I don’t understand people who claim to be Christians but who isolate themselves from the rest of the Body of Christ. They remind me of spoiled children who scream, “I hate you!” at their parents when they don’t get their way. Or rebellious teenagers who run away from home because they don’t like the rules imposed on them. I know, I know… they’ve been “hurt” in church. They’ve seen “too many Christians screw up.” They accuse “everyone” in the church of being a hypocrite. We’ve all heard the same excuses. Maybe you’ve even made those excuses. But your experience does not negate the Word of God. God is the one who established the church. Not only did He establish the Universal Church, but he set in place the Local Church for individuals to have as family. You know…we’re the Bride of Christ. It’s just like having the entire human race and then individual families within that race. We are designed for relationships, and not just relationships in general, but intimate relationships. You just can’t love God and not love the church that He loves.
People are imperfect; people make mistakes. Stuff happens. But when stuff happens, I am incredibly thankful for my “own people” to whom I can run. When I’m hurting, when I’m tired, when I’m confused or angry…I have a Body of Believers who are family to me. They are the first ones I want to call and share good news with and the ones I can count on when I need help. They have stood by me for years now… they’ve watched me grow. They have helped me grow. They’ve watched me screw up. They’ve cheered, laughed, cried, and challenged. They are my family.
I love God with all my heart, but what I know is that I will never know and experience the full expression of His love apart from His people. I also will never be able to fully express His love without being able to express it to and through my brothers and sisters in Christ first.
So, Gateway family… I love you. I wouldn’t be who I am today without your love and support. For all of you other readers out there… I can only hope you have found such a wonderful group of God’s people to call your “own.” If you haven’t…come visit sometime.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” ~Hebrews 10:25 NIV