I have been around church people from before I could speak – the best and the worst of them. There were people who left the church because they didn’t like when a Sunday school teacher shortened “Abraham” to “Abe” when teaching kids (blasphemy!). Or, there was the time when I was in the sixth grade and walked around with my temporary rose tattoo, and my father was told I would turn out to be a whore if he condoned this behavior.
Here’s a list of a few things I really HATE when it comes to church people:
- When someone tells you “I’ll pray about that” and they have no intention of praying about it. It’s really just an excuse when someone doesn’t want to say no to something.
- When you are judged for walking in to church on Sunday five minutes late. How dare you! Don’t you know God takes attendance?
- When you are judged for coming to church in anything less than your “Sunday best” (which is, by the way, in stark contrast to 1 Samuel 16:7: “…people judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”).
- Having any kind of visible sin with which you struggle makes some church people around you uncomfortable (addiction, cursing, etc.).
- The attitude you get if you don’t know EXACTLY where the verse in the Bible you’re trying to quote is found. Paraphrasing is a no-no.
- If you leave your marriage after a case of abuse or infidelity and you get judging looks because “God hates divorce.”
What makes church people better than the rest of the world? Are we?
What makes those behaviors any better than the Pharisees who kept the law but never showed love and compassion? Where is your compassion for the woman who has suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband and she finally had the guts to leave (which is no easy task)? Yet, you judge her instead of her husband? “How dare she,” you say. And that man sitting in the front row with the torn shirt and holey shoes? He’s a recovering addict who just needs to be shown the love of Christ, but some of us are too busy judging his clothes to see his heart.
I know what you’re thinking: I’m doing the same thing by judging those actions…and that may be true. But, what does God use as a measure of a person? I said it earlier: their heart. Their actions.
Maybe if we stopped worrying about how everyone around us is acting and start worrying about how WE are acting, we would be a lot more like the Church Jesus wants us to be.
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