) to live up to a standard that only Jesus fulfilled. Truth be told, you probably do it too.

If we're looking to church people for validation, grace, forgiveness, even kindness, we may never find what we're seeking. Only One can do that: Jesus. Maybe church people wouldn't feel the pressure to act perfect (even though they/we know it's impossible), if we didn't expect them to be perfect and fill all our needs.


  1. Oh so true... we are just people searching and seeking and looking in the same direction for hope and healing. Good post.

  2. Very true!!

    I'll only add that we often think someone has is giving an un-Christ-like example because we don't understand what the expectation should be. I've often seen gracious truth rejected out of hand because one doesn't want to see a reflection of themselves or trust in the love shown. We pretend that someone has fallen and use defense mechanisms to berate the one who is showing Christ because we don't like needing to line ourselves up with Him or be vulnerable to acknowledge our need.

    But no matter whether we fall in the category of putting people on a pedestal while looking for Christ in others or knocking people down who are showing Christ, we are all people in need of ingesting more grace and more truth and in need of giving more grace and truth.