“I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting, ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’” Revelation 19:6-8 NIV
I regularly encounter criticisms of the Church. Not condemnation of a particular church, but disparagement of the Church, the universal body of Christ.
The disapproval tends to be voiced by individuals isolated from the larger body of professing Christians who view themselves as more sensitive, more obedient, and more pleasing to Jesus than the balance of the Church. In their arrogance and pride they denigrate the bride of Jesus. In doing so they mock and dismiss His love for her.
Every bride has her blemishes. Although adorned in white, with hair professionally styled and make-up carefully applied, she will always be less than perfect. However, any imperfection is dismissed by the groom who sees her as precious and perfect.
Every local congregation of Christians falls woefully short of perfection. Every church leader is an imperfect individual guilty of daily mistakes and missteps. However, the people of that congregation, the very essence of the Church, are precious and perfect in the eyes and heart of her Groom.
Resist the temptation to criticize.
Refrain from isolating the easily identified imperfections.
Remember that you are criticizing the bride of Jesus. The one for whom He lovingly gave his life.
Jesus loves His bride. Jesus loves you, me, and our brothers and sisters around the world.