We like to believe in fairy tale moments, princess story endings and magical moments. We want to hope that life can be better than this. So when my pastor mentioned in brevity that “we don’t want a church filled with nice people,” I remember being completely stumped and caught off guard.
To be completely honest, I DO want a church filled with just nice people. People who are willing to turn the other cheek and go out of their way to be like the good Samaritan. I want to be surrounded by people who forgive 70 x 7 (Matt 18:22) and love me as themselves (Mark 12:31). Sign me up—I like that kind of church! One where my pannies never get in a wad due to the uncomfortableness of my own sin. A place where I don’t wiggle in my seat due to sin’s prickliness. If it were up to me, I would error on the side of a grace filled church with no mention of evil, Satan, or hell. But…that’s not the gospel. My pastor reminded me of that full well.
Yes, God is full of grace. But there is another side. There is a side that demands holiness. A side that cannot tolerate sin and it is with this side that I find myself wrestling. Was Jesus nice?
In Matthew 21:12-13, we see Jesus overturning the money-changer’s tables. He could not tolerate the sinfulness of man. They were using God’s temple for financial gain and had parted ways with it being a place of worship. Sin tore Him up. And, sin should cause us to react the same.
"Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." Psalm 4:4
My closest, life-time friends are those who haven’t always been nice. They are also the friends who loved me well. They have not been afraid to confront the sinfulness they saw in my life. Although I did not like being told the error of my own ways, I am forever grateful for them setting my feet on solid ground. True friends speak up. True friends speak truth. True friends are hard to find.
Written By: Sue Allen
Sue Allen lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband of twenty-two years and their three children. She desires to show other women that with God, ordinary women can be extraordinary. Her husband is a pediatric emergency room and infectious disease physician. They are in the process of adopting a young boy from Haiti and have faithfully served their church in various capacities, including short-term missions, youth ministry, and adult ministry. She is an author of a women's Bible study titled, "I Didn't Want to be That Girl! A Look into the Life of Eve." In addition, Sue is a women's conference speaker. For more information, please visit www.sueaallen.com.