This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “place.”
We all need a place to belong, a place where we feel safe, a place where we can be ourselves and know that we are accepted just as we are.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if church could be one of those places?
I know for some people it is, but for too many people their experience is the opposite.
Church is a place where they feel judged or excluded, a place where they feel they are not good enough or that they don’t measure up, a place where they have to hide the broken, messy parts and present the best image of themselves.
We have to change this.
I love this quote from Lisa Harper that I found in a She Reads Truth devotional this week:
“Scripture doesn’t instruct us to smile on the outside while we die on the inside.”
Too often that’s what we do. Too often it’s what we feel we have to do to be accepted, and that’s not God’s desire for us.
“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”” (Mark 2:17 NLT)
Jesus calls us to come as we are. If the church is going to represent him, it has to do the same.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if, instead of being a place of hiding and fear of judgement, it could be known as a place of love and healing?
It’s something I have been thinking about and my church has been thinking about, and there are no easy answers, but maybe we can start small.
It could be looking out for someone who is new or sitting by themselves, taking time to talk and to listen, to encourage them and make them feel welcome.
It could be taking the risk to stop pretending ourselves – to be honest about how we really are instead of smiling and saying we’re fine when nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a risk, but someone has to go first, and maybe it’s a risk worth taking if it empowers someone else to do the same.
Maybe together we can make this a better place – a place of honesty and grace and acceptance – a place to belong.