I should add that loving the church from within the church doesn’t mean we have to walk around on pins and needles. It isn’t healthy or realistic to pretend Christ’s Bride is perfect. We have already noted her imperfections and the role grace plays in her ongoing process of sanctification. The reason Christian comedians stay in business is because church people pay money to laugh at their own idiosyncrasies. Everyone loves a good “church bulletin blooper” or a story about brothers and sisters in conflict who find humorous ways to solve their problems. Humor is one way we unmask self-righteousness and keep ourselves honest.
But in the same way we know when a comedian has lost his audience, we sense when our comments about the Lord’s church have become disrespectful and destructive. If we are in Christ we are His church, and we should speak well of ourselves for the sake of those longing for a family of grace.
We hold the church in high esteem at home, at work, in our community and in Christian fellowship. Our walk through life is a long one as we look forward to the day we stand in the presence of our Savior. Yet, it is a walk of love. We are redeemed in love, held by love, adorned and surrounded with love. When we see Jesus face to face our love will truly be complete, unbridled by the limited perspectives of this life. Until then, we do our best to walk worthy of our calling, and we invite others to share with us as Christ’s beloved.