The Church Needs Forgiveness Too

By Joel A. Hess

I like to bitch. I like to complain. I like to point out faults in institutions and bureaucrats. I like to throw rocks at hierarchies and hierarchs. I like to make fun of the Church. Quite frankly, it’s easy as long as I don’t have to be the guy in charge, and it makes me feel like quite an avant-garde genius. Life’s great as long as I don’t have to be the guy in charge.

There have been better and worse organizational structures within the Church. There have been better and worse bureaucrats and leaders. But I’m tired of complaining about it. Unless the Church or bureaucracy is promoting unbiblical doctrine (and some do for sure), I’m tired of caring. It’s too weak and easy to stand on the sidelines and throw bricks. I’m bored of people picking low-hanging fruit.

Do I believe in a particular organizational structure besides a shepherd and his flock? Top-down, bottom-up, sideways, committees, policy-based, herr pastor—I don’t care. If you care, then do something about it, but stop whining about it. But don’t put your hope in establishing the perfect Christian organizational structure. And be ready for cocky little guys like me to throw rocks at you for fun. Don’t take it too seriously, though, because we truly need you.

Do I believe in the Church? Yes. Wherever a group of believers is gathered with the pure Word and Sacraments pouring out, there is the almighty and everlasting body of our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ! If you are hanging out with Jesus and it’s just you and Him, then it isn’t Jesus. Jesus is never alone. He always has people with Him. The one time he was alone he was paying the price for our sins.

Is that group of believers going to mirror the love of their Savior perfectly? Nope. Should it try? Yeah. Should it trust in their ability to mirror the love of their Savior perfectly? Nope. Should they try to be organized? Yeah. Does the local church need forgiveness? Oh yeah. Does the large church body need forgiveness? Mmhmm. Do our leaders and bureaucrats need patience and forgiveness? Yes ma’am. Do you want to do the job? No. Do you desperately need forgiveness for being a whiny rock throwing hyper critical little turd who have hurt people in the church yourself? Very much so!

The Church needs forgiveness too! Pastors need it. Bureaucrats need it. Church presidents need it. And we got it! For we are ultimately under the leadership of the only one in the universe who doesn’t need forgiveness: Jesus! And He is going to drag his rag tag bitchin’ and scream group of clumsy believers all the way to resurrection!

Finally, you will then have your cute little perfectly organized Church! Until then, start stacking rocks instead of throwing them. It’s God’s house.