Published on March 14th, 2014 | by Nathaniel


Healing: Is Your Church a Hospital? …Or a Hotel?

church hospital

Human existence. Trials. Hurdles. Loss. Pain. Sin. Stagnation. Waiting. Joy. Laughter. Obedience. Success.

The melting pot of emotions that comes with everything that defines “humanity” is enough in itself to both paralyze and propel our faith.

I grew up going to church- early Sunday mornings, regardless of how late I was out the night before, irrespective of how hard I coughed, how droopy my eyes were- my mom made sure we were at church (most of the time- late…but who’s judging…).  Despite my belief in God, church was equivalent to habit, something done to appease momma bear and feel like a “good Christian.” I considered myself well-mannered and respectful, but I could live entrenched in sin Monday through Saturday, never talking to God, but make it to church on Sunday, take communion, answer a few bible questions and call myself a Christian.

So many people trivialize the relevance and importance of the church because they have this notion that the church is really a collective of Motel 6ers pretending to be VIP guests at the Ritz Carlton. They view church as a legalistic, hierarchal conglomerate that impedes what would otherwise be freedom. And you know what, many of these people are right.

hospital for broken

Why? Because of people like my former self- people who think church is about pretending (something I still have to remind myself not to do). People who think “churching” is about putting on those crisp Dockers and those fruffy hats and wispy sundresses. There’s nothing wrong with dressing fresh, but it becomes problematic when our clothes become barriers. They enter church guarded, protecting their vulnerabilities with layers of “Hey sista!” and “Hey brotha!” But on the inside, they’re shattering with every false greeting.

Through the blessing of finding and committing to a community of other believers, I’ve realized the true meaning of a hospital for sinners. It’s not about the crisp linens of an exclusive Westin… it’s about the wounds and scars, those dirty rags, that we would otherwise try to hide. I no longer attend church to feel good (but it’s often a byproduct); I belong to a church where I can come in my brokenness and relate with other believers who are also searching for answers, searching for a personal relationship with our Creator.

A church doesn’t become a hospital when it hands out band-aids and tourniquets; it becomes a hospital when we release all of our perceptions and facades and come in the reality of naked brokenness. The majority of whether our church is a hospital or hotel depends on our perspective- who we are and/or who we become when we enter. Do you enter high-nosed, entitled, feeling good because you made it to church at least twice this month? Or do you enter aware and open about your brokenness, ready to experience community and a personal relationship with Big Pops? The choice is yours and mine.

Mark 2:17 “When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

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