Standing by my wife with my arm around her enjoying the moment as we walked and talked together, a man came up to my wife and began to point out all of her imperfections. He kept speaking of how this was wrong with her and that was wrong with her and he would not stop, needless to say I began to get very angry. As the man talked it was an amazing amount of needless and heartless comments about the one that I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with, who does he think he is! I am the one that fell in love with my wife, I am the one who is ok with her humanity and I definitely do not need an outsider making fun of her and picking her appearance apart!!! As he continued his verbal criticism I reached a point of anger I had not felt before and I was about to act..............when I sensed Jesus was showing me something priceless......
You see the picture I just described to you was not something that physically took place to me but something God allowed me to experience in my mind's eye that brought a TON of clarity to my life...
Ephesians 5:25-27 the imagery and symbolism of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers known as the church. These are those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal savior.
You see, we have all had those times where we have been burnt out with church to the point that we are negative and critical in all aspects. I have heard some brutal things said about the church. I have even experienced this at several points during my life, where I did not want to have anything to do with church and I was that man spewing relentless words of criticism because I had had enough with the faults of others!! ......but are you beginning to see the problem?
Remember the picture I had of the man that walked up to me and my wife? God, through His love and precious Holy Spirit was gently reminding me of the perspective I needed to have on the church, His bride. Remember, God knows the imperfections of His bride to be. But He (Jesus) is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the author of everything we: see, taste, touch, or smell. And I do not think most of us would be brave enough to merely go up to an average married couple and begin reaming that man's wife for her imperfections, you and I both know it would end up with that husband coming to the defense of his wife in a very aggressive way. Do we think now that it is a good idea to do it with the bride of Jesus Christ, the Creator of ALL things?
I would say the next time we become impatient and fixated on the problems of the church we remember she is the bride of Jesus Christ and if He has loved her and continues to love her and draw her that we probably should show a bit more grace and mercy towards her....after all, if you have received Christ you are a part of the church, His bride and the good news is His love for you is covering all of your imperfections.
Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness in regards to our process of becoming like you, I love you.....Joel Brown