Monday, September 19, 2016

A Hospice for Sinners

I was talking to a friend about what a church is supposed to be and he threw out the line that many of us in the church have heard, “The church isn’t a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.”

I understand that statement and mostly agree, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about something that came rolling out of my mouth that I did not expect. It was it was sad that Too many churches have gone from being a hospital for sinners to a hospice who give pain medication but doesn’t treat the sin in their lives.

The comment so struck me that I wrote it down. 

My friend commented, “That will be tweeted out later today.” 

It wasn’t I thought about it for a few days before I tweeted and made a few adjustments until I tweeted out: 

Too many churches have gone from being a hospital for sinners to a hospice that only medicates a sinner's guilt.” 

There are a lot of people out there who will criticize ministers who seem only to preach good news and positive messages but these messages are important for us as believers. The problem arises when the culture of a church goes from helping people find Christ and begin living a transformed life to a church where sin is downplayed and transformation is actually discouraged. 

There are churches who celebrate people staying in the same state as they have always been in. There is no call for a deeper walk or for becoming more like Christ. Most people will immediately think of the churches that no longer believe in sin and accept anyone as a Christian no matter their lifestyle. However, there are churches that preach against sin, or perhaps I should say certain sins, and ignore the ones going on in their midst. The inner city church that decries the wealth and indulgence of the suburb, yet ignores the sins that are trapping people in poverty. The church in the country that cries out against lazy people on welfare but tolerates gossip and selfish power plays.

These churches claim they are helping the sinners, but in truth, they are giving the people in the church the wrong medication. Their lack of looking inward causes them to feel healthy when they are actually dying. 

So what do you do?

As a pastor, my job is to allow the Spirit of God to reveal the needs of my congregation and preach to those concerns. No, not every message is or should be a chance to knock the people in line, but they should be relevant to where they live. The messages should not be directed at Washington, other churches, or the political parties. They need to be true to the people where they live.

If you're in church leadership, talk to your pastor or preaching staff and ask them. Why they preach the way they do.

If your just a member then pray. Don’t wait for the preacher to point out what you need to be dealing with in your life, ask God he knows exactly what is wrong in your life. You can also pray for your leadership. 

Finally, this post may seem to be pointing out at other people and in some way it is but it is also a reminder to me and to my church to help those who are in need where we are, don’t medicate the conscious of a sinner. Bring them to the place where God can transform them.  

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