Churches be full of haters*
I recently read this blog forwarded to me by my cousin, Amy. The incredible message was that Christians forget that their actions can lead people . . . far, far away from the church doors and even farther away from a God they profess to love.
From what I know, churches are full of liars, cheaters, misfits, and condemners.
Each and every seat or pew is filled with . . . sinners.
Hypocrites, Bertha-better-than-you’s, and judges – lots of them – can be found in every nook and cranny in every church, synagogue or house of worship.
In God’s eyes: haters!
And I am one of them.
That was a difficult thing to write.
For years, I have watched as God’s people have become known not for what they stand for, but more for what they stand against.
Christian brothers and sisters – Whatever happened to love and grace?
If as the author of Pearls and Grace states, we turn away the unsaved (and we do), then what are we doing to those Christians with whom we share the pew?
I really hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about this until the weapon of judging was launched at my own family.
Basically, we heard that some people were complaining that we sit at the back of the church in the section that is loosely reserved for Families of Small Children. The chatter kept coming back to us in such a way that the message seared into our hearts was – we weren’t welcome in our own church.
Et tu, Brute?
Our baby is nine. She can sit perfectly still and quiet during Sunday morning services. We don’t sit there because of her. We sit there because of me.
Taking a line from the aforementioned blog:
“She will reach to the back row and encourage and minister to the hearts of the women who can’t get past the grief and sorrow of their own life.”
That describes me perfectly. My grief, not my child’s behavior, a few Sundays a year, prevents me from making it in the door let alone to any pew.
I know I am loved by God, but sorrow strikes every cell of my body on those days. I do not want to bolt past the whole congregation with mascara tracks streaming down my face from a front pew.
Don’t get me wrong. I know people love us there, but I don’t always want to share those moments with others.
I’m pretty tough, but attacking my baby girl for my comfort zone insecurities pushed us out the door for a while.
How many others have left for similar reasons?
Gossip and judgment allowed us to feel alienated.
When we did return, every time I saw the people who had hurt us, I bristled and walked away. My hurt heart hardened.
In the last few days, God reminded me that my reaction to their hurt was in every bit as much of a sin as their words against us.
Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don’t go together. 1 John 3:15 (MSG)
I had to ask God’s forgiveness for being one of the haters up in here – my actions were in direct opposition of his words and his commandments to love.
One of those sinners sitting in those pews . . . is me.
The one who is learning graciously with God’s gentle ways that love is what, and only what, he has called me to do.
Imagine how Christians would be perceived if we did just that – Love our brothers and sisters – period.
What a revolution that would be!
Special Note – * I apologize to every English, Language Arts, or grammar teacher I have ever had for using such bad grammar for my title. But if Mrs. Langemoe taught me one thing in Junior High; it was shock value goes a long way. Funny how her shocking revelation was to tell us every day in a public school that she loved us!