Should the mistakes of religious leaders who "fall from grace" keep you from joining God's church?
[Darris McNeely] Are you one of those Beyond Today viewers who say that they would never join a church because they cannot trust organized religion? We recently had some correspondence with a viewer who left a note on our website, kind of expressing that very thought. Here's what they said:
"I don't know if I would join a religion, as I believe there will always be corruption at the apex, or the highest point, of all man-governed organizations."
You know, I know that is true, and that's a sad commentary on religion – many religions and religious organizations. How many times have we seen through the years ministers and other religious workers fall from grace and disgrace their organization, disappoint those who support it and follow them? It's a sad situation when it comes specifically to religion. But you know what? In our age today, and in our world, all organizations, not just religious, are suspect and suffer in one degree or the other, from a lack of trust. Corruption knows no bounds. Every type of organization – financial, political, governmental organizations – have seen their scandals, and individuals who abuse their positions, financially or otherwise, and create problems that make the headlines – and they become big headlines, and big stories, and it frankly leaves all of us being a bit suspicious. We've all seen people with feet of clay, leaders of any sort, from any walk of life, and those stories get a lot of attention.
I do want to say this: some people who have fallen from grace, they do learn the lesson, and they do get back up and learn and do better. I recently read a story about a government official in Great Britain who, a number of years ago, fell from grace in a tremendous scandal that brought his government down. He rehabilitated his life. He saw redemption, not in government, not through any other notoriety in any other part of life, but by humble, devoted service to some of the least in society. He actually achieved a very large measure of redemption. There are good stories out there of people who have done that once they have fallen from grace. But let's bring it back to the church.
Can you find a church that is perfect? Well, the answer's no. But you can, and I can, decide to commit to God and the hard work of perfecting our own life, and letting God's word wash over us and teach us humility and service and truth, and cleanse our life and help us onto a right path and a right way after the model of Jesus Christ. That takes a lifelong effort of nobility and good work. And we can do that. And at the end of the day, that's about all we can do, because you nor I have the ability to, in a sense, make anyone else do what's right. And I'll guarantee you, you will not find the perfect church no matter how long you try. But we can find the way to perfection, and that's through the word of God.
In Matthew 5:48 Matthew 5:48Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
American King James Version×, Jesus makes this one direct comment in His Sermon on the Mount. He says, "Therefore be perfect. You shall be perfect," He says, "just as your Father in heaven is perfect." And the sense and the meaning of that teaching is to work toward perfection. God and Christ only are perfect. Christ lived a perfect life in the flesh as God in the flesh. We'll never do that. But we can, with God's help, work on our own lives, make changes, make improvements, and work toward perfection. And that's about what God expects you and I to do.
Stop looking for the perfect church. You'll never find that. And don't let imperfect human beings keep you from finding the church that Jesus Christ is building, according to the scriptural model that we find in the Bible. Keep looking. We here at Beyond Today, and the United Church of God – we're working every day in our own lives to set the standard and come up to that standard of the church of God that you find mentioned in Scripture. You're welcome to join us as we all seek to become perfect like our Father in heaven.
That's BT Daily, join us next time.