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(image credit to Tyler Bennicke)

 

Put on your Sunday best.

When I started attending church as a teenager, I went out and bought new clothes. I don’t have any church clothes, I thought, so I went to procure some so I’d be able to dress properly for church.

I look back on teenage me now, and I realize just how little I knew about what ‘church’ really was. That church that I started attending wound up being absolutely foundational to my growth as a Christian, and God used the people in that congregation to dramatically change the course of my life.

But it wasn’t about my clothes. Those people, whom I love dearly, didn’t invest in my life because I wore the ‘right clothes’ (heck, with my fashion sense, those two words almost never go together anyway!); they weren’t nearly as concerned with what was on the outside as with what was on the inside.

These days, while people have a great many different views on what appropriate attire is for Sunday worship, there’s one outfit that remains unfortunately consistent — let’s call it ‘our Sunday best.’

It’s the idea that when we go to church, everyone is on their best behavior, puts their best foot forward, gets their best ‘I’m doing great’ smile and tells everyone how awesome everything is going.

This is a far bigger issue than clothing will ever be, and it’s one of the greatest battles the church faces. As long as people believe that being a Christian means having their lives in order, they’ll keep pretending that they do, hiding the fact that they need healing as much as the rest of us do.

Many churches already recognize this, and are taking steps to care for those who are taking care of the people who are hurting, but they can only care for those who are willing to admit when they are hurting. It’s only the people who are willing to show their insides who can be best served by the church.

But here’s where it gets a little more difficult — it’s the people who have opened up and been willing to receive help with their hurts who are best able to serve those who are taking the step to open up and expose their own hurts.

It’s that cycle of growth that’s what the Church needs to truly be effective in our world, but it takes more people who are willing to step up and admit that they’re not perfect, that they don’t have it all together, and that they need others to help them experience God’s healing.

What hurts are you holding on to that can only be healed in community?

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