OK now that I have your attention, I have a question: Why are we drawn so strongly toward the negative? The internet is littered with negative titles: “Four Things Christian Parents Are Doing Wrong!” the title screams, “Six Things the Church Should Get Rid of Immediately” another yells.
These articles appear to be written by well-meaning people, believers in Christ, no doubt. But it seems so hard to avoid negativity. Is the church perfect? Are Christians sinless? You know the answer to that. Is the church so sacrosanct that it should never be examined and critiqued? Of course not, though it seems to me that this need (for the church to be critiqued) is pretty soundly fulfilled. The Pacific Ocean has plenty of drops of water, and the church has plenty of critics.
The optimist, someone has said, is one who counts his blessings; the pessimist is one who discounts his. So my question is this: Should Christians be optimists or pessimists? When it comes to the church, is there good reason for optimism? Why is it that Christians seem to absorb the sunshine and radiate gloom?
Last time I checked, we have a Lord from whom neither “death nor life, nor angels nor rulers nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38,39, ESV). Last time I checked, our Lord promised to build a church so strong, so enduring that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The church is built on a rock.
I have a challenge: Please someone out there write an article entitled, “Seven Things that Are Right with the Church of Christ,” or a sermon entitled “Five Ways Christian Parents Have Got It Right.” Believe me, you will have to write a few articles before the positive equals the legion of negative. Christians believe in a mighty God, read an eternally true word, and serve among the best people on earth.
Can we improve? Of course we can. But, especially when we post things for the whole galaxy to see, we might be a little more reflective. And by being more thoughtful, we might avoid discouraging some good people.
Had you noticed that the apostle Paul unfailingly gave thanks to God for his brethren? (Romans 1:8; 1 Corinthians 1:4; Philippians 1:3; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2).
In a word, our confidence in the church lies not in our talents or perfection, but in a gracious and good God who loves us. There’s a great deal right about that!