Acts 9:4–6 (NLT): 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! 6 Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

I grew up in the church. Went to Bible college straight out of high school. I had a lot of baggage. Some of the baggage was the kind that we all have…you know the kind, we make for ourselves.

The heaviest bags I carried were the things I chose NOT TO FORGIVE. Mostly bags and bags of things I chose to carry around. Those things were the many things I that happened to me. None of us have full control over the events of our lives. We can protect ourselves from the amount of interaction we have with other people, but we cannot keep other people from hurting us, failing us or disliking us. Many things I held onto and chose not to forgive were things I observed or experienced growing up in the church.

I often offered this kind of explanation, “I don’t have a thing agains God or Jesus, it’s the church I don’t like.”

I kept my distance from “the church” for about 15 years. I didn’t only keep myself from it, I kept my wife and my children from the church.

In 2005, I had grown weary of carrying the weight of my grudges around. My family and I made our way back into church. (That’s another story.) It was after a long road of carrying the weight of my unforgiving heart that allowed me to learn something. I can’t have faith in Jesus if I don’t have faith in “the church.” Jesus is the one that makes it clear that the church (not a building with a sign) is absolutely His body. He chose it, died for it and is in a powerful work with it.

He has given it’s members the power of Holy Spirit. He has made it his household. He has revealed the church is His prized possession. We can not love Jesus and disregard the ekklesia (church).