"Spend enough time in the church and you will be hurt," writes Kevin Harney.
Unfortunately that's the case all too often.
But surprisingly, that's not bad news. The reason why we get hurt is because that's what fallen human beings do - we hurt each other. And whenever you get a group of people together, someone's bound to get hurt. It's unfortunate, but that's the reality.
But, that's not all bad. Because when that group of people are a covenanted community - a group of people who have covenanted to follow Christ and to be with one another - then the church gathered is one of the safest and best places to hurt and to be hurt. Because this community, more than any other community on earth, knows that Christ's love and grace can cover a multitude of offenses.
Grace works like that.
How else do we apply grace when there's no offense? Grace is never needed when things are hunky dory.
Grace is only needed when there's been a hurt.
And that's where the grace and the forgiveness of the love of Christ makes all the difference in the world. And that's what makes grace and forgiveness so beautiful and wonderful.
No. The church will never be - on this side of eternity - a perfect place. But it can be a place where people can be real, love one another through the hurts and offenses, and build real and genuine communities.
That's the church! And that's good news!