Sunday mornings. Do you go to church? If so, I want to ask you some questions. What thoughts would cross your mind if you were sitting in church and you saw someone come in who wasn’t your typical “church goer”?
Imagine that this person reeked of cigarette smoke, had dirty jeans on with holes all in them, and was wearing a Pink Floyd Hoodie. What if they came and sat right next to you? Are you uncomfortable? Do you think that they look and smell gross? Do you wonder why in the world they’re there?
Let’s go a little further with this. What if a woman came in who had make-up caked on so thick it looked like you could scrape it off? Her dress is so skin tight and short that you can almost see everything God gave her. And maybe her boobs are hanging out the front. Maybe she looks like a prostitute or a stripper. She sits next to your husband. What do you do? Do you get angry because out of all the places she could have sat, she chose to sit next to him? After all, he can’t help but notice all the same things you did? Do you tell her what she’s wearing isn’t appropriate? Do you give her dirty looks? Do you get up and move?
What if a couple who were obviously tweaking on meth came in and sat right in front of you. Their hands were busy, and moving all over the place, making weird facial expressions, looked terrible, smelled weird, and wouldn’t be quiet. Are you annoyed?
Imagine two gay guys came in holding hands and sat next to the meth tweakers. They kissed in front of you. Following them is a guy with a red Mohawk, about 30 piercings in his face, covered in tattoos, has baggy clothes on with chains hanging all over him. Then, at the front of the church is a group of African American Women who are very loud and worship to the extreme.
Your Sunday morning is ruined, right? What on earth are you supposed to do? Don’t any of these people have enough respect or decency to know that this is a church and you’re supposed to dress up and give God your best? Can they not take a look at all the “normal people” around them and be like them?
So, the preacher delivers his message. He asks for all heads to be bowed and eyes to be closed. It’s time for the invitation. You know what’s coming. He’s about to ask anyone out there that doesn’t know Christ to please raise their hand. You’re curious. You squint your eyes just enough so you can still see out of them. All these people here have got to raise their hands right? You see a hand go up across the room. It’s an older guy in a pair of dress pants and button up shirt. Wait… What? That didn’t go down like you expected. Hmmm… The preacher decides to go a little further this time. He says: “Out of curiosity, I would like to ask everyone in the room who does know Christ to please raise their hand.” Lots of hands go up. You look in front of you. The gay guys and one of the meth tweakers raise their hands. The guy in the hoodie raises his. The woman next to your husband doesn’t raise her hand, but she has tears streaming down her face. The African American women all raise their hands, and are praising Jesus. The Mohawk guy isn’t budging. What is happening in your brain right now? Overwhelmed? Are you astonished that two gay guys are actually saved? That can’t be right, right? How can someone on meth be saved and still obviously be doing meth? This is just a few stereotypical examples of types of people who make some church goers uncomfortable. This is an exercise that extends the Judgement post I made. A lot of times “the church” isn’t very accepting of outsiders. They think that the body is a temple and you should give your best to God. While that is true to an extent, chew on this. What do you wear on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday? Do you work outside and wear jeans that have dirt and oil on them? Are you dirty? Do you wear casual clothing on those days and then wear nice clothes on Sunday only? Let me ask you this. Do you love God any more or less on those days than you do on Sunday? No. Does he love you more on Sunday because you’re pretty? Nope. Here’s the deal. You should Give God your best all the days of the week and not just on Sunday. That doesn’t mean you should wear a suit to change oil in cars all day long. God doesn’t care what we look like on the outside. He made us. So, to him, we are already as perfect as we are going to get. If you want to dress up for church, do it. But, don’t just do it because that’s what you’re “supposed to do”. Do it because that’s how you dress all the rest of the week. Give him your best daily by praying, having quiet time with him, being a good example, loving others the way he loves us, teaching your kids his way, and following him daily.
Don’t get stuck on the Old Testament laws. We don’t have hundreds of them to follow anymore since Christ came and died to save us from our sins. No more making human sacrifices. Can I get an Amen? Christ covered that for us when he died. The only thing that he asks of us in return is to know he died for us, accept him into our hearts, and then we are saved. It’s simple. He gave us his best, and in return we do the same for HIM.
Back to the examples before; would you be comfortable shaking the previously mentioned people’s hands? Would you say hi, introduce yourself, and tell them it’s great to see them? After church would you hug them and tell them you’re so happy they came? Maybe you could ask them how they liked the band or message. Those are very easy things. But, wait. Would you go a little further and ask them if they had a relationship with Christ? Would you ask them if there’s anything that you can pray for or with them about? Would you exchange phone numbers and try and establish a relationship with them? Or do you stay disgusted about what you’re exposed to and their “blatant disrespect” that you choose not to say anything to them. Will you go separate ways and talk about them when you get home? God brought them there. Could this be a test or job he has given you? Will you listen? How could you make an impact, bit or small, in their life?
I know not everyone out there is like this, but so many churches are. I’ve been to some of them. Is your church like this? Are you like this? If so, what steps could you take to soften judgement and see people that aren’t like yourself the way God sees them. He loves them like he loves you. If you are looking down on them in any way, that’s called being righteous. Jesus hung out with “those types of people”. Are you too good to also? Are you better than Jesus? Romans 3:9-10 says: “Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. 10 As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous—
not even one.” (NLT)
The only perfect person in history was/is Jesus. No one can achieve it, ever. That doesn’t mean don’t try. It just means that we all fall short. You’re not perfect, and neither are they. So if you look down on someone then you’ve got to also look down on yourself. We all walk this earth together. How can we help each other? Let’s bridge the gap, one small act at a time. It takes a movement, and the movement has to start somewhere. God is LOVE people!
Aren’t convinced by my opinion? Watch this: