I've been struggling for a while how to write this post. After my post a couple weeks ago on loving the church, I've felt like I had more to say but I haven't been sure how to write it. Loving the church is not always easy. And sometimes when we talk to people about why they love or don't love the church, they have some incredibly good reasons for their feelings.
The church is full of people, and sometimes people do things that hurt. That can make it hard to love the church sometimes. We don't generally choose to love people who hurt us - at least not if they have hurt us more than once. But, to love the church, we find ourselves in a place where we choose to love even when we've been hurt. That's not something that is easy to do.
So, what do we do? How do we love the church when the people that make up the church have hurt us? Is it even reasonable to expect that we would?
As hard as it can be, I do think we are called to love the church even when we have been hurt by the church. I don't mean we have to trust people who have hurt us or stay in the place where we have been hurt, but I think we need to love the church anyways. The church is the body of Christ on earth and we cannot choose to leave it behind. We need all parts working together and sometimes that means we make the choice to forgive and to keep moving forward together.
I know this is hard. I've lived it. I've had to choose to keep loving the church, even when I've been hurt by the church.* It's not something we can do on our own. It's something we can only do through the Holy Spirit in us. And it's something we need to do.
So, my conclusion is that, yes, it is reasonable to expect that we would love the church even when we've been hurt by it.
*Note to those wondering: I have chosen not to provide any detail regarding my own experience with being hurt by the church because I don't feel that this is an appropriate space to share those kinds of details. I want to respect anyone who may have been involved in that and telling an unknown audience on this blog is not a way that I can do that.