If anyone in the world should be excited, it’s Christians.
Does that sentence surprise you? Maybe it should. If all we’re going on is past experience, then that sentence makes no sense at all.
When people think of Christians, the words “excited”, “joyful”, or “optimistic” don’t really come to mind.
The normal stereotype of Christians is the worried church-lady or the doom-and-gloom preacher. We think of those who are nervous about the course of world events, troubled by the path of their country, or grieving over the way a particular sin is gripping their culture.
In general, I find that part of me agrees with those people. I’m prone to worry. Deep down, I think we all are. It’s easy to find the things in life that don’t satisfy us. We’re all like judges on a food network show who feel like we’re not doing our job well if we can’t find something wrong in whatever sits before us.
Christians, in particular, are good at doing this with churches. It’s very easy to find things we don’t like. Rather than seeing a thousand things that go right in a church service, we notice the one wrong chord, we remember the minor moment of feedback from the worship leader’s microphone, we cling to the one sentence the pastor said that we didn’t fully disagree with but it hit us in a weird way.
There’s a part of me that has wanted to recoil from church culture recently. It’s not a part of me that I want to indulge, but it is there. Jesus loves the church and I should too. And yet, sometimes the idea of pulling away from the church’s culture is so appealing.
The more I think about the things that make me want to recoil from churches or what’s perceived as “the Christian opinion”, I realize it has little to nothing to do with doctrine, what the church is actually teaching. It’s not that I disagree with other Christians, the Bible, or historical orthodox Christianity. What it really comes down to is attitude.
Let’s just step back and take a big picture look at Christianity for a moment.
Part of what it means to believe in Jesus is to believe God is working out a powerful plan for the world.
God is leading, guiding, directing, and moving all things towards a conclusion. A conclusion he’s happy with.
That means all the wrongs we see will be righted. All the sin that seems to win today will lose someday. Everything that’s broken will one day be fixed. Every longing of the human heart will find its ultimate satisfaction.
And all of that will come when the God we get to know today comes back to make the Earth his forever home with us. The longer the story goes on, the more reasons for the hope we find in Christianity.
Isn’t it insane that Christians can mention how the world needs Jesus to come back and do it in a sour tone? Shouldn’t that be the thing that makes us more excited than anything? Yet so often, we’re more worried about the mess Jesus will need to clean up rather than celebrating that fact that he’s promised He will come to clean it up.
If there’s anything people need today, it’s hope. And if the church isn’t careful, through our bad attitudes, our complaints, and our worries about where the world is headed, we can accidentally show people we have no hope to offer.