Church

I Am the Problem

We don’t need an expert to tell us that our world is screwed up; that should be apparent to all of us. It seems everyday there is a new report of corruption in the news. It’s way too easy to find a story of someone taking advantage of their neighbor or lying about their actions. The world is full of these accounts that all too often affect our own personal lives. It is clear how messed up our world truly is. But that doesn't surprise me.

We don’t need an expert to tell us that our world is screwed up; that should be apparent to all of us. It seems everyday there is a new report of corruption in the news. It’s way too easy to find a story of someone taking advantage of their neighbor or lying about their actions. The world is full of these accounts that all too often affect our own personal lives. It is clear how messed up our world truly is. But that doesn’t surprise me.

It doesn’t come as a shock to me when I see the world in such shape; I expect that. What shocks me, and pains me, is when I see the church like that.

Far too often the church looks and acts just like the world does. Far too often the church causes the same pain to people as the world does. Far too often the church lies and cheats, steals and takes advantage of. Far too often corruption is rampant in the church. Far too often the church holds signs with hateful sayings. And that deeply saddens me. Christ’s bride, the hope of the world, is doing the opposite of what was ever intended.

Before you get angry and stop reading because I’m bashing the church please hear me out. I’m not trying to bash the church. I deeply love the church. I’m simply trying to point out a problem I believe, at least in part, we can all fix.

It’s sad to hear stories of people that have been hurt by the church. Yet those are stories I am now accustom to hearing. People have been hurt by the church in horrible ways, and they have been rejected when they needed to be loved. They were kicked out the door when they needed someone to listen to them. Some of these churches have done things so shameful to the name of Christ it’s hard to even watch. They have proclaimed the end of the world, so people will empty their bank accounts for them. Some use the church for power and money, not caring about the congregation but only their own status. People are using people in the name of the church, what is happening?

These might be the extreme cases of what’s happening in the church, but I think there are elements of this in every church. That saddens be, angers me, and makes me wonder why?

Maybe it’s the faults of the few “really” screwed up churches, but there are still elements in every church. Maybe it could even be the fault of the world; they’ve influenced us and added their corruption to our church. But that answer forgets how we are supposed to be different from this world.

So what is wrong with the church?

I think G.K. Chesterton got the answer right. A newspaper years back ran an article asking the readers to write in with what was wrong in the world. This is what he wrote:

Dear sirs, 

I am. 

Sincerely,

G.K. Chesterton

He gets what we have such a hard time grasping. The problem isn’t what someone else is doing; the problem is us. I am the problem. We are all screwed up, as perfect as we like to think we are, we just are not. The church is screwed up because I am in it and because you are in it. The church looks the way it does because it is filled with broken people, sinful people, me. When trying to figure out the problems in the church we need only to look at ourselves.

Once we grasp the fact that we are the problem, that we are the ones that need help, I think we then understand the message of Jesus. Jesus did not come to fix the screwed up “other” people, he came to fix me. He came to fix you. When we understand that we are the problem we can seek a solution— the cross. This is where the church becomes beautiful, full of problem people being made new in Jesus. We might all be the problems, but none of us have problems too big for Jesus to fix.

The problem of the church is also the beauty of the church. When we all recognize our faults and realize Jesus is our only hope, the gathering of the church becomes beautiful. We no longer beat each other down with our words, but rather pull each other up. The church that sees their brokenness in themselves and the hope they have in Christ becomes a powerful force. Look at how Paul phrases it in his letter to the Romans:

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:3-8

So what’s wrong with the church today? I am. You are. Sure, we can keep pointing the finger at others who have done so much worse then we have, but that’s just side stepping the real problem. Instead, let’s step up and accept responsibility for what we have done; we have screwed up the church. We might not be able to fix the problems of everyone else, but we can fix the problem of ourself. G.K. Chesterton understood this, not pointing the finger at anyone but humbly accepting responsibility for his actions. We are all part of the problem, but that’s who Jesus came for; those who know they are the problem and need a solution.

I am the problem of the church, but I know where to find the solution.

20 comments on “I Am the Problem

  1. ….”they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of God’s grace, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
    Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch . So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taugth great numbers of people,” Acts 22-26
    I like what you wrote. May you be a great encourager like Barnabas and persevere and endure like Paul. We love you and pray for you. Grammie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen! P.S. You can never go wrong quoting Chesterton!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: I Am the Problem | Finding Grace

  4. Reblogged this on Choose To Hope and commented:
    This sums up so much in 4 words: I am the problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Exactly!! Great post. ~Rikki

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When the Lord starts fixing you, don’t expect the rest of us to appreciate it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. soulspeak2013

    Empowering truth..well written….💚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post Curtis. I am the problem is so very true,and when you add us all up together then WE are the problem. What’s the biggest problem in the church today? Easy….it’s the church. It’s you and it’s me. So if we know what the problem is,why aren’t we fixing the problem?
    Gets a little tougher to do that because in order for the problem to be corrected we have to accept that fact that we cannot fix it. We cannot fix ourselves any more than we can save ourselves. We need a Savior to do the work of fixing us.
    That requires a humble heart and an honest assessment of ourselves,and yes a willingness to acknowledge that even though I’m His child I’m a long way from perfect.
    In short,our best efforts to be the best Christian we can be are never enough,for without Him,we can do nothing in and of ourselves. The church today is nearly indisguishable from the world only because WE are nearly indisguishable from the world. And there’s only one way to fix that:
    More of Him and less of me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right! It gets messy really quick when God starts doing work in our lives. Often we avoid it and don’t do anything. But when we start letting Christ do work in our lives we start allowing the problem to be fixed.

      Thanks for reading and adding to the conversation!

      Like

  9. You hit the nail on the head with this article. Unfortunately, most people want to skip over the “me” problem and refuse to seek the solutions. Instead the focus is on numbers and popularity. Sometimes when I consider the state of the church, I am reminded of a night club on a Friday night: there’s a large number of people there for varying purposes, and all of the “popular people” hang out in tight circles. Unfortunately, as you already stated, the world has influenced the church instead of the other way around. Because I know Who the Head of the church is, I still believe the remnant that is left will continue to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As someone who has been a Christian since the age of seven, I have had my fair share of knowing that I am part of the problem within Christianity. I remember in 1995 when dc Talk released Jesus Freak and Brennan Manning had a sound bit for the song, “What if I Stumble?” I believe the quote was taken from his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, which read as, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Manning was a little extreme, but so was Chesterton. The fact that Christians did not act like Christians used to bother me to the core. Now, I accept the fact that one cannot look at a religion based on the followers; one must look at the Savior. It takes a perfect being, Christ, to pull imperfect beings, us, out of the mire every moment of every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Church Needs to Change – Rethink

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