Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.
This is one Scripture that is not commonly discussed in the churches today. We see a world of mega-churches and televangelists whose love is more commonly geared to their own wealth. The reality of compromise is just as appropriate for leaders of the church today as it was in the time of Christ. The big question, do we blindly support religious institutions that are sometimes riddled with corruption or do they support the teachings of Jesus and extend a loving hand to the world.
If we are going to be honest about ourselves we have to acknowledge that we all fall under the category of being priests and prostitutes. The thing I like about the scripture is it sheds light on typical human behavior and self interest. We have priests that are nothing more than money grabbers and have become pimps for the institutional church, compared to a more notable profession of prostitutes who are at least direct about their practice in order to maintain their own survival.
I have belonged to many churches throughout my Christian walk and I found some to be more credible than others, but have found all religious institutions to be self-serving to a greater or lesser extent. The point is, when we are called to Christ, our mission is made clear by the teachings of Jesus. We are all in the same boat. Some would like to keep it politically correct without any offense to anyone but unfortunately that practice waters down the gospel so much that people see no need to clean up their act or acknowledge their shortcomings, or try and make restitution for the tremendous damage they have caused themselves and those around them. The church is sometimes proud and abusive.
We look at civilization today and think that somehow those that have money are better than those that don’t. Really it’s just a justification for greed. We look at civilization today and think that somehow we’ve evolved way beyond cultures in the history of mankind. The truth is that people are people. The truth is that people are an amalgam of hope, terror, love, righteousness, pride and betrayal, to name a few. The religious institution is not here to save us. They can’t even save themselves. The religious institution is here to guide us, and point the way to God rather than their own self-interest and ego.
Don’t be afraid to examine your church and asked the question, “Is there a place for me here?” Can I serve God here or would I just be supporting some hierarchy that has no relevance to a broken and suffering world?”
If there is no place for you within the institutional church, shine as you can. Consider that you may perform greater service to God outside the walls of the temple.
Let’s extend a hand of love and spiritual direction to the broken.
I’m rooting for the broken.