By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president

There is a saying about the English people; they have a stiff upper lip.

It is considered an attribute by many. It is the ability to display fortitude and stoicism in the face of adversity. They are also a people who exercise great self-restraint in emotion. The origins of the saying actually dates back to ancient Greece, specifically the Spartans who were very disciplined and stoic and inspired the English people.

The question to ask is this:

How is church supposed to be?

Since sin entered the world, we have been afraid. After sin entered the world Adam and Eve hid from God because they were afraid. One of the meanings of the original language speaks to the mental fear they had. Ever since then, God has been working to help us overcome our fears. When the angels announced that Jesus was to be born, the words used were “do not be afraid.”

The angels were not saying to have a stiff upper lip! It was time to rejoice, because God came to restore our relationship with him after sin entered.

Church should be a place where you can hurt. Church should be a place where you can relax and not have that stiff upper lip. Church should be a place where the injured and broken of the world can come and know that even if their sins, fears, and challenges are out in the open, it is OK to hurt.

Matthew 9:12 says it well.

On hearing this Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.'

Jesus was being very clear. You can bring your hurts to Him. You can bring your fears to Him. You can go to church and know that you can hurt there. Others who also hurt will walk beside you in your hurt and fears to point you to a God who says,

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.