Church Without Love Is a Skirmish

 This is how the people feel after their church splits.

This is how the people feel after their church splits.

When your church looks and feels like a corporation, the local PTA, or a fraternity, it’s destined to breed skirmishes that morph into holy wars.

Why? Because most of us only know a world that makes us live as if our worth as humans beings depends on the way others react to us. The result is that we’ll sell our souls to gain affirmation. People around us–friends and enemies–decide who we are. We’ve become the slaves of their positive or negative opinions.

This is a house of cards community. Only knowing coercive love, we posture, exaggerate, manipulate, and compete. As long as we’re getting our way or receiving attention, the euphoria of “I’ve finally found what I want” leaves us vulnerable to bitter disappointment.

And then, church becomes one more front in the hopeless battle to soothe our anxiety-ridden desire for love.

That’s when it turns ugly. I believe that many of our churches and especially our church leadership teams are packed with people who never learned how to express our need to be loved except by violently attacking those who don’t meet that need.

What’s the long-term solution? What builds a better community? How do you build redemptive relationships instead of merely seeking those who measure down to your definition of love?

It occurs to me that Jesus already told us. When we trust His unconditional love for us and live in the security of being God’s cherished children, we are free to love others.

Even our enemies.

“Love one another,” said Jesus.

And the good news is that when we were made new by His love we were given the capacity to love in His name.

True community happens when we know that we are loved unconditionally, and we no longer live with our head on a swivel, desperately seeking to be admired by others.

Jesus told us that true love, the love that comes from His Father, doesn’t distinguish between friends and enemies.

Ed Underwood