This is part four of a four-part series on how the gospel affects relationships. Click on the links at the end of the post to access the three earlier parts of this series.
What comes to mind when you think of a safe place? Home, work, school, etc.
What about church? For many, church is not safe place. Why? Because people feel the need to hide who they really are or how they are feeling and because of the judgment that often occurs in churches.
I am praying that my church specifically and your church would become a safe place to our communities. There are lots of churches in your community, but many people are not stepping foot inside of church because they are not safe.
How does the gospel affect relationships in the church and create a safe place?
Listen to these words from Proverbs:
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe (Proverbs 18:10).
Here are three ways that the gospel creates safe places in our churches:
- We realize that our righteousness is found in Christ alone. It is not found in our works or how good we are. No one is righteous (Romans 3:10). Therefore, we have no judgment for the person who does measure up spiritually or morally because we don’t either. We are all a mess, but Jesus loves us.
- The standard of holiness set by God is perfection not progress.Read Psalm 24:3-6. What is the answer to the question in Psalm 24? You or I cleaning ourselves up and working hard to make ourselves pure? No, the One who has clean hands and is pure is Jesus. We look to Christ to make us holy. Rather than point people to our purity and goodness instead let us point each other to Christ the One who is holy and pure for us in our place.
- We all hide and need to stop. Since Adam and Eve, we hide from God and others when we sin. For the church to become a safe place, we need to stop hiding. Instead of putting on a fake smile and saying “I’m fine” at church, when church is safe, we can admit our struggles, failures, and doubts.
I look forward to the day when in our churches we are asked “Is the church a safe place for me?” we can honestly and enthusiastically say, “Yes!” This change will come as we let the Holy Spirit powerfully work in us and we get our eyes up on Christ and off of ourselves.
By J.L. Martin
Husband to Bethany
Dad of 1 boy, 3 girls
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Pastor of Children and Family at Hesston MB Church