The Humanizing Church
By Jeremy Myers
As I have read and thought, written and talked about the church over the past few years, I have come to realize that its purpose includes something the world gets nowhere else. The church must be a humanizer. If there is one thing the world, sin, and the devil do to people, it is to dehumanize them.
In this world, we become numbers, statistics, projects, targets, customers, consumers, and victims. We are told to sit down, shut up, and let the powers that be have their way. We are reminded that the majority rules, and while individuals may have a say, it is only money that talks. The church, in contrast, looks people in the eye. A person who has been beaten, battered, and trampled by the world will hear from the church, “You matter. I hear you. I love you.”
By most accounts, the leper in Luke 5 was no longer part of the human race. He was treated worse than a dog. When he shouted at others, they threw rocks at him and told him to get away. But Jesus not only heard him, he walked up to him and embraced him. In that one little touch, Jesus humanized the leper.
This is what the church is called to do. A touch here. A smile there. A word of encouragement where criticism is the norm. Treating people like the image of God that they are, whatever that image is buried beneath. The humanizing ministry of the church is not simply preaching the gospel to crowds of thousands or inviting people to church. A gentle word or a generous tip are better than any gospel tract.
Jeremy Myers has been involved with the church for most of his life. Recently he stopped attending the traditional brick-and-mortar church so he could follow Jesus into places where people rarely experience love or grace. He thinks online at www.tillhecomes.org.