This is a lovely notion. We all stumble and fall. We’re all broken in some way. We all need the community of others who love Jesus to share each other’s burdens.
It is great to have a group of people that love you despite your faults, despite your sin. A fellowship of people devoted to each other and to the lifelong journey of being more Christlike.
Sharing the life of Christ and growing spiritually is great. Admitting our faults and embracing others who are broken in different ways is a beautiful concept.
However, this doesn’t seem to be what is actually happening in the vast majority of congregations. Some sell this line of the Church being full of sinners so we’ll all fit right in. That sounds great on the surface, but then the hook.
In order to really follow Jesus, in order to really break free from your sin, in order to really fit in, you gotta do it our way. You must attend all of our services. You must tithe to keep our building open and build it bigger. You must agree with our rules and regulations. You must take active roles in our ministry and do it the way we tell you. You must actively tell others they are to be here, even if you have to use the threat of everlasting torment to convince them God loves them. You must support our political party and our agenda. If you don’t do all of these things then you aren’t really a Christian. You aren’t really saved by grace. If you are doing all these things and you’re not growing spiritually, well, then it’s your fault. You’re doing something wrong. You need to pray more and read the Bible. Oh, you have questions about the Bible? Then you’re being doubtful, divisive even. Just believe what we tell you and you’ll be okay….eventually. Just keep believing that even if you don’t feel spiritually free, you will be in the next life.
It always seems to start out great. A fellowship of broken humans trying to be more Christlike while helping each other out. Then, manipulation and obligation take over and people are guilt tripped into doing and provided more and more until they reach a point of numbness with a few emotional reactions once in a while, or they give up all together.
Is this really the abundant life of freedom and rest that Jesus promised? Are you really experiencing that relationship with him?
If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.—John 8:36
The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.—John 10:10
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28-30